Monday, 28 June 2010

Crossing Over to a Land Called Fiction

There are books you simply can't tear yourself away from until you reach the last words. I've stayed up until 4am reading a book because I couldn't go to sleep without knowing the outcome and I become deeply attached to those characters when I'm left alone with them at night, no noises or voices to distract me. I'm immersed in the world of fantasy jutting from the pages.

When I wake up the next morning, there are a few instants where fiction and reality haven't come apart yet and I'm still playing the role of the heroine in my mind. As I read lots of romance, I might wake up feeling incredibly happy with the memory of a handsome millionaire proposing to me last night, and those nights when I've been reading a mystery or suspense novel, I'll feel an exhilarating delight as I remember how the hero saved me in the small hours from a being shot by the murderer.

I sometimes find it difficult to remember that the lines I'm reading are fiction and I'll mourn the death of a character as if I'd known them. When this happens, I wish I could write to the author and ask them to change their words, resuscitate their character as the feeling of loss becomes so real.

There are books that require a few hours to stew and linger in your mind and take over your thoughts and sensations before you open the cover of your next experience. When I'm still feeling a roller coaster of emotions inside as I replay the scenes in your mind, the thought of starting the next book makes me feel unfaithful to the characters I've just shared their lives with.

Do you get totally wrapped up in books and forget the characters don't exist in your real life? Do the scenes become alive in your minds?


  1. Sometimes I find historicals rub off on me and I have a tendency to say 'lah, Sir' and fan myself after reading one. People look at me oddly. But then, they do anyway.

  2. I understand how you feel, Sarah. When I am really enjoying a book I will, like you, keep on reading, devouring the words in an orgy of discovery, desperate to find out how it all ends. But by doing so I find that I don't enjoy the process of reading as much and miss many of the nuances of the language.
    Maybe it's just as well I don't carry over too much of what I read into everyday life though - well, I do like a good gory murder!

  3. Jane, I can see you dropping your handkerchief delicately for a handsome man to pick it up. That's when the handsome man picks it up and gently offers it to you saying, "Excuse me, you dropped your snotty kleenex, I think you need it".

  4. Nettie, it's true, when I'm really eager to see what happens I'll skim over some paragraphs to read quicker.
    And no, I hope you don't mix up your books with reality, especially in the kitchen near the block of knives.

  5. Oh, totally! For me, the best one for this was The Time Traveller's Wife. I was snorting with sobs when I finished it (not an attractive image, I know). But it just pulled me in.

  6. Sometimes a character becomes TOO real in my mind that I can't stop thinking about them and their situation. Which can be good for my writing because then I start to dream up all these ideas.

    Last night I stayed up until 3 watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for the third time, enjoying it just as much as the first two viewings. So many deaths take place in the film that it really gets to you, but in a moving way. And I had to wake up at 8! Naturally, I was exhausted for most of the day, but it was well worth it. :D

  7. I have found a worrying tendency to want to dress in lacy, flowing things or to wear hats in winter if I've been reading too much Wilkie Collins or Dickens!

  8. Talli, I can't erase the Time Traveller's Wife from my mind.

    Amanda, I haven't watched Case of Benjamin Button yet, I've been told you cry a lot, so I was putting it off. Same happens with author of Thousand Splending Suns, I'm waiting for the appropriate time.

    Cara, I keep thinking, why isn't my husband as romantic as Jane Austen's characters?

  9. Watch it when you're depressed, then. It's a very good movie, if a bit long.

  10. Yes! This is such an amazing feeling. The books that can pull us in like that are rare but beautiful and like little miracles. I felt that way when I first read Gone with the Wind. I couldn't put it down, and I felt so invested in the characters.


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