Why settle for dinner and a movie when you could be having a literary adventure?
Books challenge us to step out of everyday life. We visit the jungles of equatorial Africa or explore distant galaxies. We live for a while as a castaway or a pirate or a wizard-in-training. Why stick to local dating when stories can transport us to magical realms where our experiences are limited only by the author’s imagination?
To readers, a traditional date seems pretty ho-hum. Dinner at the Italian place – oh, great. A movie? OK, whatever. Yawn.
When you and your partner are book lovers, there’s no need to settle for humdrum dating. Get your imagination involved. Yield yourself up to the sensual pleasure of well-cast words. Go ahead, incorporate your love of books in your date and you’ll see why literary lovin’ is the best kind. Here are some ideas to get you started!
1. Attend a Reading
A reading is the literary equivalent of a live concert – but it’s usually more intimate and personal. A writer appears on stage without back-up singers or a band. Using the power of imagination alone, a power captured in words, the writer wraps the audience in a spell.
The writer’s latest works are usually on sale at the venue, or you can bring your much-loved, dog-eared copy with you and have it signed. You can meet your literary heroes at readings, and if you stick around you’ll have a chance to ask questions or tell them how much their work has meant to you.
2. Explore a Bookstore
If you find yourself with a weekend afternoon to kill, seek out a bookstore. Not a chain store in a mall, but a real bookstore: one of those ancient neighborhood shops with an eccentric owner and a cat or two. You and your date can drift through the shelves separately, touching base now and then to share what you’ve found.
The rules tend to be lax at such shops, and the armchairs comfortable. Make yourself comfortable and read the first chapters of a half-dozen books as the afternoon slowly passes. Maybe the owner will bring you a cup of tea or share some of his favorite rare books.
What, honestly, is a better way to spend a weekend day?
3. People Watching…With a Twist
Here’s a fun game. Get comfortable at a table outdoors or near a window – somewhere you can see people passing by. Take turns assigning literary roles to passersby:
“Look there – the bald man with the newspaper? It’s Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka.”
“At the shop across the street…I think that’s Kurtz from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.”
“Don’t look now, but I think our bartender is Lisbeth Salander.”
This game is fun in its own right, but you can crank it up a notch by turning it into a drinking game. Why not?
4. Walk the Walk
It’s fun to visit literary sites. You can tour Hawthorne’s house of the seven gables on your next trip to Boston – it’s in nearby Salem. Walk the streets of New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood and visit restaurants and pubs favored by Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger, and the Beat poets. In New Orleans, you can visit all the neighborhoods mentioned by Anne Rice in Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat.
Dig around a little and discover the literary history of your home town or the city you’re visiting. You can visit an author’s home or walk the streets mentioned in your favorite books. Either way, it’s a great way to bring books to life.
5. Have a Book Party
There are lots of ways to incorporate your love of books in entertaining. One of the best is to host a costume party, which each guest appearing as a character from a story or novel. Everyone enjoys putting together a costume with clues for the other guests to guess their identity.
Or you could play a game in which one player answers a series of yes-or-no questions on a literary theme. The player wins if no one guesses the book or author or character after 20 questions.
6. A Quiet Evening at Home
Book lovers know you don’t have to go out to have a good time. Light a fire, spread a thick blanket over the couch, and cuddle together for some quality time with your books. There’s no need to speak. You can open a bottle of wine or make a batch of popcorn. Why not both?