Occasionally I catch the train to work.
Most of the time I bury myself into my studies (time is a premium), but about two weeks ago I did see something unexpected.
Before I moved out from my parent’s place (scarily, this happened over a decade ago), I used to have access to all kinds of books. When I was in primary (elementary) school, we were once asked to count all of the books in our house. We stopped around the 3,000 mark. I was a little ashamed when I got to school the next day, knowing that we had fudged the last few hundred. I shouldn’t have worried so much; the next nearest compeditor had about 1,000 books in their house.
So I was never stuck for choice when it came to books. I had read everything by Anne McCaffery by age 12, and once I got hooked into the Discworld (through the Truckers series) I don’t think I ever stopped.
When I got into year 7 (1st year middle school) I was admonished by my English teacher because most of the books I read were “Hamburger” books. In many ways we was right, but I didn’t see it that way. I was reading above my level, and reading a lot, so what was the issue?
After many battles with various English teachers (I’ve learned a lot more about English through my other Language studies rather than pure English classes) and the ever-increasing allure with the sciences, I stopped caring so much about fantasy, and started filling up on the “real” world.
By the time I had reached University I had practically given up on reading for pleasure. I’ll admit that I got a little lazy in Uni; my grades were high enough without study that I didn’t really need to read anything. So, for many years, there was a gap in my reading.
When I started working for KS, I had started reading again.
I dropped in on my parent’s place (by now completely corwded with brik-a-brak) and started looking through the bookshelves. One title spoke to my scientist side, and I took it home with me.
Life of Pi was a fun book, but one that I probably would have never read had I read only the blurb. But the story was fun enough that I decided to keep it in my head. Shortly after, the narrative of Hanako’s path required a “real” book, so I thought I’d put Life of Pi in there, knowing that the title alone would be enough to ensnare (and embolden) people like myself.
So, back to the present, perhaps 5 years after reading Life of Pi, I see a young woman on the train, reading the book.
For a moment I was tempted to ask her why she chose that book. For me, it was win-win; either she read the book due to KS, or she just found the book on the shelf and decided to read it. In either case, I had a story to back it up.
But I decided not to approach the woman on this occasion. It felt a lot better to know that there was an ever-so-slim chance that there was a chance meeting IRL of 4LS punters. Sure, there is a great chance that she got the book from a book store without any further input, but now that moment will stay with me forever, as there was a chance that someone was reading a book because of something that I had written on a whim. And that felt good.