Not too long ago, I read a letter in which a young woman recorded the hour of the day when she would be reading a certain book, in hopes that her correspondent would read the same book at the same time, and a communion would be established between them across distance. It would make a great anecdote for an essay I’m trying to write—but I can’t remember where I read the letter! Does it ring a bell for anyone? My hazy memory is that the writer of the letter was English, though she might have been American, and that she was writing in the 18th or 19th century. She may have been writing to her sister or mother rather than to a friend.
Google hasn’t been much help, because all the search terms I’m looking for (“letter,” “same time,” “book”) are too common. Also, as I remember, the letter itself was a little hermetic about what was going on, and it was an editor’s annotation that made it clear what the young woman was up to. Through Google I did find a 1793 letter from Maria Edgeworth, in which Edgeworth seems to have been making fun of the notion of making “a bargain with anyone I loved, to read the same book with them at the same hour,” so I suspect that this particular kind of bibliomancy was a thing. If anyone knows of any scholarly discussion of the practice, please send that my way, too, because I’m coming up empty-handed in Jstor.