“How fun is it to read a fantastic book if you can’t tell others about it, talk about it, and quote from it constantly?”
Yes! Just minutes before I read this sentence I’d refilled my coffee cup and sent a picture of the cover of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend * to my sister and my daughter, announcing, “good book!”
The story begins with the youngish bookseller Sara, who traveled from Sweden to a small Iowa town to stay with Amy who hasn’t shown up at the bus station to drive her to her home. Sara “who has never been anywhere,” and Amy became friends through their correspondence about books.
Books or people? The question, discussed in the friends’ letters, is central to the story of Broken Wheel. “They’re meant to be better than reality… bigger, funnier, more beautiful, more tragic, more romantic.”
Sunday night at our family gathering for Keith’s birthday friends announced “We are reading a fabulous book to each other.” A rambling conversation followed about The Little Paris Bookshop and about how we share the practice of bibliotherapy – ‘I know the perfect book for you’ with friends or even a stranger.
Fork in the road: Last summer I was walking with my foster dog when a man walked toward us excitedly waving a book.As soon as I said hello he shouted, “Have you read this book?” I recognized the red cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and said ‘yes, I really liked it.’ He proceeded to tell me why he thinks Mark Hadden is one of the best living writers today! We introduced ourselves – Bob – and I chatted about writing and the bugs all around us. I learned that he’s a transplant from California where he taught entomology, and that he’s a published poet, and I learned about the delightful writing group at the Senior Center, which I sporadically attend with a table-full of new friends.
I’m back: Yesterday at our Tai Chi class, a woman I like very much who laughs easily, said “there is someone I’d like to bring over to meet you. She’s new in town and thinks it’s very hard to make friends here. She’s an artist, and I think the two of you could be friends.” Of course I said yes, and immediately thought of books about being the new person in town that I might share with her, including Broken Wheel.
We need opportunity to reveal our vulnerability. Our human hearts are full and we need others to whom we can reveal ourselves. Books give us mirrors and the best part is sharing who we discover. She or he comes out when they claim Oh, I read the best book, and we respond, tell me about it.