When You Bond over Books
I don’t have many friends, and I don’t like being acquainted with a lot of people.
I’m a classic case of an introvert who loves the privacy, security, and oh-so-familiar comfort of her bubble, whether among a sea of strangers in the middle of a busy intersection in midtown Manhattan, or at an adult slumber party in Minneapolis. The former being more desirable since it offers an acceptable anonymity.
All that is to say that when one of my friends introduced me to his new girlfriend, I was feeling rather sheepish. I don’t do well with people, and I often don’t do well with significant others of the few I consider friends.
This time, however, things were a bit different. I don’t recall the entire conversation, but at one point the name Haruki Murakami was mentioned, followed by one of his books — Kafka on the Shore. She, let’s call her J, was reading it, and I, having read it the previous year, had fallen in love with Murakami.
Needless to say, all sheepishness gone, I took to J right away.
Over the next few months, we bonded further over tea, coffee, crepes, and other delicious desserts, while having conversations about books, authors, characters, plots, and our respective journeys to becoming writers of one kind or another.
Soon, talks of books led to other aspects of our lives and let’s just say, before we knew it, we were friends already.
A short time as it may have been that we had known one another for, the bond that we shared was stronger than some of the others I have had in my 30-something years of existence. I met people and bonded over our mutual profession as engineers, or hobbies such as photography or anime. When it came to reading, however, in whatever twist of fate, I had met absolutely no one who shared the same liking to the literary genre as I.
I had resolved to spend the rest of the years in the same fashion, having literary discussions inside my head with imaginary nobodies.
And yet, here we were. She, talking about Woolf while driving to get ice cream. I, talking about Hiromi Kawakami’s colorful depictions of a mushroom hunting jaunt, over breakfast at the neighborhood diner.
Life sure is unpredictable. And as my friend likes to muse often these days… J had stolen me from him!