When You’re in the Hands of a Literary Master . . .

You pick up a book and by the time you’ve finished the first page, you’re hooked.

The world that the writer creates feels so real that when the phone rings or your family calls you to dinner, you feel disoriented and in shock for a few seconds.

By the time you finish the third chapter, you feel as if you know the main character.  You may love that person, or hate them, but you feel that this is a full-bodied, living, reasoning, feeling person.

Any time you have to put down the book, you feel regret, and keep wondering when you can get back to that book.  It nags at you, taps you on the shoulder, your mind wanders to remembering incidents, or speculating about what might happen next.

The further you go in the book, the faster you want to read.   You lose track of time, and stay up all night.

By the time you get to the end, you feel regret that the story is over, but you want to read it again, either immediately or later.  The story lives and grows in your mind.

You wonder what happens to the characters once the story ends.

Three months later, you still remember the names of characters.

Language may catch your emotions up at some point if you’ve developed a sensitivity to it.  This is usually a second-reading reaction, but if the writer’s style is appealing, it may catch your emotions on the first go-round.  This is rare.  Good style does not call attention to itself, but wraps you into the world, holding you there.

You go back to your treasured book,  read it more than once, and develop favorite parts that you read again.

You want to grab others and tell them: read this book!  You don’t because you feel like a nut, but if you get a chance, you recommend it to friends, or to sites like this.

Needless to say, a book this good is rare, especially if all of these points apply.  The book may be a literary classic, or a “guilty pleasure.”  That depends on you, but the more you read, the more selective you’ll be.  That all-encompasing experience may happen more rarely, but it will still happen.

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