Friday, August 17, 2012

Books That Linger

One of the faults in my whole Reactionary Review system is that it doesn't take into account the lingering effects that books can have. I think a mark of truly engrossing writing is when a book lingers with you afterward.

There have been plenty of books that I have read and really enjoyed but have just moved on to the next one when I was done, finished with the story. I don't think there is anything wrong with books like this. They have their own merits and are sometimes books that are so immediately likeable. They just don't stick in your head a whole lot afterward.

Sometimes there are books that are so immediately likeable that they pull you in and you're stuck in them the entire time. Then, even after you've finished them, they don't let go. You've read them and gone back and reread most of them and you're still so stuck in them that it's almost impossible to move on. You want to be in that book so much it aches somewhere in inside. I think these are the best books. You want the book so fully, every part of it, not just one of the characters or something they said, or something that happened, but all of it.

But other times there are books that might not have left the biggest impact on you right away. Sure, you enjoyed them at the time, you want to read the next but you can pick out things that pulled you right out of the story or something you really didn't like. Then, later, you're looking at the next book you're supposed to start and you kind of stop and realize that you're not entirely ready to let go of the last one. Usually if it's the book you only enjoyed this is surprising. You think back on the book and can still see the same faults that you did before and you can't quite put your finger on what it is that is sticking with you so much. There's just something.

There are times when you can figure it out. There's an ah ha! moment all of a sudden and you just get it. But there are others that you don't really understand but you're so strangely caught up in them that you're still thinking about them the next day. You catch yourself wondering about it randomly throughout the day and still can't quite manage to puzzle it out. The book was good but enough for this?

It's a different sort of after effect. You don't immediately think about how much you want to be in the story but you just can't get it out of your head. As a writer I'm interested in what makes a book linger like this? I haven't really figured it out.

I bring this up because Obsidian has become one of those books. I couldn't quite bring myself to start For Darkness Shows the Stars last night. It's a book I'm genuinely excited about but I just...couldn't do it. It's not a specific scene I can't get out of my head or even an element about the book that I can pinpoint. I just don't feel ready to abandon it just yet. I feel like I'm holding my breath and waiting for Onyx to get here.

I've had this sort of lingering feeling before and I think that sometimes it's why there's such a big gap between my ending one book and starting another. I'm not ready to let the first go. But I still wonder why.

 It's lingering feelings like this that drive me to change my rating on a book after the fact. I bumped Obsidian up to a four star on Good Reads this morning and at first I felt bad, like I was bowing under everyone's love for it and wasn't being true to my initial reaction to it. Then I realized that that wasn't it at all. A book that lingers has its own merit and I wanted to recognize that.

So Obsidian has an altered Epic scale rating of  Massively Epic.

I'm still a little confused by the whole thing and I still can't dissect a reason out. But there you have it. Lingering books. I feel like I should do a linger update on each book that I rate.

What books have lingered for you loves? Do you know what I mean by books that linger?


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