I think books were meant to be shared. At least that was what I learned growing up as I watched all the adults in the family pass along good reads. And if a book was particularly good or popular, then there was the bartering that went into who got it next. My husband and I did this on our honeymoon–I was reading a Grisham novel and he picked it up when I wasn’t looking. Then the tussle began as to who got to read it. I solved the problem by ripping the paperback in half before my horrified husband’s eyes. He got everything up to the point I’d read. I’ve done this with travel books that I plan on taking with me. I take a razor blade to the spine and cut out the sections I need and toss them as I go. Now I wouldn’t recommend this if you intend to pass the book along, and qualify this act of barborism as only intended for a vacation book–because any book I travel with is going to be set free where ever I finish it. However, I do have to admit to feeling some guilt over the fact that some poor soul in the Cook Islands may have only gotten to read half of the Pelican Brief.
Now you may think there are some books that shouldn’t be shared–we all know the ones–the story that just makes us sigh and shake our heads. How the heck did this dreck get published? Here’s the shocker. One reader’s dreck is another’s manna from heaven. I’m always amazed when my mother hands me a “great” book and I find it horrible. She adores reading Nora. Personally, Nora’s books aren’t my cup of tea. But mom persists, convinced that one day I’ll see the light. Probably not going to happen, but the good thing is, I can always find a home for them. I had a few books stacked up recently that I couldn’t get through. Conference books, books from the RITAs, other ones that I had collected along the way and a friend was complaining about having nothing to read. “Help yourself,” I offered, feeling guilty about letting her loose in my “came in fourth” pile. (Know you, the books that didn’t make the medal round). She called me a few days, happy as a pig in mud. “Loved those books, thanks so much. How could you give those up?” How could I indeed?
Right now I am reading two books: The Heir and the Spare by Maya Rodale and Twilight by Stephanie Meyers. I started both books for the usual reasons. I’ve recently met Maya (albeit online), and I rather like her chatty, friendly style and figured her writing would have the same charm. It does. If you haven’t read her before, do find a copy of The Heir and the Spare, especially when the follow up book, The Rogue and the Rival is coming out in November. Heir is charming, fun with a warm heart. I reach for it first when I sit down. Which is probably why I’m not finishing Twilight, which I started for other reasons. Interestingly enough, I got emails from both of my sisters-in-law within a week of each other which began, “Have you read . . . ” No, I hadn’t read the Stephanie Meyers shooting stars, but with them pressing me for opinions, I got a copy and dug in. I can say that I am engaged, but quite frankly, I like my Vampires a little more grown up. Teen angst is one thing, but I want the big bite if you know what I mean. I wrote them both back and suggested they try big girl vamps. Like Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series. I’m just saying, books should be passed along.
And if you liked Tempted by the Night, and even if you didn’t, do pass it along. Truly, I’ve never understood the notion of a keeper shelf. Or bookcase. Or room. I see all those books just sitting captive and I feel sorry for them. I loved working in a library in high school (yes, me, I was a budding librarian) because you got to see books move. Like they were intended–from reader to reader. Quite frankly, I don’t write so my books can be dusted periodically. I want them read, their spines cracked, the pages held together with a rubberband around them, proclaiming to all the world that this is a story meant to be shared. I want to know that the book has led an active, good life before it finally succumbs to its inevitable end. Not yellowing and on life support in pristine shape on a shelf. How lonely. How dull. How unread. Would you want to live an unread life? I thought not. Now do a book a favor and pass one along today.
Who do you pass books along to?