Last night, over some Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, I discovered my literary soulmate.
Lauren stopped over to drop off some ice cream. I handed her a beer, and asked her if she'd finished The Dark Tower books she'd been reading. At Christmas, I had agreed to loan her my David Sedaris collection when she'd finished The Dark Tower books my brother gave her. So, after I went upstairs to pluck Sedaris off the book shelf, we got to talking, and Lauren, who was an English Lit. major at St. Lawrence, rattled off a bunch of stuff while I sat there in total, utter amazement:
"Have you ever read any Margaret Atwood?"
I clutched my hands to my heart and replied, "Are you freaking kidding me?!"
My mother smiled with recognition. "Heidi's loved Margaret Atwood for years. Since high school."
"Cat's Eye is my favorite. I had to read The Edible Woman for class, and after that I was hooked."
"Oh my God. I have every Atwood book ever published except for the one that's out of print. As soon as I unpack, they're yours." I said this with some trepidation. I had just relinquished my collection of maybe 20 books, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and essays.
We also talked about Ayn Rand (someone who brought Ryan and me together several years ago), Wally Lamb, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Erica Jong, and William James. But the real kicker came towards the end of our conversation.
"You know who else I really like?" Lauren asked. "I had to read her for class, too. She's British. Jeannette Wilson? No, Winter? Winterson?"
I shrieked. "OH MY GOD. She wrote Written on the Body, which has to be one of my favorite books of all time. You can have that one, too. You have to read it."
It was nearing 10pm and both Ryan and I had completely forgotten about eating dinner. We were so engrossed in our literary discussion. And as Lauren stood up to put on her fleece and roll a cigarette, I felt like a new person in a way; refreshed and hopeful.
Lauren said it best: "How often do you recommend a book to a person who replies, 'Oh, I've already read that. And loved it. It changed my life.'?"
I have. Once.