My brother and I do a lot of things together: we brunch together, we laugh together, we juice together, we sing together, heck, we even live together! But there was one thing that we weren’t doing together that was really eating at me…we weren’t reading together! One time, long ago when we were worlds apart (he in New York, and I in Western Massachusetts), we tried reading the same book but it just didn’t happen. Maybe it was the book (no, I don’t actually believe that), or maybe it was the timing (that’s a more likely the reason), but nonetheless, I was left feeling defeated.
Fast forward three years to a few weeks ago, and David and I were trying to browse the Strand. Amidst the chaos of a typical Saturday afternoon, I managed to glance down and catch a glimpse of Goodbye Columbus’ attractive new cover. It all happened so quickly that I don’t remember how we managed to
reinstitute initiate our sibling book club, but it happened and I’m glad. Having already had our discussion, I can confidently say that there was no better book to be our first. My brother and I share a sense of humor, thoughts on” isms,” and countless neurosis, so you can see why Goodbye Columbus was a natural fit.
With an array of novellas, each indulged our sensibilities and provided lots of fodder for discussion. Last Saturday David and I parked it at Irving Coffee and commenced our discussion, pens in hand. One of the foreseeable issues with reading the same book—at the same time—is that it’s hard to keep your thoughts to yourself. All of which is only further complicated when you’re not at the same point. This is to say that before reading Goodbye Columbus, David and I agreed that we would keep all of our shit to ourselves, but this ended pretty quickly, and I think I may have started it. Sometimes I would burst into his room, or he would approach me at the kitchen table, and we would share our favorite lines—it’s like we couldn’t help ourselves. But alas, each of those conversations was cut short by one of us saying, “I’m not there yet!” Or, “I thought we were waiting!” Luckily, there was still plenty to discuss when we sat down on that fateful, gloomy Saturday afternoon.
While I initially thought that talking about the book while reading it would ruin things, it didn’t. When David and I sat down, there were so many motifs, thoughts, and funny bits that could only be appreciated after reading the whole thing. Now, I could go into great detail about what we we discussed, but that’s not the point of this post. This isn’t English class, and neither was the discussion that David and I had. I do think that we had a healthy and thoughtful conversation, each adding ideas and expanding on the ones that had already been shared—that part was all great. But what I think I appreciated most was the simple nature of the interaction between us, two siblings. It’s, dare I say, heartwarming that after all that we do together, this is one more thing to add to the list.