Discovering Connections Through Books

by thiszine

In a a recent Guardian article, Molly Flatt discusses how people cross the solitary nature of book reading by bonding over books. She cites personal experiences as examples, adding that books “are social objects, and we use them to brandish our identities, mark our allegiances and broker our relationships. They can provoke passions as strongly as politics.”


I’ve definitely experienced the thrill of commenting on a book someone was reading, excited that they were reading a book I loved. Only once has my comment been completely ignored. Most people smile kindly or state that they are/are not enjoying it, usually followed by a statement of how or why they came to read the book. (“My sister recommended it to me” or “I heard her speak on the radio” or “I absolutely loved his other books.”) We don’t become lifelong friends over a shared interest in the same book but, especially in urban areas where, more often than not, we don’t know our own neighbors, the momentary commonality is enough connection to add an extra skip in my walk for the day.


Flatt goes on to describe ways reading books has crossed cultural and language boundaries, testifying in a very personal and very real way, how the love of reading and the love for particular texts provokes strong reactions in others, both good and bad.


For my own part, people who comment on the books I’m reading often ask me where I purchased the title. Since I’m a fierce supporter of independent bookstores, I always direct them to the local indie shop (and, consequently, glare pointedly down at their Kindle if they’re holding one).


What experiences have you had discovering connections through books?

2 Comments to “Discovering Connections Through Books”

  1. I wouldn’t say I select my friendships on books a person likes/dislikes (many of my friends and I disagree on good books) but I do agree that someone who is an active and constant reader is a must. Though it’s not a question I ever ask directly, it’s definitely an observation I make… and many of the folks who become my friends I later discover are readers of books.

  2. Usually, I can tell a lot about a person and if we’re going to be friends based on what their favorite books are. If it’s someone who doesn’t read or only reads reluctantly, chances are we’re not going to have much else in common.

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