Bette Hawkins’ new romance “Like a Book” finds love among the stacks

When I first started thinking about the setting for Like A Book, a library was a strangely obvious choice. I’ve been obsessed with books and reading throughout my life, leading me to spend a very nerdy amount of time hanging out in libraries. I was also drawn to the concept of a counter-intuitive setting. Libraries might not be the first thing called to people’s minds when thinking about romance and lust, and I liked the idea of a relationship developing in an unexpected place. Plus, I was confident that I’m not the only person who is attracted to a well-read woman (see the stereotype of the sexy librarian).

Almost nothing in the world has shaped me more than books. Whenever I’m wrestling with anything and want to understand it, my first instinct is to read about it. During the period when I first began to explore my difference in the pre-internet world, I went through my parents’ bookshelves in search of information about being gay. Sadly, the only thing available was an outdated textbook with a paragraph about homosexuality that didn’t give me much hope.

 

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

 

So, I searched elsewhere. Long before I ever thought of writing them myself, I stole my mother’s (heterosexual) romance novels. I can recall the realization at thirteen that I was focusing on the female half of the pairing and ignoring the male hero as much as I could.

Finding lesbian content could happen in unexpected places. For instance, in my small town’s second-hand bookstore I came across a paperback biography of the lesbian model Gia Carangi and a book about Marlene Dietrich. As I got older I discovered the world of queer literature and read everything I could get my hands on. Now that you can obtain anything you want on a device, I’m super grateful for it, but glad I also know what it was like when you couldn’t.

My affinity for literature led me to study it at university as part of an arts degree. In class, we learned about the idea of romantic friendships. The concept stayed with me until I decided to fold it into Like A Book.

These days I read two or three books a week, everything from classic literature, to romance novels, to non-fiction. I don’t care so much what it is, as long as it’s absorbing. Reading is a gift that increases our empathy, teaches us, entertains us, and can make us feel less alone. For those reasons and more, this book is my little tribute to it.

 

Like a Book comes out on August 16th and is available for pre-order now.

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