So, every week I scan through all of the free or cheap book events I can find in the city, and then I share the calendar hoping that someone else will get to take advantage of the many options out there. Yet pouring over the lists makes me wonder about how overly ambitious it is to even attempt a universal term for us all.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the people who would be interested in the many poetry readings offered would probably not be interested in Andrew Cuomo signing his autobiography.
Then again, here are some random samplings of the book lovers in my life: My brother occassionally tries to squeeze in “something from the twentieth century.” One of my friends avoids period pieces. My wife is allergic to poetry, but of course, I know someone writing her own poetry book. Since I left school, I am doing well if I read one nonfiction book in five years, but I had a coworker who boasted that he never read fiction. My father only listens to audiobooks. Another of my coworkers seemed to read everything but complained that most of it was crap, constantly saying things like, “That series was awful. I hated the first three books, but the fourth one picked up.” And, of course, we all know at least one person who only reads Oprah’s Book Club Books.
Yet, we all claim to be “book lovers.” I would like to pretend that it’s because the written word is such an amazing, transcendent force, it brings us altogether. Unfortunately, I suspect it has more to do with readers feeling like we are in the minority and craving the social support that this kind of necessitates. People don’t often say, “I love tv.” That’s too broadly assumed to be a useful delineator, so they usually pick specific programs, like crime procedurals, Shonda Rhimes, or Breaking Bad. If more people get reading, I suspect fewer would bother to state that they love books- they would jump right into genres.
Please tell me I’m wrong. I’d love to be.