A curious thing binds readers together and I’m not certain it can be put into words. Whenever I read a book that sucks me in and makes me forget the world outside of it, I’ve always got someone in mind that needs to read it. My most recent book-push was Martha O’Connor’s The Bitch Posse, which I gifted to my older sister. It’s ripe and raw and real. I knew she’d love it and, it turns out, she did.
Yesterday I received a birthday present from my dear friend, EJ Knapp. Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore. It’s perfect for me! (In fact, I’m nearly finished with it already) But this gift, along with the housewarming gift I received from one of the sweetest men I know, Christopher Szarke (The California Book of the Dead by Tim Farrington), has sparked a flame of curiosity. Why do readers (and seemingly more so, writers) feel driven to share the different lives we encounter in books?
I think we have something bigger in common than just a love of the written word.
Throughout my childhood, I would escape into books: from bullies, from stressful situations, from myself–it didn’t matter what I was running from. What mattered was what I was running to. It was on the prairie with Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was in the wardrobe, behind which was hidden Narnia. It was at prom with Carrie White. And now, even in my adulthood, I long for that escape. I love being enveloped by new worlds and befriended by new characters. I weep for them. I cheer them on. And when it’s over and I’ve read every page, I carry them with me always.
And when I’ve loved those characters and lost them to the finality of “The End”, I share them. In hopes that someone else will tumble into love with those characters as well–that by giving that book away, I’m contributing to their story just a little bit. If I’m not mistaken, I think this is why books are such a common gift between writers and readers.
And if I am mistaken, tell me. But could you keep it down? I’ve got to finish this chapter…