Books that love you back

It’s been an intense few weeks and while I wasn’t blogging, I did write several short stories, made progress with my novel’s second draft and finished a really excellent online writers’ course by Curtis & Brown.

Something else happened, too. I came across a book that loved me back.

Apart from being a pure pleasure to read, I learned how to read more slowly. Yes, slowly. It’s not always an easy thing to do, especially with thrillers and crime fiction, written to absorb you in the plot and turn pages as fast as humanly possible. Then again, speeding through plot might make you overlook some of its delicious sentences, full of handpicked words, like this one:

The past was a ghost, gone in essence, but ever present, lurking in the background with its queries and its doubts.

(Jenny Quintana, The Missing Girl)

Not every book can do the same thing for every reader, but ‘Reading like a Writer’ gave me more than just things to learn and think about. It got me to appreciate words, sentences and paragraphs much more than any language class I ever took. Come to think of it, most of my education in literature was focused on stories, plots and themes. In school, we rarely discussed words, the rhythm of prose, the lengths of sentences and the size of paragraphs.

Did you know that paragraphing is unique to each author? Disputes on authorship & plagiarism have been settled by studying and comparing paragraphs. After reading this book, I have a new appreciation for reading differently as well as trying out new things in writing. What more could you possibly want from a book?

I know I’m not alone in this. Everyone who loves reading has a book they keep close, one they want to read over and over again. What is yours?