How Reading Is Pretty Much Exactly Like Dating
Writing this blog post, I’ve come to the conclusion that every time you pick up a new book, you are basically entering a relationship with that book. Like you would with a person. You’re a little excited, a little nervous, you don’t know much about each other, but you’re both putting yourselves out there and seeing if you’re a match. Here are four different relationships I’ve had with books that could also double relationships I’ve had with real human people.
Love at First Sight:
When you just *know*. You see the cover, and elbow your friends like, “Hey, check that cute book out!” Reading the back is like flirting, and you’re totally into what this book’s got going on… and then when you take the leap, open it up and hear the protagonist’s voice for the first time… voila! To quote Hamilton (my newest obsession) you’re helpless. Down for the count, and drownin’ in this book’s amazingness. It’s like finding a new best friend. This happened for me with Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. As soon as I met Willowdean Dickson on that first page, I just knew.
The Fall From Grace:
Things start out great! That first chapter, or first sentence… or even the epigraph* just grabs you. Sparks fly! You feel that instantaneous connection! On paper, this book should be everything that you’re looking for. But as time passes and pages turn, the excitement from the first few chapters starts to fade. You realize that the story, despite all its great qualities and promise, just isn’t giving you the butterflies you’d hoped for and you’re left unfulfilled. By the end you’re a little sad, a little tired, and wondering if you had just wasted a bunch of your time. This is saddest outcome for both books and relationships. I wish this on no one.
*This happened to me with Paper Towns. The second quotation in the epigraph is the following quote:
“People say friends don't destroy one another
What do they know about friends?”
This is from the song Game Shows Touch Our Lives by The Mountain Goats, and is a lyric that I have replayed over and over again and absolutely adore. Unfortunately, that adoration didn’t extend to the rest of the story for me. #sadness.
The Unexpected Obsession:
When you pick up a book and are like “… I dunno guys, this book isn’t really my type. You know me, I’m a ‘contemporary’ gal, not typically into the whole ‘fantasy’ thing…”. And then next thing you know you’re waking up with the lights still on and the book on the pillow next to you, only to grab it and keep reading it on the subway on your way to work, and then when you finally make it into the office you can’t stop debating with your coworkers which kind of Grisha you would want to be (Squaller, duh.). This description is loosely (ok, not so loosely) based on my experience reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.
The Slow Burn:
Sometimes a book can be a little slow to win you over. You start reading, like it well enough, but aren’t sure if you’re going to connect with it. You chug along, blissfully unaware that with every sentence you’re getting to know the book better, and as you do your heart starts to fill with affection for the characters, the tone, the setting. It never occurs to you that, in the immortal words of Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast, “Perhaps there’s something there that wasn’t there before.” You barely realize that the shift from ‘like’ to ‘something more’ is happening, until it’s too late. You’re a goner. Totally smitten. Then it’s 2:30 in the morning and you reach the last page with tears streaming down your cheeks and it hits you: IT’S LOVE. IT’S BEEN LOVE THIS ENTIRE TIME. This is pretty much what happened to me with All The Bright Places. Very very sneaky, Jennifer Niven.
So to sum up, reading a book is like entering a
new relationship. With each one—good or bad—you learn something more about
yourself as a reader. And the best part is? You never have to pick just one to
settle down with.
Every weekday in November, we’ll be including a super special writing prompt at the end of all our blog posts! Check out today’s: