How Books Connect the World

how-books-connect-the-world

How lucky are we as bookworms today?

At any given moment, we can jump on Amazon (or another website), buy a book, and read it seconds later. Or, if you’re a paperback purist, all you have to do is wait a couple days for shipping or take a quick trip to your local bookstore or library.

That’s all it takes. In a few seconds or a few days, you can dive into a novel’s world. You can learn about a historical event or philosophical theory. You can have a connection with an author and readers whom you may never meet, from nearly every corner of the world.

As the great Stephen King wrote: “Books are a uniquely portable form of magic.”

While perusing books on Goodreads and browsing through #bookstagram accounts, I’ve found myself in awe of these communities. Readers from all around the globe have joined together to celebrate the books they love. It’s so cool to hear other people’s thoughts on books I love, or to discover a beautiful photo of a book in an exotic location.

So, you can imagine my surprise (and delight!) when my friend sent me this photo of The Cogsmith’s Daughter. Unbeknown to me, she had taken a copy on vacation to the Cayman Islands. While reading on the beach, she found this grungy old machine and snapped a photo. Awesome, right?

It got my author brain thinking: I wonder how far the Desertera series has traveled?

A quick email to my Reader List, and I now have a decent idea. The map below shows the countries where I know readers have enjoyed The Cogsmith’s Daughter and/or The Courtesan’s Avenger. (If you don’t see your home represented, let me know in the comments – I’d love to add it!)

desertera-map

For a little-known (read: almost invisible) independent author with only two novels to my name, this map makes me really proud. My greatest joy (outside of writing, of course!) is connecting with other book lovers. To know that I’ve done exactly that on five out of seven continents stuns and humbles me.

I’ll definitely be referring back to this map as I continue writing the third book in the Desertera series. Writing is a solitary process, and sometimes I feel like I’m sending my words out into a void. But this map proves my inner critic wrong. My words are flying around the world – offering escape and entertainment to people everywhere (okay, a lot of places!).

If that isn’t a dream come true,  I don’t know what is.


Where do you call home? How have your favorite books connected you to new friends and fellow readers? Share in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “How Books Connect the World

  1. ofopinions says:

    I’m feeling really proud to see India highlighted on your map here! I’ve brought you and The Cogsmith’s Daughter up in conversation several times, and I hope word of mouth also helps!

    I am ashamed of the fact that I still haven’t read The Courtesan’s Avenger, but I’m copying the copy you sent me onto my Kindle as we speak. Really looking forward to it!

    Speaking as a blogger (as I am yet to be a published author), I am continually amazed at finding readers from the most unexpected places. And expecting the unexpected out of them. Today, I published a poem on my hair which, you know, most sane people would NOT do. But, not only did I publish it, I even expect people to read (i.e. care) about it! That’s what makes this writing thing itself a kind of magic – you never know who, from wherever, whenever is going to read something you wrote, and maybe even connect with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate M. Colby says:

      That’s so true! No matter what you blog about or enjoy reading, there are other people out there who will appreciate your unique take on the world. We’re so lucky to live in this time!

      And no worries at all about not reading TCA yet. We’re all very busy, and I have plenty of books from my author friends that I haven’t made it to yet either. It happens!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ofopinions says:

        Maybe this is a subject for an entire essay, but there’s something about our current reading culture that bothers me. I’ve seen reading challenges floating around on social media, and they often include prompts such as “read a person of colour” or “read a non-English-speaking writer”. I’ve also seen some book bloggers say they didn’t understand a book because it was based on a culture different from theirs. All this, turns me off. The whole point of reading is widening your horizon, no matter where you’re from or who you read. I could read someone from my background, or someone halfway across the world, or someone several hundred years apart, and still connect with them. Because that’s the job of the writer, to find the universal in the personal. And as readers, that’s how you learn about the world, about people, about yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kate M. Colby says:

        I think most of those challenges are created with good intentions. It’s very easy, at least in the U.S. market, to only read books written by white, English-speaking Americans. Like you say, the readers in these challenges know that reading will broaden their horizons and allow them to experience things they never would in their ordinary lives, so they’re trying to do that by actively seeking out diverse writers and books. If the writers do their job, this should be easy, but everyone has a different reading conprehension level (and while we may read about an experience, that doesn’t mean we REALLY understand it). Personally, I think diversity in publishing and reading is important, but I agree with you that any good book will increase your worldliness and empathy. If you’re passionate about it, I’d say write the article and let your readers weigh in!

        Liked by 1 person

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