There are two places that I go "for me": church and the library. Both have obvious functions and they are by far my favorite places to go.
When I go to the library, sometimes I'm in a hurry. I might be armed with a list, I might be swinging by just to drop off something that's due, or I might be running in to pick up a hold that came in. Other times, I can take it slow. I'll wander around looking for just the right books to take home. Depending on the day, my visit to the library may differ, but I always come away with at least a book or two to dig into.
I'll be telling you about my 2017 Reading Challenge soon enough, but today, I wanted to tell you about a little library game that I play. I don't know what to call it, so I'll just explain. This is the game that inspired me to become a reader. My sister and I played it just last week.
This nameless game is great for getting out of reading ruts. It challenges you to read things you might not normally read AND it gives you an excuse to talk about books with someone else. In order to play this game you just need two things: a library and a friend.
The rules are simple. The game begins by you asking someone to pick out a few books for you. They can put as much time into it as they choose. They can read descriptions, flip through the book, or make a choice based on some previous knowledge they have. OR They can select the book simply by looking at the cover. However they do it, they need to attempt to find books that give them some indication that you will enjoy them.
Once the books are chosen, you commit to read at least three chapters of each book. Once you reach the third chapter you are free to abandon the book if it's not for you. You don't have to have a "good" reason. If your friend's selections draws you in, keep reading!
After that, you and your friend can talk about their selections. They can tell you WHY they chose it for you. You can tell them why you kept reading or what caused you to toss it aside. Hopefully, you'll enjoy the books your friend chooses with you in mind and maybe even convince your friend that THEY would enjoy them too.
This very game is responsible for the place reading currently has in my life. It was 2013. I was recovering from missing my best friend and her kids like CRAZY. I had spent six months going back and forth between their house and mine helping my friend take care of her brand new baby, his older sister, and their house. All of a sudden, my time was my own again and I was beside myself.
I missed the kids. I couldn't seem to stop thinking through my day in terms of snacks and naps and feeding times. I missed my friend and our chats at the end of the day after the kids were tucked away into bed.
My Mom went to the library and I asked her if she'd get a few books for me. I didn't make any requests. I hadn't really been reading much during those six months and I didn't even know what I was in the mood to read.
She came back bearing three books that were completely unfamiliar. I didn't know the authors and I didn't know a thing about any of the books. She said, "Pick one. Give it three chapters before you decide to quit." and then she walked away. I spent the next month making my way through those books that neither one of us knew anything about. I haven't stopped since.
Last week, I asked my sister if she wanted to play. I explained how it worked and she decided that it was too fun to pass up. She chose two books and brought them to the place where I was browsing.
I'll invite you to play a little game now: of the three books pictured in this post, I chose one because of the cover and the other two are the ones my sister chose for me. Of the two she chose for me, one is one I wouldn't ever pick up and the other is one that I would choose based on the cover alone. Care to guess which is which? Go ahead!
Okay...Here are the answers:
Farewell, Dorothy Parker by Ellen Meister // The book my sister chose for me that I would choose for myself.
I know nothing about Dorothy Parker other than that her name is vaguely familiar. As for Meister, I've never heard ANYTHING about her in my life. The colors and font come together making this book look like something I would snatch off the shelf in a heartbeat.
Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum // The book my sister chose for me that I would never pick up.
It's something about the hands belonging to a child. If I had to guess what this one is about, I'd say it has something to do with those Amish stories. It looks sad and the falling petals make me think of tragedy.
Everything I Don't Remember by Jonas Hassen Khemiri // The book I chose for myself based on the cover alone.
The title caught my eye. When I pulled it off of the shelf, I knew it was for me. It reminds me of a piece of writing being edited, there is a tea cup, and again with the font...I have high hopes!
This game has been on my mind because I recently put one of my Mom's picks for me back in 2013 back into her own hands. I've mentioned it over the years, but the time hadn't been "right" until now. She read the first one and has since read the next two or three books in the series!
Some other discoveries I've made this way include: Emily and Einstein and Minding Frankie.
I haven't started on any of these books yet, but I'll be sure to share what I think when I'm done.
Does this sound like a game you would like to play?
What places make you happy?
What did you bring home on your last trip to the library?