Change is constant, and so is our understanding of the world around us. Back when I was a kid the official distinction between humans and animals was tool usage–we were taught so in school. This “fact” since has been proven wrong, and we know that a whole bunch of animals make and use tools. (The doctrine about all life on earth requiring sunlight has also flown out the window since those days.)
The impulse to justify our spot on top of the evolutionary pile has since came up with more elaborate explanations. I have a simple one: telling stories. Sure, animals communicate with each other in many ways; bees can pass on complex information by shaking their rear ends. But not even the smartest bonobos sit around a campfire at night and tell each other ghost stories.
So what is the big deal about these made-up stories we love so much? Everything.
I spent most of my child- and young adulthood in a myriads of book-induced fantasy worlds. I had a hard time accept endings, so I kept spinning the stories in my head. A lot like fan fiction, but without the pesky part of writing them down. They are all gone now, and it’s probably for the best.
But fiction is more than just brain-candy. All I know about history I’ve learned from books, movies, and Ken Burns documentaries. School history lessons went in one ear and stayed until the next exam before exiting through the other. I retained more even of my math lessons. History is far more exciting when the events happen to people we root for, even if they’re entirely made-up. Or real, in case of those Ken Burns documentaries, because even real people can have interesting stories.
Books can entertain or educate, but their greatest power lays in nurturing empathy. When you regularly slip into the skins of others unlike you, it’s effects bound to filter back to your own life. When a romance reader accidentally picks up a gay romance, she (or he) might realize that boys loving boys or girls loving girls is not “icky” after all. A story that gets its hooks into you more effective than a slew of public service announcements.
I know my understanding of the world widened immeasurably thanks to books, and they made me reflect on subjects that wouldn’t have normally crossed my sphere. They also taught me to think for myself. Bigotry and prejudice breed from ignorance and the blind acceptance of what we are told by authority figures. The right story can cut through their bullshit faster than hot knife through butter.
So not surprisingly, I’m horrified when someone admits to not reading, especially when they seem to brag about it. I consider it a major character flaw. I feel like saying something similarly scandalous. “Dude, I haven’t taken a shower in a week!” Nah, who am I kidding? It doesn’t even compare.
To conclude my ramblings: We all NEED stories!
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About Lou Harper
Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives.
Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.
Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.
Their love is an explosive cocktail—stirred, shaken, and served with a twist.
Secrets, Book 4
Teag and Bruce dream of opening their own bars, but that’s where the similarities end.
Teag, a popular bartender at West Hollywood’s hottest club, is willful, opinionated, and likes to take charge. He envisions his future bar as a boozy oasis for craft cocktails. Unfortunately, while he’s big on ideas, he’s short on funds.
Bruce, on the other hand, is a tower of pirate-tattooed muscle with a laid-back attitude. While he’s good with people, he’s a walking paradox—a wannabe boss with a weakness for bossy men.
Their partnership is a natural fit, but every time they meet, sparks fly as they rub each other the wrong way. Or is it the right way? In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to tell.
Between renovation pitfalls, meddling friends, and miles of police tape, Teag and Bruce struggle to keep their venture—and their budding relationship—from going up in flames. And not the good kind. More like the one on the top of a B52 shot.
Warning: Contains a whipcord-lean and whip-smart bartender who knows what he wants—and how hard he wants it—and a go-with-the-flow bar manager who secretly likes to be told how hard to give it.