I am very impressionable. I am a marketing department’s dream. Put a pizza in front of me, and suddenly I’m watching my Dominos pizza tracker turn different colors. In the next moment, show me an article on the health benefits of eating clean, and I’ve already thrown away the pizza I don’t have yet and have a refrigerator full of vegetables, hemp seeds, and grass-fed beef.
So it’s no wonder that after I finish a book, I am suddenly off to research, learn about, or try whatever I discovered in that fictional world. Here is just a sampling of some of the things that books have made me do:
The Cardturner inspired me to learn to play bridge. My parents play bridge all the time with their friends. I thought it would be a nice thing I could do with them and also something that would benefit me in my older age. I thought this until I tried to learn. I’m not sure what bridge is, but it’s nothing like 21 or Hearts or Go Fish. I found learning the game of bridge to be the equivalent of trying to knit on a mechanical bull while reciting the Gettysburg Address. I was done after about 30 minutes.
Both of these books have added about ten more minutes onto my ESPN app viewing and my wasting-time internet viewing. I check basketball scores of the Patriot League and cheer them on in the NCAA tournament as if I know them because of The Last Amateurs. And I’ve gone to minor league baseball games and visited ball parks and read about where in the minors UCLA baseball players end up and what their stats are, all because of Where Nobody Knows Your Name. Unfortunately this extra research has not replaced the time I already spend on silly cat videos and scrolling through pictures of Princess Kate. The internet: Slowly Swallowing Me Up Whole.
I just finished Eleanor & Park. Yes, I know I’m late. I hate bandwagons. I do love the 80s though, and this book inspired me to bring it all back out once again. I’ve got my Smiths albums back in the iPod mix. I think I’m wearing my hair a little bigger. And the other day I matched my gym socks to my shirt.
The Eyre Affair created the character of Thursday Next, a literary Nancy Drew. So of course I was inspired to reread all my Nancy Drew books. This led me to my parents’ house and rummaging through boxes covered in dust and spiders. My precious childhood books were nowhere to be found. I think they got lost in one of our moves. So I ran out to Costco to buy the complete set. I charged through two books before something shiny distracted me and now my brand new Nancy Drew books are in some box in my garage collecting dust and spiders. (I did read all the Thursday Next novels though!)
This tale of bad dates and loser guys inspired me to try speed dating. One puffy blouse, one sex-addict, a possible arranged marriage, and a Prince look-a-like later, I was done with speed dating. Forever.
I’m not sure if it was the book or the movie (I saw the movie first), but it inspired me to buy a green scarf. I wanted to be The Girl in the Green Scarf. And so I am…on plane rides to Europe, random days at work when I need a diversion from the monotony of my life, and sometimes just when I see it hanging there in my closet. Now, if I could just have a Hugh Dancy to go with it.
What do books inspire you to do?