What is that thing? That thing some books do.
You know what I mean. You can’t put your finger on it. It goes beyond beautiful prose, engaging characters, and fascinating plot lines. It’s the difference between liking a book and LOVING a book. That thing that gets your heart racing, adrenaline surging, arms shaking as you hold it to your nose at three in the morning. That thing that make you want to flip to page one and start again as soon as you read the last page.
I just finished a book I really liked. I’d recommend it to anyone, but it didn’t have “that thing.” So it made me wonder—what is it?
Is it a connection with the main character? Is it that sense that I’m walking in their shoes, feeling every breath, step, and ache. That somehow I’m a part of them and they’re a part of me. And from now on there will always be that connection.
Is it a setting that makes me feel like I’ve been whisked away? When I look up from the pages I’m disappointed to see that I’m still in my living room. A place so vivid, I can fool myself into believing I’ve really been there.
Is it a plot that keeps my heart pummelling my intercostals with every chase, every revelation, every kiss?
Is it the opportunity to fall in love? What Mr. Darcy has been doing to women for two centuries.
Very few books occupy this spot for me. I’ve liked a lot of books, but only loved a few. Last Christmas, Kate Morton’s, The Forgotten Garden so unnerved me that I was unable to write for three days. I didn’t want the book to end and I couldn’t get the tale out of my head enough to make space for my own stories. It was, actually, kind of frightening.
What books have done “that thing” for you? Which characters have become part of you? Which have you fallen in love with? I’d love to see your comments below.