I received a call from my 24 year old son, Andrew, yesterday. He was visiting with a friend in St. Louis and while at a book store, the friend insisted he buy World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. Of course my first question was, "Does it have any words?" His response, "There aren't even any pictures." This is a standing joke as Andrew (an artist) insists the best books are graphic novels (the total sum of his book collection). He is forever trying to get me to read them. I'm holding out for Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters in a graphic novel. (Please, please, please….sigh)
Just before this conversation, I was having coffee with a friend who was lamenting the fact that people kept insisting she read books that she had no interest in. She tended to get the book and read it, even though it's torture for her. There was no way she would hurt anyone's feelings. She wanted to know how I handled this situation.
I run into this all the time because I tend to hang out in libraries and book stores along with the fact that most of my conversations with my friends are about books. Just because I would rather read than do anything else (especially cooking, cleaning, shopping), does not mean I like to read everything. They just looooved the book and now you just haaave to read it. (Of course, I may have said this once or twice, but the book I was talking about was really good)
So how do we handle the well-intentioned friend who insists you read the Divorcee's Handbook after you just served the jerk with papers or the sweetheart who tells you how great you look and then hands you a copy of Dr. Phil's weight loss book or the questionable friend who's thrilled about how happy you are and lends you her copy of Oprah's latest depressing selection.
My solution is to:
1. Say thanks (sincerely) and write down the title/author. Don't take the book, you probably won't read it anyway and they will eventually want it back.
2. Talk about their book and see if you can find some common ground and maybe pick a book you'll both enjoy.
3. Offer them a book you love that you know they'll hate and then you'll be even.
4. Just read the darn thing…who knows, you may like it.
Bottom line: Be thankful you have friends