Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Have you ever been in the middle of reading a book and felt... haunted? Haunted by the characters? Haunted by the story? They follow you into your dreams. During the day, while innocently working at your job, they will burst full force into your mind. You dwell on what has already happened and ponder what is yet to come. You feel submerged in the world they inhabit. You can see their surroundings, taste the food, feel their emotions.

If you have experienced this phenomenon, then you have experienced a Good Book. This is the book that you will remember after the final page has been turned. Once finished, this book will find a permanent place upon your bookshelf, never to be given away or sold to a UBS. You will reread this book in an attempt to recapture the magic of that first time. And if it lives up to the wonder of your memory, then it is not just a Good Book, it is a Truly Wonderful Book.

Being capable of reading quickly is a blessing and a curse. Your TBR pile will "shrink" (or at least not grow) at a faster rate. You can quickly move on after a less than fabulous book choice. You are able to plow through an author's backlist to completely immerse yourself in their writing. There are drawbacks, however. When a person is capable to reading 3-7 books a week, stories begin to blur together. Through the sheer quantity of books you read in a month, the reader can begin to get burned out on a particular genre or author, the condensed quantity of novels underlining a sameness or formula you might otherwise have overlooked.

Then along comes one of those Good Books that make you simultaneously want to read faster so that you can find out all the secrets the book is hiding, and want to slow down to savor each turn of phrase. This is when you ask yourself if it is more important to finish your entire TRB pile or to slowly focus on only the best of the bunch.

I suffer from an on-again-off-again reading ennui. I become burned on on Historicals or Contemporaries. I float around, unsure what to read next. Nothing seems to satisfy my reading palette. I had a yen for something a bit darker after reading All Through the Night and The Lost Duke of Wyndham. From my TBR pile I pulled Rachel Vincent's Stray. I... just can't get into it. I'm trying. I really am. I just can not connect with the heroine. She is unfocused, does not know what she wants in life (other than escape from her family), and apparently has every male werecat panting after her. Eh. I had to put it down. I still wanted my dark story. I was worried that I would not be able to connect with any book. This has happened. I have had to force my way through the ennui. It can be painful.

Then it happened. I became haunted. Rhage is following me around at school. He sits there in the corner of my room, gazing at me with his teal eyes. "What are you doing? Why aren't you curled up with my story? I am trapped in Mary's house. Don't you want to know how I will get out, how I will keep her safe? Don't you want to read what is certain to be a meltingly hot love scene?" I look at him, trying to give him my most stern teacher look. "This is highly inappropriate. I have young children in here. Impressionable minds and all that." He just gives me a burning look. Damn. I am well and truly hooked into the crack that is BDB. Why did I think it would not be my flavor of fun? That it caught me unaware makes it all the worse. Ms. Ward has ensnared me with her men. I am haunted. And I am loving it.

Now I must go home and find out how he gets out from behind Mary's couch. This craziness must end. Seriously, Rhage can not follow me to school again tomorrow. How do you explain to your principal that the gorgeously huge man in the back of your classroom is a vampire from a Truly Wonderful Book? Do you think she will believe me if I tell her he is a student observer from the local college?


Kristie (J) said...

Ah - diving into the BDB world are you? I've read this one and I can understand the feeling you are experiencing.

Katie(babs) said...

I am like that right now with Stephenie Meyer's The Host. The main character of Melanie has me haunted as you says.
With the BDB series you will be like a crack addict with the shakes until you can get your next BDB book fix. :D

Shannon said...

I am at school. The kids are outside, about to enter the building. Rhage is sitting in the back of my room in his leathers... staring.

Tracy said...

I was completely haunted with the first 3 BDB books. Rhage - honey he can follow me to work anytime! :) The BDB are not the only ones who have haunted me though and truly I love it when books do that!

btw - I just got the first 3 Brockmann books from the library!

Carolyn Jean said...

Oh, I remember that part! I love that one. Deliciousness soon follows, my friend.

Great post. I know that feeling of being haunted by a book, and it's absolutely wonderful. The strongest I ever had it was with the Spymaster's Lady. Even for days after!

Anonymous said...

GREAT post! My reading habits are exactly the same. Books fade together until I discover that one piece of gold that sticks with me for days after and won't let me pick up another book. I feel literally bereft when I turn the last page of a Really Wonderful Book. I don't want it to be over. And then I drift around for days unable to settle on anything else, ruminating about the book and characters I've let into my heart. The Mercy Thompson series was the last one to hit me like that. I'm still thinking about it weeks later.
I'm glad I'm not alone!

Shannon said...

I'm getting ready to leave work and thought "Ooh, I can get more of Rhage when I get home." Then I remembered that I finished it last night. Damn it!!! I need more BDB. I'm getting the DTs over this. I must feed the addiction and stop at Borders on the way home. Zadist. He will give me my fix.

And dude, all of those men are so... damaged. I just want to cuddle them all and make them feel better about themselves. And then have hot , steamy sex with them. Of course :)

And will someone please tell me. Is John Matthews the return of Darius? The Scribe Virgin said he would not remember anyone and they would not know him. But the memories... lack of real family... tell me I'm right! He is Darius, true? (Oh God, pretty soon I am going to start refering to you all as "my sisters".)

Katie(babs) said...

JM is allegedly the reincarnation of Darius. That is all I will tell you young BDB crack grasshopper. :D

Wendy said...

I love this post, Shannon! I love the books that haunt me, when I read Rhage's story, he haunted me as well and it was wonderful and annoying but I loved it!

And the funny thing is once I finish one of the BDB books, I might say a few phrases in it, for kicks and giggles.

I'm just so gangsta, lol!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I guessed that JM was the reincarnation of Darius immediately, but I'm confused because JM was born way before Darius died, right?


Nicola O. said...

JR Ward has confirmed on her message boards that JM is the reincarnation of Darius. The how and the when of it remain mysterious and the subject of raging debate and speculation on said boards, but the major loophole here is that the Scribe Virgin inhabits a nontemporal realm. (oooooh. aaaaaaah.)

Shannon, that was really a remarkable post about the effect of the Truly Good Book. They rarely happen to me, and while romance is always my first love, the ones that really grab me are often fantasy worlds. Besides the BDB, which I'm totally obssessed with right now, the Kushiel books, an old double-trilogy by Melanie Rawn, Gone With The Wind, & Diana Gabaldon -- those are the ones that do it for me.