Upon Reading and Change

Like most people, my social life shifted dramatically during the pandemic. I became closer to the people with whom I could interact with well online. Some in-person friendships faded. Some remote friendships became more important. In some ways, this accelerated some changes in my social life that were already underway, as I move into a new parenting bracket and more of my internal life is taken up with writing and creative ventures.

There were a couple friends whom I recently removed from my phone, as I considered what changes to make during this odd transitional phase of the pandemic. If one of those friends ever happens to see this post, I am declaring loud and clear that there was no anger in this decision, no resentment. It was just time. We live on opposite sides of the river (which in this city means a minimum of a 45-minute drive on a Sunday morning). We’ve had different professional and personal experiences. I’m not the hippest person out there, either, when you get right down to it.

The friendships weren’t nothing. There was a time in my life when I leaned on them very heavily, and I have tried over the years to repay that kindness with smaller but hopefully consistent kindnesses. It’s not wasted time or effort.

I was in a used bookstore recently (in a store! Yes, masked and vaccinated) and happened to notice a copy of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Good Squad. That’s actually a favorite book of one of these friends, as I recall from a wedding shower game years ago. (One of those odd details that sticks in your brain.)

So I bought it, and I read and admired it. Wrong time in my life for me to love that book, but if I were writing a review, I’d still give it full marks, because it’s not the book’s fault I’ve got some anxieties working at cross-purposes to the major themes of the story.

I’m glad I read it, though. It was a good way to honor the friendship that happened.

Have you ever read a book just because it was someone else’s favorite? Which book, and why? Did you talk about it with them after?

Published by Elizabeth

I alphabetize my private library.

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