The Book That Bonded Two Brothers

The connection between siblings goes beyond a shared childhood, Daniel Kessel reports.

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Posted in , Sep 8, 2014

Assistant Editor Dan Kessel and his brother Mark

Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

I’ve always been close with my older brother Mark, and it’s no exaggeration to say that he impacted my decision to become an editor.

When we were in high school, he often gave me books to read, novels that he loved or philosophy books he was studying in class. We’d spend hours discussing the writers he introduced me to, especially on our car rides to and from school each day.

When I went to college, I knew I wanted to study literature–largely thanks to Mark’s influence.

Now that I live and work in New York, I still feel that influence. I make it a point to attend fiction readings and book launches whenever I have the time. It’s a chance to meet other writers and editors, people who love storytelling as much as I do.

Last week, before heading back to New Jersey for Labor Day weekend, I browsed online for upcoming readings. I noticed an event with an author named Justin Taylor.

I’d never heard of him before, but the title of his first book of short stories, published in 2010, intrigued me: Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever. I jotted down the date of the reading: Tuesday, September 2, right after the long weekend.

When I made it back home later that day, the first thing I noticed when I walked through the front door was a stack of my brother’s books on the living room table. What is Mark reading these days? I wondered.

I took a closer look. The book right on top? Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever.

“How did you hear about this book?” I asked Mark when I saw him.

“Oh, I just found it at the library,” Mark said nonchalantly. He’d never heard of Justin Taylor either, he explained. But just like me, the title grabbed his attention.

Coincidence? Not in my book. Over the long weekend my brother and I took turns reading the stories in the collection, discussing our favorite ones just as we had when we were teenagers.

The book was a great–and completely unexpected–way to renew a much-missed part of our relationship, and when I attended Justin Taylor’s reading on the following Tuesday, Mark’s ideas were still fresh on my mind. Talk about perfect timing!

There’s definitely a mysterious bond that siblings share, that goes beyond being raised in the same household. How else can you account for the story of Isaac Nolting and Dakotah Zimmer, two brothers separated as infants who were drawn to each other more than a decade later?

Or the way Associate Editor Diana Aydin’s twin sisters can physically feel each other’s pain and distress?

It’s a bond that can even transcend death, as Mabel Louise Caringer of Stratford, Connecticut, discovered after her brother passed away. Clear evidence of the special connection between brothers and sisters surrounds us.

What about you? Have you and one of your siblings ever shared a Mysterious Moment? Send it to us

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