A SAL Love Story: Dana & John

Forget Tinder—from friendships to loveships, SAL’s been bringing folks together for almost thirty years now through good books and good conversation. That why, this Valentine’s Day, we’re featuring one couple – Dana Bettinger and John Jacobs – who have been long-time friends of SAL. We asked them to share their SAL love story, including what role reading plays in their relationship, what events they attend, and how SAL even had a small part in their wedding plans. (Plus, they sent photos of the most gorgeous blue wedding dress you’ll ever see!)

1) How did you and your husband, John, meet?

John and I met on a Saturday night, at a birthday party for our mutual friend, Rachel. I knew very few people other than the host, and John originally had other plans for that night—so he nearly didn’t come to the party! We definitely had an immediate connection: the next day, both of us independently contacted Rachel and inquired about each other. Our first date (take-out Thai food at my house) was the following Monday, and we’ve pretty much been together ever since.

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2) You first got involved with SAL on a deeper level because of your wedding plans—tell me a little about that! How did that come about?

I’m a long-time SAL Literary Series subscriber, having attended with my friend for many years. When I started dating John, he would join me occasionally (if she had a conflict and couldn’t attend), and then decided that he wanted to be a part of the series for the following year. We had never attended the Words Matter Gala until two years ago, when we thought it would be a fun way to support an organization we value, while also attending a fancy event at Sodo Park, where we had already committed to having our wedding a few months later!

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3) What role does reading play in your relationship? Do you share books, talk about books? Attend SAL events together?

We are both regular readers, although we read quite differently! We do sometimes pass along books that we really enjoy to the other person, but that doesn’t always work out as one might imagine—largely because what really grabs one of us isn’t necessarily what interests the other. John has been on a long-standing Terry Pratchett kick for a while now, and I’ve been reading a mix of contemporary fiction, memoir, and social-justice-oriented non-fiction. We will read aloud a particularly interesting or humorous excerpt from a current book, or stick it in front of the other person’s face with a, “Here, you have to read these three paragraphs!”

We do still attend the SAL Literary Series together—Ann Patchett was a real favorite for both of us, and although we’ll likely have an 8-week old baby by the time it rolls around, I am really hoping that we make it to hear Bryan Stevenson in late March. (I’ve heard him speak before, and he’s excellent.)

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Thank you, Dana and John, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Photos courtesy of Karen Obrist Photography.)

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