There’s little I won’t do in the Name of Blog. I mean, Love.
So despite last week’s rather meh singles event, I went to another one: the “Boozy Book Swap.” It was one of the events that I’d been wait-listed for in the past, so I signed up immediately after it was announced, which was just a day after last week’s flat beer tasting. It was only $20 and at the very least I figured I’d go home with something.
But before I even arrived the internal drama began.
What book do I bring?!
I’m sort of territorial with my books in that if I really, really, really love a book, I want to keep it on my shelves forever and ever until the pages yellow. Whether or not I will actually read it again, which is often the promise I make to myself for continuing to keep them and fill my shelves with new ones, is besides the point. That said, I didn’t want to give away one of my favorites.
But you know that saying “Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover?” Bull shit. I do it all the time. In which case, “Don’t Judge a Book Owner by the Book He/She Reads” is also B.S.
I needed to be smart in my choice as whatever I brought would surely be judged. This was an event meant to get to know people, after all. While I didn’t want to give up my Jonathan Safran Foer, Junot Diaz or Dave Eggers, I couldn’t very well bring one of the several self-help-y books hiding behind others on my shelf (See: He’s Just Not Your Type: And That’s a Good Thing). Nor could I bring any of the cheeky Urban Outfitters-esque books that are really just for browsing (See: Position of the Day: Sex Positions Every Day in Every Way). Though, I suppose the latter could’ve provoked some funny encounters Still, I didn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. Too much, too soon.
Sure, I could’ve brought a book I hadn’t read yet, and I considered this as I scanned the giveaway pile at The Daily Beast where I’ve been editing a few days a week. But what sort of conversation would that allow? That just seemed like a cop-out.
I closely looked at my shelves and behind a few of my favorites eventually found a winner: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk.
I read it a few years ago for Book Club. I remember liking it, but not loving it. It was weird and twisty, and while I recall there being some wild ending that sparked a rather interesting discussion, I didn’t feel attached to it. I’m also keenly aware of the fact that Chuck Palahniuck is a dude’s author. He wrote Fight Club, the dude-iest novel-slash-movie of all time. And despite the fact that I can’t pronounce his last name, I’m not ashamed to admit my motive in choosing this book was to make it known that I don’t just read books like The Help and The Nanny Diaries. (Please don’t, er, read too much into these gender stereotypes. I don’t think there’s shame in having read either—I loved them both!) The point is, I can hang with the guys, too. Maybe not at a sports bar, which is where my father continually tells me to go to meet men despite the fact that I don’t watch sports. But his point is well-taken. I just did it my way.
I even inserted one of my neat little library cards into the book just in case there was a dashing man there I wanted to see again and he “forgot” to ask for my number. (Always happens. Silly boys!) This way, the “return date” might encourage a date-date. (My sister gave me this cute set she got a Anthropologie and I’ve been using them a lot lately. It’s a bit OCD, but also a clever way for me to keep track of where my favorites are.)
That said, I was already a block from The Strand when I realized I didn’t write my phone number on the card, which pretty much made the whole idea a bit useless. (Though, I suppose there’s always Google). It didn’t really matter anyway because when I arrived, I saw most of the books just sitting on the table for people to take on their own as opposed to bartering, which made me feel a bit ridiculous about having agonized over the entire concept. I tried as hard as I could to remove the library card, but that bad-boy was in there good and I didn’t want to risk ripping the book. Instead, I ended up spilling red wine all over the table and other books in the process. So much for good impressions.
I must say, while I didn’t lock eyes with a bearded bookworm across the not-so-crowded room as I had hoped, I did have some interesting conversations about books and authors. There was wine and music, but neither were the point of the evening or even necessary for getting through it. You could hear people speak and see the outfits they were wearing. (Obviously key for me, as you know I curated mine especially for the occasion.) What’s more, the books people brought were stellar! From Nora Ephron to David Sedaris to Hemingway and more, there were so many I haven’t read and want to.
There was even The Nanny Diaries, which made me smile.
I had a hard time choosing just one…so I didn’t. In fact, I ended up leaving with five! To be fair, one was given to me by an author who was there pimping his novel (smart PR move!) and I bought another. The event was held in the rare book room, so in between drinking (and spilling) red wine and discussing whether The Virgin Suicides author Jeffery Eugenedies also wrote Middlesex (I said yes, this other guy insisted no—I was right! Booya!) I wandered around the room ogling ancient tomes and one in particular caught my eye. So here’s what I ended up with:
Needless to say, the night was a success in my…book. (Sorry, that one was too easy.)
I may not have found everlasting love, but I did end up with quite a few ways to be kept company forever.
And hey, ya never know. My name’s still in that book.