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Can Books Define Us?

It is funny how life seems to synchronize sometimes. Over the past week, I have come across the same idea. It started with Christmas decorations. My favorite holiday is actually Thanksgiving, but I have more decorations for Christmas. In fact, my house looks a little bit like Jolly Ol’ Saint Nicholas threw up in it. Yet, I can’t help but get into the spirit of the season as I decorate my Christmas tree. It takes me back to childhood.

Anyway, as I was decorating my tree, I began to see myself in the ornaments. This idea was compounded by my city’s charity event. Every year, clubs and organizations build themed Christmas trees. The one that I found funny was a Duck Dynasty theme—I immediately thought of my brother. How much of your tree reflects who you are? Mine are all teacher, dachshund, or Christian related. Since most are gifts, I find it interesting none are writer related, but those would complete a Christmas tree that accurately reflects the main aspects of my life. 

Now for the symmetry…all last week people were posting “cards” on Facebook that discussed their “true love” being someone who reads the same books. I have come to understand that I have a “thinking” nature, so by the time I made the Christmas tree revelation I started to question the books I read. If someone looked at the books on my bookshelf, could they define who I am as a person? It’s an interesting concept. I think if it had merit that dating services would somehow be connected to online bookshelves like goodreads or shelfari. Or, better yet, that dating services would invade these places. Soon, I’ll sign into my accounts and see the advertisements proclaiming “find single readers in your area!”

I like to think I am open-minded, but I have had a few people recommend books to me. If they are “acquaintances,” I find their recommendations are not very “good.” I also have found the personalities of my friend recommending the book within the text. So, when I give a 5 star review, what I’m really saying is this book is totally me. Interesting thought.

Here’s one last one, which might be one too many for this Wednesday morning. Can this analysis extend to the books I write? Are they simply 400 pages of my own philosophies and beliefs? Again, can someone understand who I am by reading my characters? The idea was strengthened as I plan for my next novel. I actually told a friend I needed to research because the character is nothing like me (I was condemned to a happy childhood). 

I think everything we do are expressions of ourselves. Others simply need to notice them. I can also use that to understand the people around me more—and in the spirit of the season find wonderful Christmas gifts! Or maybe my academic background has sent me on an overly analytic thought process.

Happy Shopping!