I work in a bookstore but I don't read fiction. Or at least I didn't until quite recently. I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the world of fiction reading thanks to the relentless efforts of one of my managers. Some months ago, this manager, who runs the Fiction department, decided he wanted to start a book club at the store and wanted me to help him run it.
"But I don't read fiction," I said.
"It doesn't matter. We can choose any books we want to discuss." He stands there with his hand on his hip waving his finger at me, "It's our book club."
And so, I got drawn into hosting a book club. We've read a number of books since the club's inception. And whenever a fiction title is chosen, I try to squirm my way out of it. "I don't read fiction," I tell my manager.
"Doesn't matter. You're still going to attend," he says. Again, with his hand on his hip. And once again, I defer. I don't even know why I'm so easily persuaded by him. Something about his Napoleonic stance casts a spell on me. And so, every month I get drawn into cracking open a book I never thought I'd read. And so, now I'm reading fiction.
This month, the book club choice is another work of fiction, Fault Lines by Nancy Huston, by the way. I'll post another entry about my experience with the book once I've integrated it more fully. I fought reading it. For a whole month, I played the I don't read fiction dance in my head. Why do I put up so much resistance?
And then, not wanting to have to tell the group I didn't even attempt to read the book, or worse, having to bluff my way through the meeting as if I've read the book, which I've done once already, I decided to give the book a go. I knew nothing of its story. I just figured I'd give it a few pages, decide I hate it and then feel completely justified telling the group that I tried.
And then, something happened.
The pages seemed to be turning themselves. I couldn't stop reading. I read all evening, late into the night, got up this morning and finished the book. I read it and I loved it. Loved it. Aside from the works of Paulo Coelho, kids books and the stuff I read in High School, I can't say I've loved a fiction work. But here I was loving this book. Huh.
I wonder what other stuff I can love that I didn't know I could love.