One of my favourite things about being a reader is that you can make so many connections with people in public about what you’re reading. I know readers are solitary creatures, but occasionally someone will surprise you in public and make a conversation about something you’re reading or a book reference. I wanted to talk about a few of my stand out moments of being a public reader.
I’ve had many book interactions in my recent years, most of them Harry Potter related, but it’s nice to have a connection to someone in public that otherwise you might not have spoken to due to something you’re reading or something you might find you have in common!
I wanted to talk a little about those interactions and share the warm fuzziness that i had encountered in those moments. As i said, most of the interactions i’ve had about books has been Harry Potter related (when is it not?) so expect a lot of mention of Harry Potter in this post.
First of all is my most recent interaction. Me and one of my friends arrived at the airport incredibly early for our flight to Krakow. We had time for a proper sit down dinner, which was great for us. As relaxed flight-wear, my friend was wearing a Slytherin jumper to represent her house (obviously). We chose to sit in an Italian restaurant that seemed relaxed, so waited for someone to take us to a table. A very lovely man met us at the entrance to the restaurant, and immediately said “oh, you’re a fan of Harry Potter?” and we both answered yes, naturally. This guy was middle-aged, and gave no indication of the conversation that was about to follow.
Once he lead us to a table, talking excitedly about Harry Potter, he said “If you love Harry Potter, there’s a book i absolutely love by Sally Green. It’s called Half Bad.” Me, being ridiculously over excited at the fact i did know the book, i had the book on my shelf and had met Sally Green, told him all of this. I have never seen a grown man so excited about Sally Green before. This guy sat down at the table beside us to talk about Sally Green and what she was like. When i told him she has a reasonably new book out, i nearly blew his mind. It was such a wonderfully pure interaction to see someone who loved a book with their whole heart and wanted to share as much of it as possible. He eventually did stand up and leave, once we finished gushing about authors. But this stands as one of my most lovely book related interactions!
My other favourite bookish interaction was with a woman on a tram, and it was about three years ago now. I was getting the tram to work in the city, and i was reading Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire on my journey (i’d just booked to see The Cursed Child so wanted to do a re-read of them before i saw it, this goal was never completed). The tram was pretty empty and a woman got on with a pram and sat by me. The whole journey i could feel her somewhat looking at me, in that way that you know you’re safe with that one other person on the tram. If someone was to get on with a knife, we’d be in this together. So i continued reading, and as we approached Manchester and i had about three stops to go, i stopped at a chapter and put my book in my bag.
This clearly was the nudge it took for her to speak to me. She leaned over slightly and motioned to my book, “Is this the first time you’ve read it?” I responded with my idea of re-reading them before the The Cursed Child which actually lead us in to a wonderfully animated chat about Harry Potter, about the play and when we would both be seeing it. She genuinely was a really lovely person to make a connection with. When we both got off, she wished me a good time at the play and we went our separate ways.
These interactions might seem cheesy and overly sentimental to you, but i really love little interactions with people where you can immerse yourself in something you love with a stranger. I think about these a lot, amongst the numerous chats i’ve had of ‘what Hogwarts house are you in?’ whilst sporting some kind of Harry Potter merchandise.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any really lovely bookish interactions with people. I’d love to know about the bookish love spread between people.