From Tracie: Book Lovers Secret Recognition Club

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Lovers Secret Recognition Club

When we are at the store or sitting in a restaurant, men will often walk by my husband and give him a knowing look. They will shake their heads and mumble numbers, or smile broadly and say, "Did you catch it Saturday?" often followed by a, "Roll Tide!"

It is as if all the sports lovers are in a secret recognition club.
They don't need introductions. They pick up in the middle of a conversation immediately, a conversation celebrating or lamenting their team's standing (this year it has been celebrating at my house). They pat each other on the back, or give a light punch in the arm.

It isn't just the Alabama fans. When he is near a fellow sports lover, Thomas will comment or ask a question about other teams he likes, or trash talk teams he doesn't like (read that: University of Florida).

The sports lovers can usually be identified by hats, shirts, or bumper stickers. Thomas isn't often without at least one of these identifying articles.
Thomas in Alabama Roll Tide Hat
But, and this is when it gets weird, sometimes there will be no outward identifying label, and they still find each other. They must give off some aura visible only to other sports lovers. Not being a member of their secret recognition club, I can't really explain it to you. But I do know that it happens.

I am a book lover. It is sort of like a secret club, but we aren't very good at the social side of it. Unlike sports lovers, us book lovers often want to be left alone with our books.
Tracie Reading A Book All Is Grace Brennan Manning
So, although I will always sneak a look at someone's book on the bus or in a waiting room, I don't often interrupt the reader to discuss the book or give them a light punch in the arm. Really, it is best to never punch someone you don't know in the arm, light or otherwise.

The most social I usually get is offering a companionable smile when my book is noticed by the fellow reader.

Readers and book lovers need shirts, hats, and bumper stickers. Identifying articles that can enable us to be readily recognized as members of the book lovers club.

Something other than the book we are probably carrying in a bag or pocket.

Just once, I want to wear a Charlotte Brontë shirt, and have someone come up to me in a store and yell, "Jane Eyre!"

I want to see someone in an L. M. Montgomery hat, and strike up a conversation about Green Gables.

So many authors belong on shirts. Brennan Manning. Jan Karon. Linda Fairstein. Francine Rivers. Maya Angelou. J. K. Rowling. Anne Lamott. Jane Austen. I could keep adding names to this list all day.

What author or books would you want on a shirt or hat to identify yourself as part of the Book Lovers Secret Recognition Club?

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This idea has been floating around in my mind for a while, and I was reminded of it the other day when Amy Sullivan wrote about the shirts at Out of Print, which are awesome. I'm pretty sure I need all of them. 

21 comments:

  1. I would want to wear a shirt that let the world know i was team JeanClaude (Laurel K. Hamilton books, ZOMGBBQ!)

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    1. I've never read any Laurel K. Hamilton. Do you have a recommendation of which one to read first?

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  2. I am so going to buy and/or make some author and book shirts now. Jasper Fforde and quotes, Neil Gaiman, Toni Morrison, Shakespeare, Fitzgerald! Book Loves, FTW!

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    1. How did I know you would say Jasper Fforde?! ;-)

      It really is a brilliant idea. It would be like walking around surrounded by books.

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    2. Toni Morrison. David Sedaris.
      Kiran

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  3. OMG, I could totally shamelessly plug for Trifecta's Tricerashops (we sell fab shirts with awesome writing quotes on them) but I won't.

    I love the analogy. I also love that we do what we do privately. Is there anything more lovely than finding out the person sitting next to you is a closet Coetzee fan? No. No, there's not.

    xx

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    1. Boom! http://www.cafepress.com/trifectawritingchallenge/9026094 Y'all have some great stuff there.

      I love that moment of connection that happens when you find out someone is reading or loves the same books and authors you do.

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  4. Oh how long has it been since I got to sit down a read a real book. I agree we need a secret code or something..

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    1. It can be tough to make the time to sit down with a book - and you have been so busy with life and a new grandbaby.

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  5. That is a brilliant idea. I'm in love with the idea of secret reading paraphernalia and shout outs!

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  6. I love this! Fellow bookworm. :)

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  7. I LOVE THIS MORE THAN CHOCOLATE! I would wear a Diana Gabaldon shirt. It would have a quote in Scots and I would love people to come up to me and ask whether I have been to the standing stones. I want this to happen!

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    1. I have never read Gabaldon, but clearly I need to!

      And yes. This is exactly what I'm talking about. We need this to happen.

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  8. Um ... maybe Dicken's Pickwick Papers? Which I found so funny.

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    1. Yes! Exactly. And the other people who felt about it the way you did will be easily recognizable.

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  9. I would wear the shirt of every author mentioned. Also Laurie Notaro and Jen Lancaster and Ian Rankin and George R.R. Martin. But have you been to this site? http://outofprintclothing.com/shop/t-shirts/womens/ WANT.

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    1. Yes. I want pretty much everything there!

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  10. We totally do deserve our own club!!! :D I could definitely go for a Lucy Maud Montgomery shirt ;)

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  11. I'd wear a Lee Smith shirt any day, but if I did it while doing boy things, like disc golf and buffalo wings, they'd probably think I meant the relief pitcher, not the dreamy author.

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