Monday, June 21, 2010

Married to a Book

Investing time in a book can form a relationship with the author and characters. When I read a book cover-to-cover, I'm hearing characters' thoughts and feeling their feelings. Stephen King calls it reading the author's mind. To me, reading a book can be a lot like dating the book.

If it starts out too slow or too gruesome or too wordy, it's not going to work out in the long run. I might give it another chapter, or date. It might surprise me and I might go out on a third date. Those books would be the slow burn loves. It could start out just right, exciting, intriguing, breaking up the monotony of everyday life. Those books get read fast and are always remembered after the relationship is over.

The middle of the book is when things have cooled, but I'm completely invested in seeing it through to whatever outcome will be. Unless the book really disappoints me - my favorite character dies, for example, leaving me with no real reason to keep reading the book - I'll stick with it, even through the slow chapters that are setting up the rest of the book. Unless, of course, it's one of those books that never drags. The fast read, the not-knowing-what-time-it-is book.

Then there's the end. Every relationship ends somehow. With books, there are no more words. It can be a maudlin parting of ways or a satisfied closing of the cover. It depends on how the author finishes the story. Some books are remembered more so than others. Ideas formed during reading may make an impression that lasts longer than the plot or characters. Books influence me long after they've ended.

If only books had Life Insurance.


Cherie Reich said...

Great post! I think books do influence people long after you read them...or at least the best ones do.

Aubrie said...

I'm the same way with the beginning of books. If I can't get into it, I'll stop after the second or third chapter. Good books do influence me long after I've put them down.