Shared Joy is Twice the Joy, Shared Pain is Half the Pain

Date a Girl Who Reads – Rosemarie Urquico

I stumbled upon this very interesting essay again earlier today; I know its been around for a while, but it is more interesting to me today than it has been in the past:

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.” *

I am that girl. I absentmindedly sit in coffee shops and dining halls reading books all the time. It might look like I am ignoring the world around me, but I am actually incredibly engrossed in that world – its just an invisible one. I add books to my list about ten times faster than I check them off, and I am currently in the middle of four books, if we don’t count the one I finished this morning.

I am that girl, and I want that guy. I want a guy who will walk up to me at a table and ask me what I’m reading, and ask me if I like it, and leave me alone. Who will pull out his own book and sit next to me, reading the day away. I want a guy who has a sense of adventure courtesy of Frank and Joe Hardy, and is a traditional romantic, right out of Elizabethan novels. Someone who will explore Misselthwaite Manor, and punish those who need to be punished. Who will debate the true possibility of book-jumping, consider the political implications of books read over the radio, and the nature of kindred spirits.

Or a guy who fulfills all those descriptions. I’d happily switch places with the lucky lover in that essay. I hope that someday I’ll walk into an almost-full coffee shop with a book in my bag and see a man with a book at a table. Or maybe he’s doing the crossword, his half-consumed coffee (or tea, whatever) ignored at his side. Maybe I’ll have the nerve to sit down and pull out my book, and maybe something will happen.

Or maybe I’ll meet a guy on a camping trip, and we’ll bond over mutual confusion caused by two moons, or a passionate discussion (argument?) about whether wire-taps are the beginning of Big Brother. And maybe we’ll determine if our mothers are fish.

I know that its crazy to think that I’ll find this guy easily, or that he’ll just fall into my lap, but I also know that I’ll find him someday. And when I do, I don’t think I’ll let him go. We’ll sit side by side on South-East Asian beaches, we’ll peruse the contents of some secret society’s library in New York. And we’ll have a dog named Dogberry or Atticus, and we’ll have a house with a library bigger than the bedroom. Because our library will be every room, because every room needs books. And our kids’ room will have a wardrobe for the sole purpose of hiding a reading room.

Or maybe it won’t, but it doesn’t matter. I just hope that someday I find someone who will read into the late hours of the night with me, and read anything and everything; who will read the newspaper slowly enough to talk about the news but quickly enough so we can do the crossword; who will always have a book on hand if our plane gets delayed, but who will happily put the book away to explore a new city.

I wish I could write my life like an author writes a book, crafting each detail and event to be perfect. But then, I’ve heard, that authors are constrained by what their characters might actually do, much like life.

Does life imitate literature or literature imitate life?

Guys – if you have an answer, let me know. Especially if I’m in the dining hall by myself with a book.

Did you catch all the references? : The Hardy Boys by Franklin W Dixon, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Matilda by Roald Dahl, the Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, 1984 by George Orwell, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, Quiet by Susan Cain, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (Herndons), To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Daniels), The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

* Find the author here:

2 responses

  1. Pingback: Mara Wilson is a Genius | Shared Joy is Twice the Joy

  2. Pingback: Spoken Word Poetry | Shared Joy is Twice the Joy

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