by Rachel Dodge
Finding Kindred Spirits
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
I received this text from a dear friend who joined my family for dinner recently. She doesn’t have a family of her own to share meals with and her message reminded me to value something I typically take for granted. I’m fortunate to have nightly meals with my husband and two children. Around the table, we talk about our days, sometimes laughing, other times commiserating, but always sharing our lives together. While these meal times meet our physical needs, this table fellowship also meets our emotional and spiritual needs.Gathering around books has always been a natural and necessary part of my life. When I was little, my father read the newspaper to me after work while my mother cooked dinner. Before nap time, during long car rides, in doctor’s waiting room–even in the middle of the night with the chicken pox–my mother read whole books to us. Everywhere we went, she kept a book (usually atattered copy of one of Laura Ingalls’ Little House on the Prairie books) tucked under her arm. It didn’t matter where we’d left off last; she just opened the book and start reading.
I supposed you could say we were the original read-aloudrevival family!
As I got older, my parents and brother and I continued to read out loud, swap books, and talk about literature around the dinner table and everywhere else, but I rarely found other people who liked reading as much as I did—and certainly not the sweet, old-fashioned books I enjoyed. At school, I was the one with my nose in a book, the one who loved to dress up as favorite literary characters, the one who liked the “olden days.” In high school and college, I was the reader, the writer, and the English major. Everywhere I went, I always kept eyes peeled for “kindred spirits”—those who shared my love for beautiful books, charming characters, and heart-warming stories.
Perhaps that’s why I find it so enchanting to have found so many kindred spirits, in recent years, who love to gather online to talk about books. I kind of feel like Anne Shirley when she said, “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” (Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery)
I used to think I just needed to grow up and let go of my quaint ideas about life and literature, but now I know that I just needed to find my people.
Thanks to the ability to gather online to discuss books, I now know I’m not the only one who loves old books and old-fashioned things. Other people love to read treasured classics over and over again, too! In fact, I found out that many people read for comfort, are “mood” readers like me, and love to discuss favorite books. Best of all, many of my bookish friends are also sisters in Christ, which means we get to fellowship together . . . and talk about books!
For those looking for ways to gather with others and foster genuine community around books, I think the best place to start is a buddy read (or group read-along). I’ll never forget readingLes Misérables in 2020 with a group of women from all around the world. That experience was epic in so many ways! I could have never slogged through it alone, but with my faithful reading buddies beside me, I knew I couldn’t give up. I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite books now, but I don’t know if I love Les Mis because it’s so good or because I have so many great memories attached to it. Gathering online like that for over six months was about so much more than just the challenge and victory of reading a really, really long novel; it was about grasping hands with other women across continents when the world was shut down and life was filled with heartache and unknowns.
‘Reading together creates community and friendship. It’s a way for women to connect with other women and do something that nourishes the mind and the soul. It’s a valuable investment for those who find deep connection with others through shared reading experiences.Rachel Dodge
Since that first buddy read, I’ve continued to bond with awonderful group of bookish friends online. I’ve participated in buddy reads, launch teams, giveaways, and group chats. Many of the women I’ve met online have become my sister-friends and prayer partners. I have even met some them in person while traveling for vacations, events, and conferences!
Best of all, as an author of classics based devotional books, I also have the unique privilege of writing books that provide a space for women to gather together to talk about their favorite books and grow in their faith. I can’t imagine a more wonderful thing!
Books have provided a gathering place for me my whole life, and I’m so thankful. I honestly can’t imagine a life without books—or my bookish friends.
About the Author: Rachel Dodge is the bestselling author of The Anne of Green Gables Devotional, The Little Women Devotional, and Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Rachel’s newest book is The Secret Garden Devotional! Rachel teaches college English classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and book clubs, and writes for the popular Jane Austen’s World blog. A true kindred spirit at heart, Rachel enjoys books, bonnets, and ball gowns. You can find her online at www.RachelDodge.com.
I hope you have enjoyed this encouraging story from my friend Rachel. To make things even more exciting Rachel and I are so excited to partner for a Kindred Spirits Giveaway just in time for Galentine’s Day! Visit both of our IG communities and find how to enter there! Rachel’s IG