This afternoon I spent a little while wandering around Barnes and Noble picking out a late birthday present for a friend of mine (spoiler alert its a book, I got her a book). I spent a couple of minutes looking at one of my favorite books and debating whether or not she might like it. You see, this is a book that I love and when I love a book I feel two very different things. The first is that I want to share it with everyone and have all of them love it. The other thing I feel is the desire to keep the book all to myself. What if they hate it? Or worse, what if they love it more than I do? It’s a very complicated emotion. (It’s not just this particular book that I feel this about either). Like a true hipster I get a little annoyed when other people like things that I like. As much as I want to share these things I also want to keep the things that I love to myself. Does anyone else ever feel that way?
I think part of it is how personal my feeling for some books are. Some books just speak to you on an incredibly personal level. They voice deep seated emotions that you might not want to share with someone else. So, as much as I want to share a story that I love with someone I have to stop and think, “am I ready for this person to know this thing about me?” They might not even pick up on the same things that I did, its still something I have to think about.
As a writer I know that a person reveals more of themselves in the fictions they spin than in the non-fiction stories they tell. In non-fiction I have total control over what parts of myself I show the reader but in fiction, it is all fake and unconsciously I reveal a lot more of my beliefs, about everything. So I know that the stories I connect to, the ones that really make me feel things, are stories that the writer has many of the same fears and emotional responses that I have, even if I don’t realize it at the time. When you add that to the mix handing someone a favorite book and saying, “I hope you like this piece of my soul,” is a pretty scary concept. You run the risk of them not liking it and therefore not understanding a big piece of you, or them liking it too much and understanding you too well (that second one might just be me, I’m a very emotionally closed off person).
Anyway, this is what loving a book feels like for me, it’s a complicated emotion