A few days ago I received a thoughtful crit from my friend and fellow blogger, C. Garcia-Sanchez. I have never met Garce, but we've had long, deep email conversations -- the sort of conversations one normally gets into around two in the morning after you've drunk most of a bottle of vodka. Although our lives have been radically different, and our approaches to writing could hardly be less similar, I still think that we are kindred spirits.
Anyway, I had asked him to read my current WIP, a science fiction M/M erotic romance. He's even more of a scifi fan than I am and I knew he'd offer some great insights on what was and was not working in my fictional world, a near-future dystopia in which persecution of gay men has risen to new heights. I was not disappointed.
" Let me pontificate annoyingly about sci fi for a second," he began. "Just roll your eyes and indulge me because I don't get to talk about these wonderful things very often and I may accidentally say something useful in my kitchen sink rambling."
Then he began making distinctions between hard and soft sci fi, invoking Michael Crichton and Ray Bradbury and triggering all sorts of recollections of books that I'd read and that I wanted to bring to the discussion.
I started to write a response, my mind crowded with Kate Wilhelm, Sherri S. Tepper, James Tiptree, and all the other authors I planned to mention. I realized suddenly that I was incredibly excited by this interaction. The thrill of sharing books and the ideas behind them was not all that different from sexual arousal. Not that I had the physical reactions, of course, but I understood that I was in the grip of "book lust". And I knew that Garce felt it too.
I've always loved to read. As a shy child and teenager, I'd disappear into the worlds of my books for hours at a time. Even when I emerged, to do the dishes or my homework, my mind still wandered through Middle Earth, or Holmes' London, or the dank corridors of Chateau D'If. Back then, however, reading was a solitary activity (though I adored writing term papers in literature class, having the opportunity to dig really deeply into an author's work and then try to articulate my insights -- even if only to the teacher).
Now that I am an author and a reviewer, I have more opportunities to share my views of books with others. Unfortunately it's often a one-sided conversation. Right now I'm halfway through one of the most intriguing and enjoyable books I've read in quite a while: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, by Gordon Dalquist. I normally read in bed, after the day's work is done. I've been staying up 'way past my normal bedtime (and paying the price the next day), entranced by this 750 plus page opus. I'm loving every minute but already preparing myself for the inevitable let-down when there are no more pages to turn.
Yes, once again, I'm seriously in the grip of book lust. And I'm suddenly inspired to actually make use of that Goodreads account I created but have never really explored. I'm a bit worried though, that it might become addictive.
I've felt this sort of excitement all my life -- I just never labeled it before. I suppose there's nothing wrong with book lust. It presumably won't get me arrested, or pregnant. Still, I wonder whether, like all sorts of desire, it might not be a bit dangerous...