Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The joys of a good book

Sometimes I meet a book that so thoroughly demands my attention, everything else becomes peripheral to the immediate need to read. So baths, work, and all other responsibilities become secondary to this imperative of finishing this really good book.

 I found that in David Nicholls' 'Us'. Everything about this novel has left me gratified. Like a life-fulfilling achievement. The emotions are so very human and accessible. The writing is so calm and yet heart-tugging. The vocabulary so expansive and exact. I had to force myself to bathe and eat and go to work and complete my other chores (and, yes, they felt like laborious, unnecessary chores).

I had to remind myself that these other tasks don't just complete themselves. That I'm not 12 anymore, in that blissful age where I could just sit and read for hours undisturbed. I'm a big girl now. There are responsibilities to tend to. Adults don't get away with that sort of thing. There are repercussions for irresponsibility. 

In short, I had to be to myself what my mother was to me when I was 12 with my nose stuck in a good read. There were the dishes to wash, or my room to tidy or the yard to rake, or school to get ready for, or dinner to eat, or bed to go to. And where was I? Lost in some literary Neverland.

It's a pity I can't do that now! I mean, I could. But there would be consequences. So I cram everything else around lengthy reading spells. Until the last page, my life just kind of happens around the book.

And when the book is finished? Oh, I don't know. Finishing a good book is like parting with a dear friend. You love this person. You hate to see them go, but it's time. And the euphoria never lasts long enough.

If you're a writer, please write good books. I can't tell you how you're blessing the world with that gift. Some little nerd-girl is waiting for you to give her something to bury her head into. Give her a reason to forsake the mundane and get lost in the fantastic.

Some grown woman is looking for an excuse for temporary irresponsibility. And temporary insanity. (You know that look people give you when you burst out laughing at a joke in the book that you don't want to share? Like you're crazy?).

So write good books. Please. 

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