|Hemingway's studio at his house in Key West, Florida|
When I choose books, I usually read the jacket and sometimes, the first few pages to see if I get hooked. I gravitate towards names, cities, or events that I consider somewhat meaningful (I guess because I secretly wish to be linked to the story). When this happens, I believe it’s a serendipitous find. It’s a Eureka moment, I tell myself, “I must have this book!”I’ll give you a couple of examples. I read The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak, and I fell in love with two paradoxical characters that were not only beautifully developed but intriguing as well. I empathized with Asya, the rebellious and non-conformist daughter of a tattoo parlor owner. I envisioned myself being on the streets of Istanbul again as I read the rich description of the city. This was the same case with Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, a book that I couldn’t put down (literally!). I read this book in 1998 and I still remember some scenes and characters.
Last summer while browsing the sidewalk sales (commonly known in Montreal as vente de trottoir), I came across a book titled, Claudia. I flipped the pages to see if this was a serendipitous find or just “another” book on the sales table. Well, I was thrilled when I discovered one of the characters was born in the same month and year as me. The main character has lived and visited the same cities/countries I have, and even the cover of the book it’s meaningful to me. I bought it! How could I leave it behind? It was only $1.00 and it was in mint condition. I’m reading it now and so far, I’m enjoying it. Let’s see if I change my mind once I finish it.Have you found books you regard as a serendipitous find? Have you come across books that you consider “a must have”?