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Books Bring People Together

How reading books brings people together.

Woman reading book in field during spring (Getty Images)

I’ve been an editor for more than 30 years—where did the years go? I read books for living—it’s the best job in the world as far as I’m concerned.

I’m always surprised when I meet people who struggle through a book or hated English in high school. Those are the same people who can’t believe I can’t fix anything in the house (although I buy books about home repair), hate to deal with numbers, and find sports confusing.

I can read about people who can do all the things I can’t. Although I’ve lived in New York all my life, I read about people in small towns, on farms, or in distant lands. I’ve learned to trust authors to describe life in these places as they’ve often drawn on their own experiences. I’ve worked with authors to help them create a world for the reader that is at once entertaining and informative.

What I’ve learned through the hundreds of books I’ve read and edited is that people are more alike than different. There are types of people I encounter every day whom I’ve also encountered in books.

So many women editors I meet were first captured by Jo in Little Women—a book loving, tomboy—like so many of us. I’ve seen hints of Huckleberry Finn in many grown men as well as men who strive to be Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.

I can understand people who are different from me because I’ve encountered them in books. Books change the lives of people who read them—they bring people together. It’s just one of the reasons I love being an editor.

Elizabeth Kramer Gold

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