A Really, Really Good Book

#1 Son (and by the way, if you’re reading this? Call home, okay?) and I suggest a lot of books to one another. As the mother, I started doing this when he was a wee little thing. He was an only child until he was four years and 8 months old–the era to which he refers as the best years–and had most of my attention. We did a lot of reading together. He has the good fortune for an actor to have an excellent memory (except for returning my phone call about when he can come home for Christmas, so we can plan a family event) of everything he has read. I can reference a children’s book in the subtlest fashion, and he recognizes it immediately.

He’s also great at remembering the characters and plot lines in complicated books, which I hope is serving him well in the Russian lit class he is taking this fall.

There is nothing like a really, really good book on a gloomy day. A couple of years ago, #1 Son suggested that I read “A Game of Thrones,” by George R.R. Martin, mostly because he loved it and wanted to talk about it with someone. As it turned out, Pure Luck was a fan, and #2 Son and I read the three books in the series that summer. Two years later, the 4th book is finally available. You may notice that in my sidebar the list of Books I’m Reading shrank to one today. That is because I will not deceive myself into thinking that I will be reading a single other thing until I finish Martin’s newest, “A Feast for Crows.” I am a couple of weeks behind my son; he ordered a copy from Amazon UK. But today I went to the bookstore and got my copy, came home and ran a bubble bath, and started reading.

Have I mentioned that working is very inconvenient when you have a really, really good book to read?

Friends, what is the last book you could not put down without an extreme act of will?

26 thoughts on “A Really, Really Good Book”

  1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It started out slow, but by the time I got to the end I had it in my hand every time I had any stretch of free time at all.

  2. That was true for me, too, but I was also racing the clock because I feared being spoiled. I really, really didn’t want to have that really, really good book spoiled.

  3. Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire.
    It won the National book Award for Nonfiction in 2004.
    Full of spiritual metaphors..

  4. Well, yes, the last Harry Potter.
    Also, All the King’s Men, which I had not read before and which is a big one to not put down, but I was hooked. And more recently, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko.

  5. I read for a living, so I get a little jaded; but I guess the last one I had that reaction to was Lord Dunsany’s “Time and the Gods.”
    I like my books obscure and strange!

  6. Following the insistence of all 3 offspring, I finally got round to Philip Pullman last month. Just finished The Subtle Knife this morn…it started slow, but the latter part was totally and utterly and compulsively absorbing. Couldn’t stop. Late for Morning Prayer. Very sad. Aaargghhh

  7. The Time Traveler’s Wife. Stayed up till 2 am on worknights multiple times in order to finish. And it was gooood.

  8. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – much, much better than the film adaptation (of course). It was nailbitingly exciting – and featured TWO T. Rexes, not just one. A wonderful way to get the adrenaline going.

  9. Friends, I don’t know why Typepad defaulted to requiring comment authentication, but I have removed that feature. Sorry for any inconvenience. I’ve received no spam comments, so I don’t feel I need it at the moment.

  10. Umm, I’d have to say the Kite Runner, but mainly because I hate depressing books and just really really really wanted it to end so that I could turn to happier topics. I also have the misfortune of not being able to put a book down if I dislike it, I HAVE to finish it.
    I’d say Harry Potter, but I dragged that one out for weeks to give me joy every single day.

  11. Actually, I should add two more series that were even more engrossing than the Montalbano books, especially since y’all seem inclined to like Pullman.
    1: William Nicholson’s Wind on Fire trilogy: Wind Singer, Slaves of the Mastery, and Firesong. It’s like Pullman for the 8-10 set. Nicholson is the guy who wrote Shadowlands, btw.
    2: Garth Nix’s Abhorsen Trilogy: Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen. Fabulous, post-now series, lightly blending tech and magic, but managing to create a setting that rises up like wrought iron sculpture on a silver winter’s night. And the coolest library ever, in the second book.
    Both series had me waiting anxiously (like calling the bookstores daily) for the final versions.

  12. HP which I read to the kids. We all promised not to read another chapter secretly when we weren’t together and it was agony.
    When I read most novels I can’t put them down and read far too late. It’s a bad habit, drives hubby mad, but I’ve done it for almost 40 years and well I don’t think it’s so bad.
    I reread the Narnia series this month. Dawn Treader is the best and The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Waiting for the new film with anticipation.

  13. Actually I think I liked Prince Caspian best of the Narnia books. ANd actually (although it is most definitely not my theology) I really liked Last Battle. Magicians Nephew and HOrse and His Boy I could miss out on though.
    But as to the topic of the post. You know it used to be that I woudl regularly get into a book and read incessantly. That doesn’t happen nearly so much anymore. I wonder why?

  14. Maybe because you don’t have that kind of time available? My big reading binges ended temporarily when I went back to seminary in 2000, because I went to school year round and didn’t do any pleasure reading. And believe me, Tillich is not the kind of read we’re talking about!
    Since graduating, I find I read that way in the summer, when things slow down at church and then I’m on vacation.

  15. The most recent book I couldn’t put down was A Feast for Crows, of course. Before that, though, the two that spring to mind most quickly are Johnathan Strange & Mr Norrell and The Master and Margarita. You still ought to M&M, mom. You just can’t have enough fascinating interpretations of Pilate, I tell you!

  16. Harry Potter for sure.
    As much as I love to read, it’s the only one that has captured me that way recently.
    (all of them, but the latest one especially)

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