After years of working as a reporter, I rarely feel any trepidation about starting conversations with strangers. And when I saw the woman at Borders with a basket of at least 30 paperback books, I had to know more.
So, after a little surreptitious stalking, I threw out an opening line.
"Wow," I said, looking into her basket. "Are those all for you?"
"Yep,"' she said. "I read all the time."
Now I wasn't only curious. I was truly envious - of her reading time and her bold purchases. I would love to buy that many books, but I always seem to find that other items, not-so-fun items, have eaten up much of my book money.
But regardless, I was absolutely delighted at finding another avid reader. And just like most readers I know, the woman was more than happy to tell me about her purchases.
"I just read a bunch, and then my husband has a fit so I give them away," she said, laughing. "And then I come out and buy a bunch more."
We were chatting in the romance section, and I noticed a few Janet Daileys in the basket, so I asked her about her preferences. Just romance?
"Nope," she said. "I read everything." And then she reached in her purse to prove it. She took out a tattered little notebook, and leaned over to show me its contents. Written within were lines and lines, titles after titles, some peppered with notations like "Great!" or "Good ending!" or even "Recommend to (so and so)."
"This is the only way to keep them all straight," she said. "Otherwise, you forget what you've read. And if you're reading a series, you can forget which ones you have and which ones you don't.
I agree - I do the same thing. And I learned it from my mom, who does it as well.
Soon we were kneeling on the floor together, comparing notes on books we'd read, and all too soon, it was time for me to go. Not for the first time, I wished I had business cards, or even "blog cards," so handy to give out when you meet unexpectedly cool people at random. But I didn't. So I left her to her enjoyable task.
"Happy reading," I said to her with a wave. She waved back distractedly.
She already had her nose inside a book.