Saturday, February 5, 2011

How To Tell You're Reading a Really Great Book

Recently Jesse Kornbluth, author of Head Butler, one of my favorite go-to blogs about books, movies, and music, posted that he had "devoured" a book during a five-hour flight between San Diego and New York City. (For the curious, it was One Day by David Nicholls.) My immediate book-geek response was envy and an appreciative "oooooooohhhhhhh," not unlike the way I would respond to any one of you telling me you had just had an eight-inch high slice of Boston Cream Pie put in front of you.

Those of us who love books and reading love to get completely lost in a book. We feel like we got an extra, unexpected Christmas present when we find one, and bereft if the next one to sweep us off our feet takes too long in coming.

Here is my own criteria for recognizing a really great read:

1. You want to send a fan letter to the author, even though you're "not that
kind of person."

2. You are tempted to ration out how much you read each night because you don't want it to end.

3.There's no way you can ration out how much you reach each night and so you
stay up till a very late hour and drag your butt into work the next day.

4. You can't wait to get back to "your book" when you manage to finally sit down to read again.

5. You learn something about a time period or a place in the world you knew very little or nothing about.

6. You want to know what happens to these characters after the book ends and you hope the author writes a sequel. (Hmmm...think I'll write that in my fan

7. You resent intrusions by family members in the form of requests for food,
clean laundry, or transportation to the emergency room.

In the last couple of years I have felt this way about:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibbs

What books fit this criteria for you?


  1. Jonathon O'Dell's THE VIEW FROM DELPHI was like that for me. Now I'm trying to read Walter Mosley's THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY. Loved the blurb on the book but having trouble with the character talking through his dementia. Tough read but think I'll do it anyway.

  2. the Twilight saga... and not ashamed to admit it!