So much of the time—most of the time—it’s such a blessing to be surrounded by book people. We speak the same language. At school, at home, and with friends, I’m surrounded by people who are genuinely fascinated by words. A few weeks ago I went over to the house of some of my favorite book people. We talked about the cuties we were interested in for a few minutes. There was some emotional processing and giggles and raised eyebrows. Then the conversation moved on, and we spent the next forty minutes talking about punctuation. (We have some differences of opinion regarding quotation marks.)
I love that it’s completely reasonable to spend hours discussing the minutia of language mechanics. I love that I have friends in different cities and states that I can call up for the sole purpose of discussing what we’ve read and think the other will like. I love that when I came home from my friend’s bachelorette party, I did so with four books that I’ve been meaning to read. I love that my reading list is so long that it has to be sorted into six different categories and tagged by who recommended the book to me—books recommended by my undergrad thesis advisor jump to the top of the list.
But to be honest? It can be a bit stressful. See, if someone whose taste you admire reads a book on your recommendation and doesn’t like it—honestly, it can be demoralizing. That happened last quarter with one of my classmates (she knows who she is). I know that we just have different tastes, derive enjoyment from different qualities. I know that she doesn’t think less of me for that. But in some little corner of my brain, someone disliking one of my favorite books feels like a rejection of me.
Luckily, the success stories are more plentiful than the failures; and there’s no sweeter jolt of camaraderie than introducing someone to one of your favorite stories and hearing how much they enjoyed it. I’m still riding high from introducing another Oolie to the Harry Potter series (if you’re curious, you can read about her experience here). And when I recommended a book by Elizabeth Bear to one of those friends who I disagree with on punctuation decisions, and her complaint was that it was so good that it was going to ruin her for most YA fiction? Bliss. Sheer bliss.
In summation—loving books, and loving to talk about books, can be a bumpy road sometimes. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, though. Now, off to try to make a dent in my reading list.