A few of my favorite things

A couple weeks ago, I read a book where the characters were introduced by what their favorite books were. One of the characters liked “the latest John Grisham.” To me that said: white, middle-to-upper-class, reads enough to keep up with whatever the latest John Grisham is. I asked Mike if that’s what he would think as well (my views being prejudiced by library work, placing holds on books, that sort of thing) and he agreed that was the general idea he’d get about a person if he or she was introduced in that way. That’s not to say that other kinds of people can’t read those books, but it does suggest a certain something about a person. And, after learning more about that character, I was basically right. I thought it was a very clever way to introduce all the characters. (And I enjoyed the book, for the record.)

So then I started thinking, what does my favorite book say about me? I’m old-fashioned, I have a sense of humor, I like a bit of romance, I like Colin Firth . . . that’s what I would guess, but I don’t know for sure what other people think. Some people don’t care all that much for Jane Austen, so maybe they think I’m stuffy and boring for liking her. (To those people, I say, I don’t care much for John Grisham, but I was able to be objective about his readers.)

Then, you know, I was driving in my car talking on my cell phone, and I thought, “What does this say about me?” I mean, I drive a pretty . . . yuppie . . . car, don’t you think? And I’m a little blonde chick, driving this car, chatting on the phone . . . it makes me sound different than I picture myself. It makes me sound more like a sorority chick than I think I am (not that there’s anything wrong with being a sorority chick, you know, just that it’s not who I am). And then I think about some of the really sad music I listen to, Sam Phillips and Patty Griffin, and I wonder what that says about me. And what I eat for lunch (often granny smith apples and cheddar cheese), what magazines I read (Real Simple, Our State, Entertainment Weekly), the dishes that are in my cupboard (Fiestaware), the t-shirt I ordered online, and the movies I watch over and over (too many to list). What about the sports teams I like (in no particular order: UNC, Atlanta Braves, Carolina Hurricanes, Carolina Panthers), my favorite jeans (from Old Navy), those Doc Martens I defiled, the Diet Coke I drink. I like eating raw cookie dough. I prefer skim milk. I personally think you can’t beat brownies as far as dessert goes. I read more fiction than non-fiction, and I like straws. Given a choice, I use black ballpoint pens (not red, not blue).

It’s funny to me that all those different tastes and preferences make up Kari, a complex and often inconsistent person (the Diet Coke goes with the car pretty well, and the Docs with the new t-shirt, but all four of them aren’t necessarily compatible . . . kind of like me being such a sports-fan girly girl doesn’t really make sense), and yet you can tell so much (but not everything) about me just by knowing my favorite book. I am more than the sum of my inconsistent preferences, even if each of them is a little piece of me.

“I should infinitely prefer a book.” -Mary Bennet

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