I’m reading Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Actually, I’m listening to it as an audio book. Yes, I listen to books. (I mostly read books, actual, real books, none of this Kindle or iPad stuff; but listening to them on cds is a good way to get through my commute to and from work.) And I checked it out from the library. Say what? Yes, the library, the public library. (You know the library, where Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw got married in NYC in the Sex and the City movie. And she even checked books out from the library too.) Because after I listen to the audio book, do I really need the cds taking up space in my shoebox of an apartment? Not really. And will I listen to it again? Probably not.
Anyway, Mindy’s pretty funny. And I feel proud of her. Why? Because she’s Indian and since I’m half Indian I have this odd sense of connection to her. She wrote and published a book. I, myself want to do that. If I saw her on the street I’d walk right up to her and say “you go girl!” And “by the way, I’m a halfie.” Really I would. I also feel this way when I hear that a Jewish person has accomplished something since I’m also half Jewish. You’ll notice other Jews doing this too. “Oh, the Weinsteins produced another movie? What such nice men. Such good Jewish boys. Good for them!” And “that Natalie Portman, what a great actress.”
Why do so many of us do this? Why do we feel like we know a person just because they share the same religion as us or the same ethnic heritage? I don’t know why. But I know we all do it. Probably, because that’s how you feel connected to others in this world. The similarities we share are what make it so much more meaningful to hear that an author came out with a new book and that author happened to go to your mom’s same high school. Even my 83 year-old, Indian grandma calls to tell me about Indian people doing interesting things: “you know that the girl who won Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, is Indian, right?” My grandma has even gone so far as to adopt Sonia Gandhi as an honorary Indian—hey so has the whole country of India—because Sonia, born in Italy, married former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi.
Back to Mindy. If she can write a book like Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and get it published and have people actually read it/listen to it, then I think people will want to read my book too. I’m writing a memoir about my dad. I can’t wait until it’s finished and find out that someone’s writing a blog about how they just read it and that they liked it too! Now I know there’s such thing as good karma for writers—meaning if you want people to buy your book then you’d better be buying other authors’ books too. Which for me means, I’ll buy Mindy’s book, I won’t let my listening to it from the library be the end of it; I’ll buy it and give it to someone as a gift and spread the words of a really funny Indian girl (she writes for the show the Office, you know). Here’s hoping that same practice will be done for me once my book is finished, bound, published and sold in book stores and online.
While I’m on this topic, let’s all say a silent prayer that book stores will still be alive and well in the coming years. I need there to be book stores. And if you think about it, you do too. Don’t you love that feeling of walking into a book store and seeing all the possibilities of things you could read? Opening a book for the first time is the best— those crisp pages, that pristine cover, the words you haven’t read yet…it can be magical if you find the right book. But if the book stores all close then you won’t be able to do that, or get your coffee, or skulk around the aisles until you pick up some girl or guy. I know people do this; I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve gotten off track, back to books. Yes, back to books and bookstores. Please keep them in your thoughts.