Books Are Meant to Be Shared

As a bookworm, there are a few things which are guaranteed to get me so excited I start to squeal:

  1. Seeing that my favorite author has released a new book
  2. Finding someone who loves a certain obscure book as much as (or more than) I
  3. Having someone tell me they read a book I recommended and absolutely loved it

That last item happened to me this past Wednesday.

A couple of weeks ago I sat down next to Fay after church and we got to chatting about books. Well, got to chatting about books. In a very round-about, disjointed way. I was in a very weird mood that day, and I’m still not sure what caused it. I’d eaten well, hydrated, got plenty of sleep, and wasn’t overly-stressed at work, but I couldn’t track a thought if it was a chartreuse elephant breathing fire.

By the end of church, I wasn’t even sure what day it was (which tells you how bad this was, as I was at church after work and that happens on Wednesdays). While we waited for siblings to practice a song special, Fay asked how I was. When I responded with a blank stare, she said, “Are you there?”

“Yes. No. Not quite.”

Somehow that sparked something in my brain, and the following ramble left me dazed and Fay looking bemused.

“Sorry,” I muttered, staring into space. “That made me think of something. Have you heard of Terry Packet- er, Prack- Pratchett’s Discworld books? They’re really unique and basically a…well, there’s a word like ‘requirement’* for lovers of fantasy. It’s a huge series but there are books within that go together….”

Nodding slowly to show she was trying to follow, Fay put in, “Sister series?”

“Kind of. Yeah. There’s over 40 books, I think, and they all tie together, but then this bunch goes together and this one goes together and then one book in each of those also ties in with another bunch.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. I’ve only read the mini-series about Tiffany Aching. Well, most of them, because I just found out there’s a fifth and of course our library doesn’t have it. She’s a witch – I don’t know what it is with witches, but I- anyway, she’s a country witch, so she’s practical. She’s like the Belle of witches,” by which I meant Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle. “That bit about ‘I’m here but I’m not here’ made me think of a character in one of the books. She has a twin sister. No. It’s one person but her conscious is split into two bodies. So she could be somewhere doing something but at the same time she is also aware of being in a second place. At one point her second body is killed but it’s still there, just invisible. Where was I going with this? Oh, yes! That’s kind of how I feel.”

Fay politely smiled. “I think I get it.”

“They’re good books,” I insisted.

“Well, I’ll check them out. I need good books.”

Here I tried to follow the Rules of Conversation and ask her about what she was reading, but something she said reminded me of four series at once that I wanted to recommend. I told her about Patricia C. Wrede’s Frontier Magic trilogy – one of those series with a witch I like – and then said if she wants book recs I have plenty because Nina is in a slump, Jo doesn’t read a lot of what I read, and everyone else I talk books with is younger than me and hasn’t yet developed similar tastes to mine.

It tells you how weird my mood was when I threw out a major spoiler and didn’t even bat an eye or apologize.

At the end (because this is just a summary of the monologue to which I subjected the ever-patient Fay), I stuttered to a stop and apologized for making no sense. Fay, in her good-natured way, assured me it was fine and I promised the next time would be her’s. Only later did I remember she will be going away to college this year.

With that thought on my mind, I sent her a very long Facebook message the next day, apologizing again for my rambling and including a list of books I thought she’d like. Fay actually set out to find the Tiffany Aching books right away, which I was not aware of.

So this past Wednesday after church, Fay made her way directly to me. “I already finished Wintersmith.”

After a split second to register her words, I squealed and clapped my hands. Then hugged her. I know, it’s only a book series. But it’s one of those series which (until now) no one else in my peer group has read.

I don’t know why I get so excited when I get reports from my book recommendations. And I give out a lot of book recs, even to strangers on Tumblr if I think I know what kind of book they’re looking for. There’s a junior high girl at church who loves talking books and shares my tastes, or what they were 10 years ago (she’s in the books about animals stage). I actually wrote her a letter with a long list of books I thought she might be interested in. I’ve loaned her stacks of books before. Books are about the only thing we talk about, and we’re ok with that.

Maybe it’s because having a favorite book in common with someone else makes conversation easier to carry; maybe it’s part of my teacher nature and I like helping people find new ideas and interests; maybe it’s a subconscious effort to control people.

Or perhaps it’s because I can point to aspects of myself and know which books – which words, ideas, experiences, knowledge, and characters – helped develop those parts of me, so having someone who shares an interest in those books stands a chance of “getting” me like others can’t.

I am still trying to find someone with whom to share my love of the Fairyland series (I have hopes that Fay may get on board with this) or Ursula Vernon’s Digger comic/graphic novel. Or both. It’s hard not having anyone else to fangirl over Saturday and Ed with me.

 

*This word is “staple”, but all that came to mind was “spaghetti” and “flour”, because those are staples in our pantry. Because my mind works by association.


A quick update note: My short-lived attempt at maintaining a book review blog has ended. I quickly learned that I have trouble writing coherent views, even (or perhaps especially) for books I really enjoy. I spent more time stressing over all of the books I had yet to review than what I spent on actually trying to write reviews. 

So no more review blog, and that’s a weight off of my mind. If ever I read a book which I feel the unquenchable desire to share, I’ll give it its own post here.

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