I was talking to someone the other day who isn’t a reader. I mentioned I have this blog. She mused that she doesn’t really understand why people talk about books. The conversation quickly changed to our coffee orders. Sometimes, you just know when not to push a conversation. She’s not the type of person who talks about movies or tv shows or science or traveling or anything really. I have no idea what her passions are. It’s probably part of why we’re acquaintances instead of friends.
I’m not trying to be a book snob here, I can spend just as much time taking about tv or movies. I believe a good story is a good story, regardless of formatting. You can gain as much or more from a well crafted tv show as a mediocre book.
But back to the point, why even talk about stories? Because we all get something different from them. Discussing/debating the content enhances the experience. A dozen people can read the same book at the same time and get a dozen different interpretations. Our personal experiences guide the way we read, what parts stick out for us, what gives us the feels. Every time I reread a book it affects me differently.
This explains why teens tend to attach a death grip the romance parts of a plot. That part of their persona is just developing, so it speaks to them. When adults read the same stories, the focus often shifts to how these characters lose site of the bigger picture in the face of emotion.
It’s why books like Eat, Pray, Love don’t resonate with me. I just couldn’t connect with anything in the one and a half chapters I read. But maybe, in another decade, it’ll show up on my reading list.
But a good book, a great book, also influences our experiences. A book that you can pick up and remember where you were when you read it. Who you were with. What you didn’t do in order to read it, housework is usually my answer, but I’ve been known to sit at a music festival with my nose buried in a book. The two things influenced one another. Those books teach us something. Not Aesop’s fable type lessons, bit if you’re that pulled into a story, how can it not leave a lasting impression?
And talking to people about their experience of a book does the same thing. Writing down my feelings about the book allows me to share my experience. Maybe someone will get something out of it. Maybe no one will. But, like we were taught in grade school, it’s nice to share. Stories are worth taking about.