The moment he mentioned loving books on our first date, I knew we were going to be together for a long time. And when he told me to come back to his dorm room and proceeded to unveil a hidden storage container of books from his closet, I knew he was the one.

Before meeting my current partner, I had always struggled with connecting with others on a deeper level. Here’s the thing about me. I like books. Okay, that sounded kind of lame because I don’t just like books. I live and breathe books. I am what we call a Bookstagrammer and a Booktuber. My sole hobby is to devour as many books as I can to review them all over the internet.

Loving books and being a book influencer is a huge part of my identity

It takes quite a toll on my relationships with others. It’s rare that I ever meet people in my life who can keep up with my book talk or read as much as I do. And I don’t blame them.

In short, I never had someone in my life who I could connect with on a literary level.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college, on my first date with my partner. When he timidly unboxed the container filled with his favorite books, I thought it was too good to be true. Here was this handsome guy who was not only interested in me, but interested in talking about books!

You know, you can tell a lot about someone based on their book collection. He didn’t know it then, but I spent the next 5 minutes in silence analysing his reading tastes:

A lot of Young Adult literature, my specialty!
A bigggg fantasy reader so he’s probably a very imaginative thinker.
Ooooh, romance books, so he must be a hopeless romantic.

Unfamiliar with this feeling of excitement thrumming through my blood, we stayed up that whole night talking about his favorite books and how I got into book reviewing and content creating.

The next few months of our relationship flew by

They were filled with late night book talks, me forcing him to read my favorite books, and this shared love of pursuing new stories, whether it was in the form of a book, movie or a real life adventure.

Loving books had taught us that there were no limits, and we were no strangers to happily-ever-afters. He embraced my endeavors in book influencing with open arms, and decided he wanted to play an even bigger role in my life. He'd volunteer to help me take my Bookstagram photos, and was eager to make an appearance in a Booktube video where we shared all the books we read in a month. He took any book recommendation I had without hesitation and entertained my excitement for new releases and book adaptation news.

However none of that was enough to distract me from the glaring matter right around the corner. Summer break was coming at us fast, and we were going to be long distance for about four months. As someone whose love language is physical affection, I was terrified. I'd have to be apart from my partner for longer than we’d ever experienced. My past long distance relationship was riddled with heartache, and I was terrified of losing him.

Then, a thought hit me.

No, like, it literally hit me.

The Long Distance Book Club

A book fell off the top of my shelf and hit me on the head just as I was lamenting over leaving. I could achieve my happily ever after if I believed in our relationship. Just as the books I had read taught me!

Over the summer, we would start our own secret book club. Every night during our daily Facetime chats, we’d read a little bit of whatever book we decided on. Like clockwork. We discussed our thoughts and predictions. Sometimes we would even read different books and try a hand at explaining what was happening in our own books to each other.

A Storybook Ending

Prior to this relationship, I found it difficult to connect to others. Because I hid away a huge part of my identity. Finding someone who I could connect with on a deeper level than I was used to taught me to have more faith in myself and in my relationships.

Loving books was just one way of bridging the gap between my partner and I’s 1,347 miles. But it was that one thing that required us to both check-in non-romantically. It helped me feel less disconnected while away from my partner. Not to mention, it’s a fun habit that we’ve gotten into that has opened our doors to trying new things together.

I am more secure in my relationship knowing that at the end of the day, there is always going to be another story in need of devouring.

Alyx Ang