Have you ever had a book that you felt completely understood you and spoke to you so deeply that you felt like it had to be written to explain your perspective? Yeah, that’s kinda deep for an inanimate object, but sometimes I feel like books understand me better than people do.
Maybe this is what happens to daughters of librarians. We feel like books are our friends.
I never have it much thought until I had a boyfriend say he understood me better after reading a book I lent him. It was The Alchemist. Actually my college boyfriend introduced me to the book, and I have always felt like that was one of the best relationships I ever had. It helped me grow as a person, I opened my eyes to so much more of the world and what my role could be in it. He was my first love. So it feels appropriate that this book is so important.
That college boyfriend was leaving to study abroad in Morocco. He night before he left he read me passages from that book about chasing dreams, trusting in love and destiny, and seeking adventure sometimes without really knowing why. He highlighted those passages which I can now almost recite by memory. He left the book with me to read over and over while he was gone. He knew he was going to do big things with his life, and he knew that loving him meant that the woman would be putting up with a lot. We broke up eventually. Not because of Morocco. Maybe that story is for another day. But he and I are still friends, I feel like a piece if my soul will always be entwined with his, and a big piece of my soul is in The Alchemist.
If you haven’t read The. Alchemist, now is the time. It’s a gorgeous book, and a quick read. It’s advertised as a fairy tale for adults. I suppose it is, because it is about chasing our dreams no matter what the obstacle, and it is about faith and love. These are some of the major themes that Paulo Coelho explores is his books, and probably why I love them so much. I yearn for adventure, love and faith. His books feel like my soul is speaking to me in words I didn’t know that I knew all along.
I was on a date recently with a guy and we were talking about a topic that he felt passionately about and mentioned his favorite book was Catch 22. He spoke about Catch 22 the same way I speak about The Alchemist. So we swapped books, maybe so we could understand each other better.
Is that what relationships are all about? Getting the opportunity to glimpse someone’s soul?
I know I don’t lend that book out to most people I date. For starters, I had one hell of a time tracking down the cover edition that my college boyfriend had, it is much more like artwork than the current sandy desert cover. The art felt important to me. I didn’t underline the passages because so much of that book is important to me, some of those phrases aren’t as important as they once were. And sometimes other parts jump at me. I think that book morphs into what I need it to be when I read it.
I’m reading Catch 22 now, and it’s the first time I’ve read it. It’s hilariously dark, and yeah it does help me understand him better. Funny how that happens. Maybe this brings us closer, maybe it doesn’t. I think it honestly scared off the last guy I gave it to (I’m very idealistic, I think that engineer boyfriend got intimidated by it).
Do only have a book or a song that speaks to you? Do you feel attached to something like that, and it lets people understand who you are without you having to say a word?