Recently I have had some interesting experiences with books and people.  It made me wish that I had a coffee table to put books on, well almost!

Recently I was in Caribou Coffee waiting for my son to complete his work in the church nursery.  I was reading Serving with Eyes Wide Open by David Livermore and was just about done.  I had another book by him, Cultural Intelligence, that I put on the coffee table in front of me.  It was not long before a slightly older gentlemen sat down across the coffee table from me.  I could tell that he was eyeing my book on the coffee table and it was one of those nights that I really didn’t want to talk to a stranger and so I kept my eyes directly on the book in my hands – at least I thought I did.  I took a slight break and the gentleman across the table caught my attention and started talking.  The conversation went something like this;

“I like the title of your book.  I do a quite a lot of traveling and having a book like this would be helpful.”

“You can look at the book.”  He picked up the book, but didn’t really look at it at first.  He kept talking.

“I am a designer and have worked in a lot of different places.”  At this point I heard quite a bit about his life, work and travels.  After a few minutes, he returned to the book and began to ask questions about it.  It is rather difficult to answer questions about a book that one has not read – at least not at that point.  As he began to flip through the book he saw some references to the church.  At this point the conversation shifted from general comments about life and work to religion.

“I am not a religious person, but I think it is important.”

That comment just boggled my mind and as I began to formulate a question to ask, he continued on, “I am in a book club, maybe this would be a good book for us to read.”

“Yes it might be.  I like the first book he wrote which I am just about to finish. ”

“Maybe” he says as he is writing down the title and author of the book in his hands.

We talk for a few more minutes about culture and traveling and Americans who travel.  He then puts the book back on the coffee table and  gets up.

“Thanks for talking with me.  I enjoyed our conversation.”

I am glad he did enjoy it.  I didn’t feel like we talked about any thing significant, but God planted some seeds.  I have wanted to run into him again to see if he did read the book – but so far that hasn’t happened.

Another conversation about books was while I was at a doctor’s appointment.  I had been listening to a radio program on the drive there about the shift in American thinking and some of the causes.  The speaker listed three books to read for more details.  With those books still on my mind as I went into my appointment and my mind still thinking about the talk, I made it through the small talk and then said

“Have you ever read The closing of the American Mind?”  I was looking for a short book review if he had.

“Funny you should mention that book.  It is on my shelf to read.  I have wanted to read it for a long time.  My dad gave me that book and I have never read it.  Why?”

“I was listening to a speaker and he mentioned that book and two others that everyone should read to understand the times we are living in.”

“Let’s read the book together and discuss it when you come in.”

While I do see this doctor weekly, at least for now.  It won’t be that way for much longer, at least I hope.  I wasn’t looking for more to put on my plate – it is pretty full already.  However after a bit more conversation, we agreed to read the book together.  I finally got my copy in the mail and we will be starting this week

Books can be amazing conversation starters.  Maybe a coffee table would be useful.