I admit that I a get sucked in by the titles of books. The pictures help too, but it’s usually the titles that really grab me. It must take authors weeks or months to find the perfect 3-4 words that will embody the essence of their book. Or maybe the title is where they begin. For me, it is the first words of worlds I have yet to know.

I’m been succumbed and sucker punched by titles like Good In Bed. I will even admit that carrying that book through airports across the country made me a bit squirmish at times and at other times I felt like holding the book upright at the precise angle that passerby’s could read and stare.

Last week I added another eye-catching title to the bookcase. Real Sex. Now before you go thinking that I’m sex crazed, realize that the subtitle is The Naked Truth About Chastity. There, sucker punched.

Kristin seems to be my new cultural advisor. We were standing in a smoke filled concert when she told me she was going to see an author speak in Charlottesville who wrote a memoir called Girl Meets God. I freaked. I began screaming and saying that Lauren Winner was one of my favorite authors and OH MY GOD. I then invited myself along. Upon meeting this author and her signing my book, Real Sex, I told her that the book was for me. A pregnant pause later, she asked me what my name was. Duh.

Tonight went a little different. I had planned to go to bed early when Kristin phoned to nag and beg (kindly and with no pressure) to go to a reading in town by an author who wrote about the Sudan. After an afternoon catnap, I lazily let her pick me up and we went. The talk was eye opening and heart grabbing. The author talked about his involvement with Sudanese refugees in Atlanta and his work in journalism which led to this book, The Lost Boys of Sudan. It was another title to suck me in.

Then a “lost boy” got up to speak and the thing that grabbed me, that resonated in his story, aside from his escape at 5 years old through a jungle with no parents or family, was that he did not know his birthday. It is something we Americans hold dear, even if we do not realize it. It is the one thing that tells us that our lives are real. It gives us something tangible, a date. When I realized that this lost boy did know his own true age, I wanted to cry. Of course we’ve heard about Sudan, but for some reason, America has not latched onto it as a cause.

My cultural advisor friend then had the brilliant idea of asking the author and the “lost boy” to dinner. They declined the dinner but accepted desert. So, at desert with this author and this Sudanese boy I felt like a little girl who was not smart enough to talk at the grown-up table. I felt both awed and ashamed, of all that I have, of all that I take for granted, and of all that I’ve ever wanted because for the lost boy who sat across from me, the greatest thing he could ever wish for is what I was handed with no requests; freedom, an education, the pursuit of happiness.

And when I got out of Kristin’s car, the last thing I said was “I know we’re both blogging this.” So, go see what she says about it.

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