Being Social [with the help of books]

As a book lover do you:

a) Use books as conversational ice-breakers?
b) Sometimes find yourself overcome with the urge to talk to someone about the book you can see they are reading because you’ve either read or want to read it?
c) Get spoken to because of what you are reading?
d) All of the above?

I realise that being interrupted while you are reading, or interrupting someone else while they are reading, is somewhat impertinent. But, sometimes I’ll see someone reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves or some other wonderful book and just feel the need to tell them how wonderful it was to read.

And I’m an introvert. The people avoiding, robot embracing sort of introvert.

waacboI love to enthuse about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Books are just the best subject to talk to strangers about, especially when faced with awkward social situations where all you want to do is avoid small talk (I can only pretend to like so many cats). One minute these new people are near strangers and the next you’re debating Shakespeare’s worth. All from books.

If I didn’t love reading I wouldn’t have a blog, bookish internet friends, book festivals to visit, volunteering roles or probably even my job. From one thing sprang a chain of events that have pushed me forward in all sorts of ways.

How has your love of books affected your life? Do you interrupt readers? Do strangers talk to you about what you are reading? What are you reading?

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19 Comments on "Being Social [with the help of books]"

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stephaniepomfrett
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I have been known to do this- especially if someone is reading The Book Thief or another book that affected me. I just want to share the enthusiasm. (I’m not sure how enthusiastic the receiver of my enthusiasm is sometimes, though!)

Lotte
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All of the above. People striking up conversation with me happens less so because when I’m in public and on the go, I usually read with my ereader so you can’t see what I’m reading unless you were to look over my shoulder and read along until you recognize it, and that wouldn’t really a great impression. A few times people have asked me what I’m reading though and I usually love to talk about it. :D Except I’m too nervous and unwilling to impose to strike up conversation myself regardless of what I see another reading so that’s a… Read more »
Kate
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Yes! I think that books are a great way for introverts to start conversations; for me, anything that gets me talking about ideas rather than not-very-interesting small talk. I met my boyfriend when we were both volunteering at a bookshop and a lot of things in my life have probably sprung from a love of reading. Quite amazing when you think about it like that!

Tara
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One of my best friends and I were in the same study hall for like a month, but it wasn’t until I saw him with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, that got me to finally talk to him. It was the best ice breaker, and once we started talking, we couldn’t shut up XD So yes, books can be a great conversation tools . . . if one can get over their shyness and TALK. But sometimes my attempt doesn’t work when it’s talking to someone who has no interest in talking back, and that pretty much discourages… Read more »
Selah
Guest

I work in a busy train ticket office and if someone comes up to buy a ticket holding a book, I will delay the sale until I have found out what they are reading. A few people will reluctantly disclose the title and nothing more but most people are very happy to have an impromptu discussion at the counter – some wonderful reads have come my way using this method.

Literary Relish
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I used to spy on a chap who used to come in our local always always always with something fascinating in his pocket. He once propped up at the bar and started reading the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam! I adored him…he never realised it and then we moved house without me ever managing to buck up the courage to speak…

Jenny @ Reading the End
Guest

I so love talking to strangers about what they are reading and what I am reading. For this, I particularly recommend working in publishing. Publishing people read all the time and are also the best. :p

Kya
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It is wonderful that reading and books have been able to have such a positive impact on your life. It is going to be exciting for what is to come in the future too. <3

Charlie
Guest

A and B. I get travel sick and until recently couldn’t read except in silence so C hasn’t had a chance. I’ve interrupted a stranger who was reading once when I *had* to but kept it short. Books and blogging have affected me a fair amount, probably chief of those the change from hating English Lit to wishing I could relive those classes.

Other interests may be similar but I think the progress from small talk to conversation is particularly quick in the context of books.

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