Saturday, March 08, 2014

When a Good Book Ends

Do you ever finish a book and find that you just aren't ready to move on to a new book yet? I am a constant reader. My favorite thing to do when I have a moment of down time is pick up a book and read. In fact, I can't imagine not reading. I must read. So usually when I finish a book I immediately move on to the next one.

However, every once in a while, a book comes along that so involves me emotionally that when I finish it I feel almost bereft, and the thought occurs, "What am I ever going to read now?" I've read two books like that so far this year, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, and the one I just finished, The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson. Some books just leave you needing a little breathing room space before you can jump into another book because the story so grips you you're not ready for it to leave just yet when you turn that last page. You need a little time to think it through and process it, and it feels kind of lonely if you try to go wander the library stacks too soon after in search of something else to read.

How to describe my listless wandering at the library today? Well, suffice to say I left empty handed. It would have helped if our library had had the specific book I went there looking for to replace my latest read, but, alas, they did not. I may have to break down and buy it for my Kindle.

About The Orphan Master's Son. I don't know how accurate the portrayal of North Korea is, but I suspect it probably is fairly accurate. That's not a part of the world we read much about, and this was a powerful story of the harshness and fragility of life under that oppressive regime, but more than that it was a powerful look at people, and love, and sacrifice. To say I like the book seems strange for such an emotionally heart breaking book. I did like it. Very much. Though it wasn't a happy, happy, happy story. But it was satisfying, and in the end, that's what makes a book good to me. Excellent writing with a story that gripped me and will stick with me for a long time.

But sometimes when you finish that kind of book, it's like saying good-bye to people you're not quite ready to leave. And you don't want to settle for something less than that with the next book, if that makes any sense. Or maybe I'm the only one who ever feels this way.

So, what good books are you reading?

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