Our Reading Lives

To My Friends With Reading Tastes Opposite from Mine

To my friends with reading tastes opposite from mine:

Thank you.

I know how annoying it is when you pass a book off to me or recommend a title with all your heart, only for me to come back with a sheepish, “Sorry, but I kind of hated it.” For these occasions, I know you’re making my reading life richer and more meaningful. The books I love, I love even more for having read the books you love that I don’t. You have given me the unique gift of being able to identify what it is, specifically, that doesn’t work for me in a book. This is powerful. So, for all the books you’ve put in my hands and said, “I loved this book. It was amazing. I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t like this book. I promise, this time, I promise,” thank you.

I know how when we meet for waffles and to discuss our latest reads, it’s sometimes difficult to be met with an opposing opinion of the book we both agreed to read in our time apart. But how much more delicious are our conversations for disagreeing? You bring me around to new perspectives of books. Even if I still maintain my position, my experience of reading and digesting the book is greater for our talks. I can understand, objectively, how the book could be enjoyed. So, for all the book debates we’ve had over breakfast (and the times you’ve treated me to breakfast), thank you.

reading friends

I know how sometimes these conversations turn into me gushing ad nauseam about a book you couldn’t stand. While we hardly ever bring each other to the other side of our book opinions, your comments and critiques push me to evaluate the things I like more critically and from new points of view. While I’m big on reading strictly for pleasure, I also accept that the ability to evaluate books from a critical perspective is crucial, especially as we all learn and strive to be better and do better in literary representation in this modern era. So, for encouraging and facilitating my growth as a global book nerd, thank you.

I know how I’ve enabled your oversized collection of books, recommending the titles that I disliked and handing off pieces from my DNF pile to you. Not only am I grateful that you’re relieving me of some of my own book clutter, but I truly enjoy this exchange with you, knowing that a book that didn’t work for me will probably bring you loads of joy. That’s what friends are for—bringing joy into each other’s lives. So, for all the books you’ve let me dump on you with an excited, “I hated this, so I know you’re going to love it,” thank you.

I know I’ve dragged you out to the used bookstore more times than you can count. But isn’t it wonderful how we don’t have to worry about jonesing for the same book? I know I can count on you to come with me to encourage my irresponsible spending on books and to guard the last copy of my latest white whale without coveting it for yourself. (Although, I trust you—I know you would have lent me the copy even if you had snatched it up.) Book shopping with you is always so much fun. When I reach for a book that grabs my eye, I know I can count on you to tell me it’s my kind of book because you thought it was awful if you’ve already read it. So, for making my visits to the bookshop more fruitful, thank you.

I know we don’t have the same taste in books. But thank you for being a book nerd. Thank you for sticking with me, anyway. Thank you for enriching my reading life.