Thursday, 28 February 2008

Finishing books

As most people close to me know, I am a prolific reader. Mainly of sci-fi and fantasy books, and I am not the most discerning of readers, usually devouring whatever I pick up (probably the only really notable exception being Ian M Banks - I just can't get through the first few chapters of his books.)

I'm not a very discriminating reader - obviously, there are stand-out books that just take your breath away, but I get equal levels of enjoyment from a 'trashy' fantasy book (full of cliches, plot point a-z storyline, cardboard characters) as I do from something that is well written and well grounded.

Every time I finish a book for the first time, I have to take a few minutes to regather myself. It's not something I have to do on re-reading a story, but the first time one ends, I feel a deep sense of loss. I have been transported into another world, with characters that are as real to me as those that I meet. When something good happens to those characters, I am overjoyed. When something bad happens, I feel the emotion (to the point that I had to stop reading on the train this week as I was about to cry in public). And when the book finishes, all of that is over. I will never again get the exploration into the unknown - I may re-read the story, but it will now be familiar - I know what will happen before the characters do. The enjoyment will still be there, as will the escape into another world, but it will not be the same.

So, if you see me sitting still with a closed book in my hand, let me rest quietly for a few minutes. I will tell you all about the book shortly, but for now, I need to mourn.


uphilldowndale said...

I wish I could do that, my world is littered with half read books.

MotherOnTheEdge said...

Oh I really do know what you mean. I get very sad when I get to the end of a book for the first time.