Books have a strange way of ending up on my shelf. There are writers I like and genres I enjoy, but those two elements aren’t at the core of what decides whether a book comes home with me. Instead of letting the mass market machine choose everything I read, I rely on something much more unconventional: The Book Vibe.
Books are quite a bit like people. They have personalities, distinct voices, and a story to tell. Second hand books in particular have a history that often includes some pretty heavy baggage. With their covers cracked and worn they remind me of an old man I often see sitting in the back corner at my favorite coffee shop. I wonder where he’s been what he’s seen in his long life. For some reason, he always stands out amid the throngs of other people that come and go. A lone book in a sea of thousands grabs my attention in much the same way.
Sometimes a book will catch my eye because the cover is bent in a strange way or the name of the author sounds like someone I’d like to know. The pull is so strong, I can’t resist for fear I’ll never see it again. Books aren’t just something to read as each one is an experience that often changes my perspective. When they call out to me, I simply must listen.
Touch creates an even stronger connection. While hovering over a bargain table or scanning a shelf above my head, I’ll run my fingertips over the binding of each book. A combination of chance and fate ignite a little jolt that travels all the way up my arm. The sensation tingles at first and then explodes into an instinctive surge. Before I know it the book is off the shelf and in my hands. The cover is open and I start reading straight away. We get acquainted so quickly its as if we’ve been friends for far longer than a few seconds.
I’m well aware that this is all probably in my head and that’s fine. Books are a personal experience, which makes how I find them a wholly individual process. I’m also inclined to argue that my book vibe is never wrong. It works in my local bookshop as well as it does in Prague or Shanghai. Given its stellar track record, I trust the vibe over a bestseller’s list any day.
The Book Vibe is just one more reason why people tend to classify me in the weird category, but I’d rather be an oddity than be closed off to any sort of possibility. Fate always pushes us towards exactly what we need. Whether it be a book, a person, or a place, there is a reason behind every encounter.
Below is a list of selected books I’ve discovered with The Book Vibe. Each one has a story and I thought I’d share how we got together. I have a relationship with every book I read, for I’ve found they are incredibly loyal friends that are always very wise.