You know that giddy feeling of gushing over a book with a friend? I just came back from a reunion dinner with my high school friends, and it reminded me again of why I love friends who love to read. I can go on and on about why I love my school friends for other reasons (for example, they share their cheesecake with me!), but it’s pure coincidence and luck that a majority of them love to read, and I love them all the more for being bookish.
In school, friends are seldom chosen by the types of books they read. For one, there’s no chance to read anything in high school (or at least that was the case for me) – my friends were mainly people I randomly decided to talk to or who randomly decided to talk to me because I was standing or sitting near them. And social psychology studies have shown that people are more likely to become friends due to proximity… one of my high school friends was the person I sat next to during my first day in music class, and another was one I was assigned to sit next to during biology class. So by fate or god’s will or what have you, I was lucky enough to make friends who accepted me for who I am, and who – more importantly – enjoyed reading books for pleasure.
It’s different in the blogosphere, where we’re confident about our own interests and preferences and search for people with similar tastes – the book-friend relationship is reversed in real life, so you make friends first and discover their potential book-loving habits later. (Unless you make new friends by 1) seeing someone reading a book or walking in the library, 2) go up to them and strike up a book-related conversation, and 3) get their contact info. Which would be a pretty strategic way of making friends…)
I have college friends who love to read too, but my high school friends are the ones who really shaped my reading preferences. My friend A introduced me to Mercedes Lackey and many other fantasy authors. We gushed about magic, adventure, and sci-fi together in a never-ending conversation that always led to high-pitched squeals and increasingly faster talking speeds. At B’s first high school birthday party, I gave her an Emily Giffin novel which marked my first step into reading romance novels and chick lit. I didn’t actually talk about books with C until we were in college when we roamed around the malls and inevitably ended up at the bookstore, where we discussed heart-touching books like Flowers for Algernon (which I still have to read, oops!).
And at dinner tonight, even after not seeing some of my high school friends for years, my simple question of, “So, read any good books lately?” induced high-pitched squeals and excited ramblings of books and movie adaptions from books and why John Green is awesome (or, from someone else, why he’s overrated) and why I HAVE to read Kenneth Oppel’s newest book and so on and so forth. I ended up borrowing Beauty Queens from A and spending a lot of time talking about feasibility of sci-fi concepts, and really, just realizing that friends who love to read are awesome.
Not to say that friends who don’t love to read are not as awesome, but sometimes I just want to talk to someone who shares my dislike for Prince Kai or debate about the pros and cons of the recent saturation of dystopian novels in the publishing industry. I love friends who love to read because they get as excited as I do about books, and for some reason, ranting about books is soooo much more fun than ranting about movies or actors or anything else. I love friends who love to read because reading is like a “hidden skill” that I don’t discover about them until after I become friends with them, and it makes me love them more.
Do you have friends who love to read as much as you do?
How have they changed how or what you read?