Have you read Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages? It’s one of my most frequently recommended books, and its premise is one that I think about often. Even if you haven’t read the book, you are likely familiar with Chapman’s message, that each of us demonstrates and receives love through one of five unique languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. (You can take this test to learn your language, if you don’t know it.)
My own love language is Words of Affirmation, though I sometimes joke with Luke that flowers and jewelry are the best ways for him to show me love. All joking aside, I’ve been thinking lately about the possibility of a sixth love language: the language of Books.
There is nothing that makes me feel more appreciated or deeply recognized than a heartfelt book recommendation. When a friend or family member shares a book that reminded them of me, my love tank is filled because I know how much thought and intentionality went into such a recommendation. Not only did the book bring me to their mind, but the reader knew my tastes or my circumstances well enough to recognize the book as one I would enjoy, or whose messages would be pertinent to my current life. The additional step of then sharing those thoughts speaks volumes.
I have found that I demonstrate my own love through books as well. My reading experiences frequently evoke the faces of specific loved ones, and by sharing these books with them I am able to express how much I care. When I give books as gifts, those books are selected with the deepest love and thoughtfulness.
There are other ways in which love can be shared through books. Reading aloud to me was one of my parents’ most precious demonstrations of love, and shared reading it now one of my favorite ways to bond with Charlie. Luke and I fell in love over afternoons spent reading C.S. Lewis together at our local Starbucks. I even demonstrate self-love by choosing books for myself to read at just the right time.
For those less enthralled with books and reading, the idea of a literary love language might seem strange. But for me, books are a cherished and very personal thing, and I can think of few ways I would prefer to give and receive love. How about you—have you ever expressed love through books?