Books are inanimate objects. Most of us like to think that we find books we want to read by looking for them. We peruse a bookstore, we look at recommendations on a website, or we browse randomly while in a Wal-mart. All of these are fantastic ways to find books.
In my opinion, the book finds you. It may not seem believable, but finding a book can suddenly lead you to genres, authors, and places you’ve never once considered going before. Let me share the story of a few books that have found me over the years.
Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams
As odd as it sounds, I was in a Harris Teeter one day looking at an end cap when I saw this book. The cover was orange and the words were written in an exciting font. A quick book jacket read led me to believe that I could dig the book, so I purchased it. Little did I know this was the last book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I have already raved over in this blog about four times now. I read a couple of pages of Mostly Harmless, then went out and purchased the HHGG book itself. That single book in a grocery store led me into the genre of comedic sci-fi and sci-fi itself, which has given me some of the best books I’ve ever read and heavily influenced my writing style. Did I look for that book? No. It found me.
Undead and Unwed, Mary Janice Davidson
This isn’t one of the books I’m particularly proud of saying that I’ve read, but when it comes to finding one of my favorite authors, this book led the way. Again I was in a Harris Teeter (I should shop there more often) and I was perusing an end cap. I picked up the book and read the jacket and tossed it into the cart. I ended up reading a large number of books in her series before I found Katie Macalister, who also writes in the genre of paranormal romance. Katie Macalister is an amazing writer and I can reread her books time and time again. They have brains, they have brawn, and they have a good healthy dose of women that can take care of themselves while not being too snarky about it. Though I no longer read Mary Janice Davidson, I credit her with leading me to one of my favorite series and authors – as well as another influence to my writing style. Did I look for that book? No. It found me.
The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
I have mentioned this book before in my blog, which goes to show how great of a book it is. I had moved to a townhouse near a library and I was walking around when the cover of this book caught my eye. I read a bit about it and decided it sounded fun – and it was. I have read this book many times and am still captivated by the thought-provoking issues that are created through a simple coming of age tale. This book not only led me to other books by the same author that I have greatly enjoyed, it has also led me to similar writers and, like the other two instances I’m sharing, heavily influenced my writing style and story telling method. Did I look for that book? No. It found me.
Judging by these few experiences I’ve shared, you can see why I truly believe that books find you. Perhaps you see a cover you like or you’re bored and decide to try out the random novel from your grocery store shelf. It can lead nowhere, but it also has the capacity to heavily change your reading experience as a whole and send you down a path of literary awesomeness. So next time you see a book and it sends that little niggle of curiosity banging around the back recesses of your mind, try picking it up and looking at it. You never know what you might find.