Curiosity is probably my strongest characteristic. It shows up most strongly when I meet new people. Sometimes, I meet them in person at the library or when I’m traveling. Even more often, I meet new people in books.
There is never the awkward stumbling through an initial conversation. No wondering if I’m saying something offensive or confusing while reading. The author introduces me to someone new and away I go into finding out all about them.
My curiosity leads me to ask questions, even when reading. “Why would he do that?,” will send me back through the pages to catch what I must have missed. Fictional characters’ actions are often well explained in a book. Then there are the historical books which sometimes give one view of a moment in our past. I especially enjoy histories of groups of people like Warriors in Uniform: the Legacy of American Indian Heroism by Herman Viola. It had personal stories and the history that put their stories into context. I enjoyed a lot of the pictures also.
Memoirs are a real person’s retelling of an event or life experience through an emotional lens. Will I learn about the person? Absolutely. Some personal stories are told through important messages they want to share as in Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley.
How many times have you asked a question like “Is Sam your oldest brother or cousin?” That’s done when in the presence of another person. No matter how many times we visit with that individual, we can’t keep those details straight. A good amount of credit needs to go to people who can remember all the details about a person they meet like Sherlock Holmes does or Detective Vale in The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. Yes, that one’s fiction but I’m connected to all the characters. I also ask why about actions or viewpoints and sometimes get answers from living and breathing people though this can be much easier in a book. When searching for an answer in a book, there is no consequence for rereading a page to find the answer like there might be by asking, “What’s your name again?”.
Another way to get to know people who I can’t find in our community is to read their folklore or stories based on them. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri includes the epics of India as the background. Stories set in a real location in a different time, brings the people of those parts of the world to life. Noor by Nnedi Okorafor is another science fiction novel that uses African culture as a backdrop. In it, I met Fulani herdsman which I knew nothing about before reading this fictional story.
Our Library also has some great children’s biographical picture books. The stories are true but placed in a story format. We even have graphical biographies which are wonderful fun to read.
With so many options, you could make new acquaintances every day at the library. It’s OK if you don’t remember the title or the author or the name of the character. Ask one of us and we’ll help you locate it. We love to be asked, “What is the name of the book that has the colorful cover with eyes looking out at me?” We’ll start asking you questions and very likely find your book. “Is it about a tracker?”
“Yes,” you say and we answer with the title or walk you over to find the book. By the way, that is Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James which gives us a look into African history and mythology through a fictional tale.
Curiosity is great. Keep asking questions and discovering who else is out there.