Books are great. In fact, they’re pretty much up there in my top 3, alongside girls and dogs. Yes, I know, I have a very simplistic top 3 favourite things in the world list: Girls, Books, Dogs. I’m a guy, what do you want from me? Now, coming back to the subject of books, you see, I really like books. Physical books, I mean. Digital books and I have yet to work out a proper relationship. We’re rather like that distant cousin that you see at family reunions, where you both nod in acknowledgment of one another’s existence, and maybe even shake hands and say ‘sup yo’, but won’t get into any sort of complex conversation. That’s how I am with digital books. There’s no universalised platform, the cost of purchasing them is too expensive, and, well, they run out of batteries. Admittedly, they can be read in the dark, which I do like, but that’s why we have clip-on lights for books, after all.
Thing is though, it’s much harder to work out what someone’s reading on Kindle or Mobile Phone Reader (no I don’t know what they’re called, but not because I don’t want to know, I just…don’t know). And do you know how much harder it is to strike up a conversation with someone if you can’t tell what they’re reading? Thus, my delight this morning when, on the bus, on the way to work, there I am, pulling my hardcover copy of A Dance With Dragons out of my bag, when I notice that the woman in front of me is reading The Little Prince. It’s the English translation (I’ve only read it in Russian, and didn’t even realise that there was an English translation). I leaned over after she’d put the book away (after all, who would dare interrupt someone while they’re reading? That’s just so rude!) and said:
“Antoine de Saint-Exupéry! You have good taste!”
She turned around. “Sorry?”
“The Little Prince. It’s a great book.”
“Yes it is. You know him?”
“I’ve read his other works, including Night Flight.”
She smiled. “It’s so rare to meet a reader. What are you reading?”
I pulled out A Dance With Dragons, which I’d since put away. Her eyes widened.
“What book is that?”
“A Dance With Dragons. Book five in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series.”
She then explained that she was actually a scifi and fantasy fan herself, and I remarked by explaining that I was one as well, and also a huge fan of Exupery, and suggested that she read his book ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’ (as should you, reader).
We got off the bus, still talking, and she said “There is a book you must look up, oh I cannot recall the author’s name, but the title is ‘The Words of Mercury’, you must google it!”
And indeed I have, and it looks like a really good read. So, lady from the bus today, if you should come across this post, thank you for a lovely conversation this morning and for the lovely book recommendation! It would be lovely to chat about books with you again some day, should we meet again.