the way you make me feel/you knock me off of my feet

i am contemplating the very different effects books can have on the reader.  i am very curious about this.

i noticed that reading the Twilight series was like a high-speed immersion laced with urgency.  i am going to generalize that this is a common effect of the series on more than just myself – the  Twilight compulsion to read them all in a row in a tight time frame is much discussed, blogged and documented.

i felt that when i had to stop reading and put the book down, that the story was continuing without me, and i had to hurry to get back so as not to miss anything. like in harry potter, the book was full of moving scenes, lying on my dining table in full motion while i was folding laundry and missing it all.

i am at the moment deeply in love with The Little Book by Selden Edwards, but the reading effect is drastically different.  when i anticipate having to stop and put the book down, i have a moment’s feeling of anticipatory sadness and wistfulness, as if to say ‘i shall miss you’ and know that i have to begin the process of letting go.  rather than missing out on the story, i feel as though it slowly fades to black in tableau, and waits for my return.  similarly, when i pick the book up and resume reading, slowly the shadowed and dark images in my mind colour and brighten and envelop me into the story, and it stands like moving 3D pop-up in my mind, or like watching an old film reel, and i am again immersed. or like sticking my head into Dumbledore’s pensieve.

there’s my noticing.  now, my thinking on this… and i think i may never discover answers, but such is the beauty of reading.  what skills, traits of the writer imbue their work with qualities to affect this? are there specific words they use to make the reader unconsciously feel one way or another or another?  is it an indescribable je ne sais quoi that the writer possesses that just happens when they tell their story?  is this something another aspiring writer can learn to do, is this a seventh trait?  what is IT that makes the experience?  is it the story line itself?  the writing technique?  is one better than another?  does a writer consistently have the same effect in all their writings, or does it change by story?  how will i uncover answers?

what about you – have you discovered books that have had such effects on you, or different feelings? share effects or powerful books in the comments!

add some computer technology to make a story tableau come to life like wizard pictures from Harry Potter – learn how at Photojojo


One comment

  1. emilygoodie · April 8, 2010

    It’s interesting that you ask such questions. I was already wondering myself if I had read another book that affected me quite so much as this series has. I can’t think of one in recent history. Although I do know that I have had similar feelings about other books, but I am so caught up in Twilight right now I can hardly think of anything else. Maybe when I calm down, I’ll be able to think clearly again and post some of them.

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