Human beings seem to live for shared experiences. It seems to allow us to connect to others and to allay some of those fears everyone has about being out of step or different from everyone else. Being unique is good, but we want to know that the feelings and ideas that float around our heads are normal too.
Shared experiences can be anything from movies to video games. History is a great unifier as well (where were you when you first heard about the Space Shuttle Columbia accident). Another one of my favorites is books. There is nothing quite as bonding as meeting someone who has read a book you found particularly interesting or informative or just entertaining. You know right out of the gate that you share some comonality with this person. You have some interests that overlap. You have something you can share.
Recently I was reminded that one of the best ways to ensure that you make these connections to others is to share the books you read with others. Bring them into the worlds you inhabit. Its not a new concept certainly but it is one that I think sometimes gets lost and needs to be unearthed from time to time.
My wife has never been a prolific reader. She seems to never take the time to do it even though she does enjoy reading when she takes the time. Since she started a new job that has a lot of down time she has taken up reading again to fill the time. Its been quite fun to recommend books to her. Every time I see one of the books or she mentions them I remember the stories fondly and it creates a special connection.
It is not always possible to physically share a book as my in laws did to me on a recent cruise to Mexico, but we can get nearly the same benefit by simply talking about the books we are reading and perhaps someone who is listening will pick it up and get something out of it. Certainly not every book is for everyone, but generally you can get a pretty good idea if a book might be for you by simple descriptions of it. I talk a lot about books in general anyway because it is one of my passions.
I am going to try to keep the “Now Reading” link on my blog page updated with the current book I am reading. This is a challenge for me because sometimes I’m readying several at a time. This is one of the reasons I love eBooks on my PDA because I can carry dozens of them around and read whatever happens to suit my mood at the moment.
Right now I am reading The Harry Bosch Novels by Michael Connelly. Harry (short of Hieronoymous) Bosch is a Los Angeles Homicide detective. The stories are modern police procedurals. I was introduced to the novels by the gift of The Closers which is a later book in the series when Harry is working in an Open-Unsolved case unit with the LAPD. The current book is a collection of the first three books in the series. You can see that they are much more raw, much less refined in style than The Closers is but that is part of the odyssey.