“Have you ever read anything by her? She’s really good.”
A stranger said this to me last week, while I was browsing shelves of books at our local thrift store. She pointed to one as she spoke – The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton.
I picked it up, opened to the dust jacket, started to read the description. “No, I haven’t,” I said.
“I’d buy that one, but I’ve already read it,” she told me. “You’ll like it.”
The woman telling me this is mid-forties, polished, professional. Wearing a nice outfit, flawless makeup, hair that obviously cost more than a Wal-Mart cut’n’style (which looks great on her). Not someone I’d typically meet in a social situation – me, in jeans, a black dragon tee shirt and a gray hoodie, no makeup, hair that hasn’t been cut or styled since high school, nails painted black, sneakers with skulls on them. But put both of us in front of a shelf of books, and suddenly we have something in common. We like to read. And all readers can find something to talk about.
I thanked her, she smiled and continued shopping. I bought the book (along with a Nora Roberts, a Sidney Sheldon, and Relic, because I’ve seen the movie and have been wondering what the book is like. Hey, it’s a thrift store. I gorge on books there).
This lovely woman clarified something for me. What she did for Kate Morton is what I want. More than anything, I want people who have never met me to approach strangers in bookstores (or thrift stores), point to my book, and say, “Have you ever read anything by her? She’s really good.” If I take away nothing else from my writing career (and here it is, just getting started), I want to excite someone with my stories, and make that social-niche-transcending connection happen over my books.
Has a stranger ever recommended a book to you? If so, did you end up buying it? What’s the most interesting, most unusual or best book recommendation you’ve ever received? I’d love to hear your stories!