I’ll admit that it has been a while since I read a really great book. This is disappointing to me because I like to think of myself as a “reader,” although, it’s hard to carry that title these days due to the lack of actual book reading that is occurring. I’m to blame for this, but maybe not for the reasons you may think. I’m blaming myself for picking books I’m not actually interested in reading.
When it comes to choosing books, how do you do it? Do you pick books based on reviews by friends and family? Cover artwork? New York Times lists? Social media suggestions? How does one decide what to read?
I’ve tried over the years to get into non-fiction. I promise I have. I’ve purchased biographies and autobiographies and current event type books, all to no avail. I’ll get about three or four chapters in and just completely lose interest, leaving the book to sit by my bed for an undetermined amount of time before it’s banished forever to the book container in the closet. Why do I do this? It’s certainly not a lack of interest in the topic, or maybe that’s all it is. Do you find that non-fiction writing can be uninspiring?
When I was growing up, I was into mystery novels and courtroom dramas. You may have thought that I wanted to be an attorney with all the John Grisham I read throughout my adolescence (don’t worry, that was never a dream of mine). Somehow, this genre has faded out of interest and given way to more subtle novels–more “coming of age” but into yourself type novels. Not self-help, I’ve never been into those, but more like… life-changing event causes the protagonist to question everything and then figure it out, or not. Basically, “life” books, so-to-speak.
Actually, one novel I read years ago that has stuck with me is one written by a dear friend and mentor, Mary Tabor. Mary’s novel, Who by Fire, is a haunting story of a man who loses his wife to disease, but in her death learns of an affair she had during the last few years of her life. He puts together pieces of a story he never lived and tells it through his interpretation of the events preceding her death. It’s a beautiful, poetic, and deeply moving story about love, betrayal, and loss, and all of the related emotions. This is a story you never forget. A story about life; real and raw.
What do books have to do with wine?
Well, the two subjects may be more similar than you think.
Both are pleasures of the mind and spirit, I believe. Both are highly subjective, and both inspire conversation, emotion, and sharing, if enjoyed, or tossing, if not.
The process of choosing a wine is similar to choosing a book to read. In both cases, you don’t really know what you’re getting until you open it up. Think about it. Just like the story unfolds in front of you as you turn the pages in a novel, a wine also begins to open up as you pour each glass from the bottle. You get to decide once you open each if it is something you want to continue enjoying.
How do you choose wines? Is it similar to how you choose a book? Do you pick out a bottle based on recommendations, ratings, social media suggestions, or a pretty label? Do you crave a sip of a certain wine because the New York Times review said it was the best? Are you seeing the parallels?
If a wine is great, just like a book, you want to revel in its greatness and share it, right? You want to write that positive review or tell all of your friends and family that they also should enjoy this book, this bottle that created an epiphany or inspired emotions you didn’t even know you were capable of experiencing. Both reading and imbibing can be spiritual, and many of you are nodding right now because you know it’s true.
Now, lately, I’ve been a bit better at choosing my wines than choosing my books, so maybe I need your help a little bit more with that. What novels have moved you?