Thank the universe for bookish buddies. We all have them, and we all know just how integral they are to our day-to-day functioning. So many experiences — i.e. books — are made richer because of those awesome people who not only understand our innate need for words to transport us, but in their own ways share in all of the joys, terrors, and pitfalls that come with the journeys. Friends like:
The Book Soulmate. You know exactly who this is. The one you text at 2am after devouring that book you were both eyeing. The one who is able to decipher your text that reads “ASFDLDFSDFJL” perfectly, because they feel it too. This book buddy knows exactly what your preferred reading positions are, what time of the year you’ll re-read Harry Potter and why, what kind of endings will make you stay awake and sigh. This friend is you as a reader, but in a different body. Conversations between you and this person inevitably sound something like “And then when she–” “YES! I loved when–” “EXACTLY.” “But it was so dumb when–” “RIGHT?” This is the person you sometimes text to ask questions like, “Why don’t we like this character again?” and you’re given a flawless answer that encapsulates everything your brain was trying to articulate. When this person puts 5 stars on a book, you know — you know that you’re about to meet the next love of your life, because your other half has deemed it so.
The Nonfiction Enthusiast. This buddy is all about the real world — which is a fantastic thing, especially if you’re like me and hardly ever touch down on planet Earth when it comes to your reading list. This is the friend who will engage you in some wonderfully thoughtful discussions on all sorts of topics, from the life of Nelson Mandela to a look at domestic abuse from a social worker’s perspective to the practice of Zen Buddhism. Like many others, this reader isn’t afraid to shy away from the gritty or the enlightening, but what’s great is that often when you’re having a book conversation with them it swings from one to the other in seamless waves. No matter what, when you walk away from this bookish friend, your mind might be spinning slightly from all of the ideas they just dropped into your head — but trust me, you are better for it.
The Genre Fiend. You’ve got that itch you just need to scratch, and that is precisely why this person is indispensable. When you know you’re in the mood for just that kind of book, this person will tell you exactly what you can add to your TBR. They’ll give you a short summary, followed by a comparison of their recommendation to at least two others in the field. That’s why conversations with this book buddy often include something like: “Ooh! If you liked ______ then you should try _____! It’s like ______ but ________.” In fact, you’ll probably hear that more than once. Above all else, this friend is the ultimate passionate advocate. If you let them, they will talk endlessly about the wonders to be found in their genre. They’re fiercely protective of their loved ones, and will back you up in a heartbeat during spirited arguments about your faves that come out of their chosen category. This bookish buddy’s loyalty is without parallel…thank goodness they’re usually on your side!
The Realist Reader. Now, don’t knock this bookish friend. This person is so important. When you wail inconsolably about how your favorite character has been brutally killed and there is nothing left to read for, this friend gently (or sometimes not-so-gently) reminds you that life goes on. That there are other books out there, and that you will heal. That books are enjoyable but not life-endangering (most of the time…). And they will do this while discussing the characters you loved, while giggling and gasping over the amazing plot points with aplomb, and while handing you a much-needed tissue or a virtual pat on the back. Also, this is the buddy who tactfully reminds you that the real world exists, and that maybe, sometimes, you could go visit it. If you want. Be glad that this person is there to text you after a week of silence with, “are you there or did you slip into a book coma again?” because a true friend is one who makes sure you don’t miss out on all the books to come.
At least, these are just a few of the bookish friends that I’ve been lucky enough to encounter in my reading life. I’m sure there are dozens more I haven’t even an inkling of yet! Who are some of your most beloved bookish buddies?