f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Talking Through Books

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, July 31, 2006

Talking Through Books

We talk a lot about books here. (Not so much recently but that's because it's been, like, 197 degrees for the last month and I'm all melty. Go back to Houston, Bertrand, and take your dang heat out of my upper midwest.) Anyway, so we talk a lot about books. But for a day, maybe two, I want to talk about talking about books. Because if anything is going to keep this site vibrant (and keep the power of reading alive) it isn't our writing, I don't think, but our reading.

Anyway, I was in Denver and a friend recommended a book to me in one of those sort of baffled "I love this, nobody else has read it, and I really want other people to like it, but if they don't, a small part of me is going to die because I like it that much" recommendations. And so I read it. (It was The Book Thief.) And, unsurprisingly--because this is not a woman I envision giving indiscriminate breathless recommendations out like tic-tacs--the book really was good. Excellent, even. And so no little pieces of anybody have to die...and in fact she has talked to me through the book.

We are social creatures. We crave understanding and being understood. One of art's great functions are to pursue communication. But we talk to each other in recommending the art that speaks to us. I doubt there's many among us who hasn't made a well-intentioned (but often ill-conceived) mix tape for that certain special someone. Or tortured a friend with a favorite movie they'd never got around to seeing. Even among acquaintances we seek places of common ground.

"I've read The Book Thief. You've read The Book Thief. That is a thing we share."

So somehow I'd like to get back, a little, to not only talking about books... but standing together as we talk. Not necessarily from shared opinion (though you're out if you dislike Richard Russo) but at the very least from shared experience. I read this, you read this. Let's talk.

To do so, however, is going to require, well, a kind of commitment on your part to at least join in. If not always then at least now and again. Is this something you are interested in? (All ye vast sea of lurkers... would ye unlurk for something like this.?) Vote aye in the comments and we'll see where we're at.