Books In Common


I worked with someone new last week and we were doing the usual get-acquainted chat. The "how old are your kids?'' and "where do you live?" type thing. Somehow we ended up talking about what we like to do in our spare time. She said she likes to read.  Of course I asked what type of books she enjoys.

She looked at me with a slightly uncertain expression and said: "You have probably never heard of her but I really like Georgette Heyer."

Yes, I know. That was my reaction too.

What is it about finding you have a similar taste in books that immediately creates a bond with someone? Is it because books are so much a part of who we are? Is it because we hold the stories, the authors, the books close to our hearts? Maybe it is because the books, the authors,  are our friends and when others like our friends it makes us happy. Maybe it is because a love of reading is not as common as it used to be so finding someone else who loves books feels like a discovery.

I can have other things in common with someone and not feel the same bond that is created by a love of books. I have worked with people who have kids the same ages as mine, who like to travel, who watch the same tv shows. All those things are nice but it is the love of books and the interest in similar authors that makes me think "We could be friends." The other things are an indication of possible compatibility. A love of Georgette Heyer is almost a guarantee.

I was so thrilled to encounter someone else who had read Heyer that I came home and pulled one of her novels off my shelves. I haven't read Venetia in a long time and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I need to take an inventory of my Heyer novels and find out which ones I need to purchase in order to complete my collection. Plus, a few of them are particularly ugly editions and I wouldn't mind replacing those. Venetia is a prime example. It has a stereotypical Regency Romance cover and we all know a Heyer novel is not just a stereotypical Regency Romance. It is witty and clever and well-researched and well, just plain fun.

Do you have a lot of people in your life with whom you can discuss books? And, of even more importance, how do you feel about Georgette Heyer?

12 comments

  1. I think when you find someone else who likes to read, it's like this universal thing you have in common. It doesn't matter if you don't have anything else in common, this one thing bonds you. I'm a generation younger than a woman I work with; she has grown children, I have none; she and her husband are more financially well-off than my husband me - yet, we can talk about books for an hour straight.

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    1. That is what fascinates me. Somehow, books are the thing that create a bond. It must be nice to have someone at work with whom you can discuss books. I would think it could create a little bright spot in the working day.

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  2. Lovely! When my new boss (a year ago) asked if I'd ever read Diary of a Provincial Lady, I think I rather panicked her with my enthusiastic response :)

    And, somehow, I have never read Heyer.

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    1. I think I might have done the same thing to this person. I was just so surprised and pleased. I would have the same reaction if she said she loved Diary of a Provincial Lady. It is another of my comfort books.

      You should try Heyer. So much fun. I read them over and over.

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  3. I would be careful about completing your Heyer collection, as she wrote in several different genres, and like most prolific authors, some of her work is better than others. She is best known for her delightful Regency romances, but she also wrote detective stories (good) and novels from other historical periods, which would be out of print if her name were not so well known. The Conqueror is OK if you are interested in William the Conqueror, but I found Royal Escape (King Charles) unreadable, and Simon the Coldheart and My Lord John have also had very poor reviews.

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    1. I have, actually, read most of her books. I would agree that some of her straight historical novels are not as readable. I own them but I don't reread them. I just want to buy the Regency ones I am missing. I think I own all the mysteries already.

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  4. Oh absolutely! First in finding someone who really reads - for whom books are alive and reading is a necessity. And then to find someone who reads the same books is an added bonus.

    For years, the only person I knew who read Heyer was my sister. Then, when I got my first computer, I found an on-line Heyer group, and now the members in Houston get together for tea and other things. I hope someday to meet other bloggers in person as well!

    I think your mileage may vary, as they say, with Heyer's work. I enjoyed Royal Escape, and also Beauvallet. I also like the mysteries, but I do not recommend the four "modern" novels, which Heyer herself suppressed. They're really hard to find now.

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    1. "For whom books are alive and reading is a necessity." What a great description.

      I remember years ago finding a copy of one of her suppressed novels at my library and being so excited at first and then so disappointed. I love the Regencies and her mysteries though. I have read them all multiple times, I just would like to own them all. I think I am only missing a two or three.

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  5. I read and loved Heyer in high school, but was always embarrassed about the covers. They looked so Harlequin-y.

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    1. I don't mind the older covers but I have a couple that look like very Harlequin-y and those are the ones I would like to replace.

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  6. Yes, I do feel immediately akin to someone who likes the same books or authors that I do! I know that we can speak the same language, in a sense.

    I was snobby for a long time about Georgette Heyer because of those covers! Once I finally started reading her I couldn't stop.

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    1. Some of the editions do have pretty terrible covers. It didn't bother me much as a teenager so I just binge read all of them. But I just reread Venetia with the Harlequin-type cover and, I must admit, I hesitated to put it in my bag when I was leaving the house!

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