There you are, perusing the new fiction in the bookstore, the noise from the café filtering into your consciousness, heard as if from within the womb. What causes you to pluck a volume off the shelf for a closer look?
Maybe it has an engaging title or a great cover. You flip it over, feel its companionableness in your hand. You peruse the photo, skim the back copy.
Should you buy it? You don’t come into a bookstore when you’re hurried. You take your time. You’re looking for something—but what?
Entertainment? Knowledge? Illusion? Enchantment is a really intriguing idea, first brought to my attention by a certain brilliant guy who has a knack for getting to the heart of things. Recently, I had lunch with a writer friend who offered yet another idea about what a reader might want: comfort, and as a reader, the simple truth of it registered hard.
If indeed we are moving to the cash register with that book in hand, it might just be because on some level, we think it will provide just the tonic for us. Call it mother’s milk or something stronger, the writer who can provide comfort will find his or her readers lapping up every word.
Photo credits: couch, blanket and book – Zsuzsanna Kilian, sxc; baby’s grip – Adrian Yee, sxc