It always amazes me how small the world is. Obviously in reality it is an absolutely giant planet hurtling thorugh space, though I don’t like to think about that last bit too much. Anyway, in the last two weeks I have been reminded once more just how small a place it is and bizarrely through books and conversations, in one way or another, that they have sparked. These events have also made me doubly sure that books bring people together, despite reading being such a solitary activity.
You may remember when I came back from my blogging break that I gave you a summary of what I had been up to and I introduced you to a new feline friend called Tolstoy (see picture —>). Well, imagine my surprise when I received an email that informed me that the cat I had taken a picture of was actually called Santiago and that the writer of the email, Charlotte who had been looking for a new book group, knew this because it was her sister’s cat and who lives next door to me. How crazy is that? It seemed all the more crazy when I discovered that Charlotte had also seen me read at Waterstones on World Book Night and neither of us had a clue who the other was then. We have since been to book group together and travel back chatting about books all the way home, lovely.
I mentioned on Sunday, in the post on my London trip and book looting spree, that thanks to books I made a new friend on the train journey home. Now here I have to admit I am not the most befriending kind of person on public transport. If I happen to have a long train journey I always see it as ‘reading time’, in reality I spend most of the journey looking out the windows and staring at the British countryside.
However after a long day in London the train back to Manchester was a late night one so there was no countryside to steal my attention. I headed to the quiet coach and sat down opposite a woman reading. In my head this meant I would have two and a half hours silence in which I could read; this wasn’t to be. You see I couldn’t help rummage through the selection of books I had nabbed and spotted out the corner of my eye that the woman opposite was crowing for a sneaky look. Once I had put them all back she carried on reading, I spotted she was reading Haruki Murakami’s ‘Kafka on the Shore’ and had to hold back from saying ‘ooh I have read that isn’t it marvellously bonkers?’ I was on the quiet carriage after all! That said I had no sooner taken out Toni Morrison’s ‘Home’ to read than I heard ‘Excuse me, is that the new Toni Morrison book, the one that’s not out yet… how have you got that? I love her…’
Well that was that, we both downed tools, well books, and proceeded to spend the rest of the journey talking about books, books and more books as we walked home and discovered we lived on the same street! How mad is that? Maybe there is some literary subconscious draw to that road? I just thought it was so nice and I came away with about five more authors I am keen to read.
Of course these are both people who live in and around Manchester and so that could be part of it, yet there is one more story that I thought I would share. I opened my emails to one entitled ‘OMG… It’s You’, initially I did think ‘oh **** what spam is this’ until I discovered it was my step-aunt Jane. This might not sound a big deal, but actually it is because she was my first stepdad’s sister, he sadly passed away a few months after he married my Mum almost 20 years ago and she had moved abroad and we had lost touch. Well, she had been looking for a ghost story for her teenage son and a review of mine popped up, she followed the trail and found my email. How nice is that?
See, proof right there that books bring people together and reunite people. I bet this has happened to some, if not all, of you in the past. Care to share your stories of books befriending you to someone or reuniting you?