I sometimes get frustrated with my daughter when I recommend a book to her knowing she’ll like it, but she brushes me off or otherwise ignores the suggestion. Have I mentioned my daughter is an ornery Taurus?
But then, if I’m being honest, I have to admit she gets this trait from me (and I’m not even a Taurus). It took me at least 25 years to finally read Anne of Green Gables even though I knew I’d love it. Instead I reread The Ghost at Dawn’s House 647 times.
The interesting thing about the internet is the impressive nerd community. We are in our element here. We can connect with other nerds and correct the grammar of non-nerds while bonding over our intense and sometimes life-destroying love of fictional characters. This is accomplished via various means such as Tumblr, or image posts on Facebook, or Tumblr posts made into image posts and then posted on Facebook. It was through these that I gradually became aware of the fact that normal people, apparently, don’t get overly attached to fictional characters. I assume this must be true based on these posts themselves loudly proclaiming they’re sorry-not-sorry about loving fictional characters. In my personal life most of the people I know have just been like, “Oh you have a crush on Ford Prefect? What? That’s normal.” But I assume that if an entire community online has to support each other in this sense, then we must be alone in this trait.
And so I started examining why I sometimes avoid reading new books and it finally hit me: I have enough fictional friends already. My heart can’t always take the vulnerability of meeting new people who might get hurt and will, at the very least, definitely leave me by the end of the book. And I know I can always reread the book, but that is a different experience which is wonderful in its own way. In any case, that is sort of the point, isn’t it? That I keep rereading the old ones rather than new ones. This isn’t to say I’ve been reading the same six books my whole life – I do read new ones, quite often even. This is just the reason that I find myself magnetically repelled from books I know I’ll love.
When I was in high school (during the 90’s when everyone was a shitty beat poet in Doc Martens and thrift store flannels) my favorite English teacher sort of crushed my soul a little by declaring that you can tell a literary person because they are always in the middle of a bunch of books at once. But I never was. I’m extremely monogamous with books. I think it’s due to my attention issues. And maybe loyalty. I can’t cheat on a book, you know. So I assumed I must not be literary and my occasional hesitancy to avoid good literature reinforced that opinion. Now that I’m an adult I know better (although my inner self needs constant reminders). Literary people can read however the fuck many books they want at once. And the reason I avoid new books sometimes is, I think, an incredibly literary reason. After all, who else by shitty beat poets in Doc Martens and thrift store flannels becomes so attached to fictional characters that they literally cry at the words “the end”?
I mean. Except I don’t write shitty poetry anymore. I mean my inner 90’s grunge hipster teen. And yours, too. You know you have one.