Friday, August 20, 2010

Books You Can't Put Down

If you're a reader, you know what I'm talking about.  The books you just can't put down when you're reading them.  You read late into the night, during your lunch hour, after work, at the gym - wherever you can eke out just a couple more pages before you have to put it down and continue on with your life.  You finish them in a couple days - a week max - because even though you don't want them to end, you can't bear not reading everyday.

I think common culprits are mystery/thrillers and children's books.  For example, I couldn't put down:
The DaVinci Code (I actually read a page at a stoplight once)
The Lost Symbol
Shadow of the Wind (a mystery set in Spain)
The Swan Thieves (as I said a couple days ago)

Or on the Children's side:
All Harry Potter and Twilight books
The Giver (both when I was a kid and when I re-read it a couple years ago)

And then there are other books - ones that aren't mysteries or written for children - that one way or another suck you in.  Some of these for me were:
Never Let Me Go (a book set in a dystopia-type society)
The Handmaid's Tale (another dystopia)
I Know This Much is True (I brought this on the treadmill with me because I wanted to work out but needed to keep reading)
Water for Elephants
The Time Traveller's Wife
Perfection (a memoir I sort of randomly stumbled on)

But I love this!  I love books like this.  Sometimes they're legitimately well-written, acclaimed books (I think Never Let Me Go and The Handmaid's Tale won major book prizes), and sometimes they're just random books you happen to hear a little snippet about and read on a whim.

Now this list in no way represents what I consider to be some of "the best" books I've ever read.  They're just books that sucked me in (and this is pretty much recently [the past few years] - I'm sure if I dug deep into my brain I could think of many more - Where The Red Fern Grows, anyone?).

So I want to know - what books could you not put down?  Like, really, legitimately, couldn't put down (not just a book that's awesome that I should read).  Because I want to read the ones you couldn't put down!  Even if it's silly - I want to know!  (Although, if it's a murder mystery [a la James Patterson, Patricia Cornwall, Dean Koontz], I acknowledge you probably couldn't put it down, but I won't read those.  They scare me too much.  No, really.  The only reason I can handle Dan Brown books is because there's a historical element to them [but they still scare me].  And no - I haven't read the Dragon Tattoo books & probably won't [too scary!].)

Maybe my question should be though, more broadly, do you guys experience moments like this?  Or do I just have an obsessive personality??


LB said...

I'm to the point that I almost won't read something if I CAN put it down. It feels like it's not worth your time if it's not a totally voracious read! On our trip I read A Mercy by Toni Morrison and really liked it (short too)...but I think Time Traveler's Wife was the last book I read when I legitimately couldn't put it down (sidenote: I had to leave a coffee shop because I was crying too hard and thought it was inappropriate to be in public anymore).

Jonathan said...

I like the voracious read, but I also tend to forget them rather quickly (that's why i read the last Harry Potter and the Steig Larssen books twice).

Amy said...

Did you ever ready A Million Little Pieces by James Frey? I know it's super random (it was popular literally 5+ years ago), but that was a book I could. not. put. down. It's a little graphic in parts (and trust me, I'm a super scaredy cat and not into gore at all), but I was 100% engrossed. I also didn't care about the whole fiction vs. autobiography debacle, but I guess that tainted it for some.

AmyBethJames said...

Had to comment on the book post! I saw in a later post that you are already reading the Hunger Games trilogy, but that's definitely the last thing I literally could not put down. I think I stayed up reading the first one till about 3am.

Another one that I couldn't stop reading was The Glass Castle, which is a memoir by Jeanette Walls. WOW. Fascinating, unbelievable, amazing read. Check it out!