Why I’m Honored To Be My Friends’ Personal Librarian
In my first post I mentioned my friend Jess, who met up with me at our library’s most recent used book sale. By the time she got there, I had a bag started for her of books I thought she’d enjoy. When I handed her the bag, a woman browsing nearby leaned over and said “Oh you’re lucky, I wish I had someone to pick out books for me.” “Come on,” I responded turning toward the paperbacks, “Let’s find you some books! What do you like to read?” A few minutes later, she shuffled away, clutching a copy of The Glass Castle and two Ann Patchett novels I’d handed her.
When my friend Andrew made a goal to read more, he asked me for some recommendations. I paced in front of my book shelves while talking to him on the phone. “What are you wanting to read?” I asked as I ran my hands along the spines of my collection. “Fiction or non? Do you like sci-fi? What about WW II era history? Do you want humor? Do you want mystery? Do you like a love story?”
I’m not sure how I came to hold this role in my social circle, but I have embraced it fully.Helping a friend choose a book is one of my greatest joys.
When I’m recommending a book for someone with the goal that they love it, I am rarely off. When it’s a more casual recommendation, like “Hey, this is a good book, check it out,” I can be more hit or miss.
I attribute my skill at book recommendations to the fact that I am an empath. Sometimes I just know things but more often, I can feel what other people are feeling, can sense what they like or need to encounter in a book.
My friend Amber, who is in my book club and is a kick ass life coach, recently wrote a blog post about how being sensitive is her super power. It’s not a coincidence that she and I have become close friends since we first met a few years ago! So often being sensitive is something we are shamed for, but it truly is a gift. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the more I nurture my gift and surround myself with people who appreciate this about me, the stronger it has become.
I use my sensitivity paired with my life experiences to know which book someone may find helpful at a certain time in their life. Grief, divorce, celebration, sorrow, depression, physical pain, loneliness, joy, accomplishments: I’ve been through it and I was reading books at the time. Those books either helped me or didn’t, and I like to pass that knowledge on.
Anyone who has recommended a special book to me will always be in my favor. I like to think I hold that place for a few people as well.
How have you discovered some of your favorite books?