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?

19 thoughts on “Being Social [with the help of books]

  1. 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!)


    1. I know what you mean, sometimes I think I put people off because I get too enthusiastic. It’s just so enjoyable to talk about things that have such an emotional impact on me.


  2. 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. 😀 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 little disappointing. xD


    1. I’m the same, I have to be in a certain situation to not feel self-conscious asking someone about a book. A lot of the time you have the possibility of a weird look, but then occasionally you get an enthusiastic chatter. I just like that you’ll never know who you might get chatting too, who you could meet just because of a book.


  3. 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!


    1. Yes, talking about ideas is so much fun, my introverted brain loves it. Talking about weather or pets or bland just sends my brain into sleep mode.

      How lovely that so many wonderful things have happened to you via books 😀 It gives me hope!


  4. 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 me. It’s just hard to know who’s willing to have a conversation and who’s not!


    1. 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.


      1. Haha, that’s brilliant! I don’t think I would be at all annoyed if someone stopped me while buying something to find out what I was reading. I’d love that the book was noticed and I’d probably seem less grumpy.


    2. Yay for gaining a best friend through a love of books, that is awesome!

      Totally agree that it is hard to know when someone will be receptive to bookish chats or not.


  5. 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…


  6. 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. ❤


  7. 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.


    1. Travel sickness is the worst. I find I can’t read in cars without being sick, but buses and trains are just about okay. Do you find all transport makes you ill?

      I think taking control of our reading has made English Lit seem more fun. What we need are adult classes, like a book group, where we get to analyse books of our choice.


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