I have loved reading since I was very little. My idea of a great Saturday afternoon as a young girl, was lying on my bed reading Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. So very British, but also so very cool. The freedom and adventures those kids had! I loved every single one of those stories, and read them all several times, amongst many many other books.
Books have always brought me so much joy. I remember as a child having a set bed time, and no matter what my bed time was, I had an additional reading time added on, as I couldn’t even contemplate going to bed without reading. As an adult it never mattered how sleep deprived I was or how tired I was feeling, reading before sleep was a given. For some reason I have always preferred reading lying down, and I still do, whether it is day or night time, reading is best done lying somewhere comfy for me. For most of my life I have read until the book literally falls out of my hands and I find myself awake hours later with the light still on, or someone has gently removed it and put it aside for me.
I have been this way all my life. Except I became a bit slack this past few years as I have been spending too much time looking at my shiny blue screen in bed. The quick fix that social media and the internet give are addictive to my brain, and I’ve found myself taking a very long time to finish books these days.
This year I resolved to go back to my previous habit of reading before bed, leaving all devices in the lounge room.
So far this year I have finished two books, a great start. One thing I realised the other week is that I have shifted from reading a mixture of fiction and non-fiction to primarily non-fiction. I am a non-fiction junkie, but I think I need to mix it up a bit. My bookcase is literally overflowing with about one hundred books I am yet to read, and all but about five are non-fiction.
So, I have been thinking about what makes a book unputdownable for me.
These are the qualities I love in a great book and the feelings I get:
- Straight forward language that means I don’t have to re-read the sentence a few times to get the gist. Not that I am unintelligent, but when I’m reading, I don’t want to feel like I’m not getting what the author is saying without trying too hard.
- Similar to the above, real language, without the author trying to sound too clever.
- Good grammar, spelling and sentence structure. (Think 50 Shades of Grey – yes I read it, I bought the trilogy but sold the second and third before I finished the first as I knew I just couldn’t go there again)
- Characters, stories and concepts that make me miss it when I am not reading it. Like “I can’t wait to go to bed to read the next chapter” kind of stuff. “Finding any excuse to sneak off with my book moments”.
- A feeling of having my mind blown.
- Wanting to read various long sentences and chapters to my husband because it is just so damn good.
- The feeling as I pass the half way mark that my relationship is drawing to a close soon.
- Wanting to savour, draw out, lengthen the time, slow my reading down so it doesn’t end.
- Savouring that very last chapter and page for when I am ready to say goodbye and reading it as slowly as I possibly can so as not to miss one word.
- A feeling of sadness and loss that it is over.
- Missing the characters once I have finished the book.
- The joy of finding another person who has loved the same book and talking about it together.
Sometimes after a really great book, I need to give myself a day or two to get the last book out of my head and make space for the next one. This is when I used to break it up with non-fiction in between.
Oh I have had so much joy, fun, laughter, sadness, adventure, tragedy, disappointment, excitement and every other emotion you can think of, all through the beauty of the written word.
I love words, all words, words are beautiful, words express everything, words become books and I love books.
What makes a book unputdownable for you?