There are some books that you can finish in one sitting, barely stopping to breathe or blink as you power through. There are others that take more time, that you need to take a break from, to think about before you return to. The Bone People by Keri Hulme has been one of the latter; while I’ve loved almost every word in the book, I found it quite a hard read. I stopped halfway through to read something else, something fluffier and funnier. I’m coming towards the end now and in a way I’m really glad that I stopped reading it, because it gave me more time to think about the plot. I’m now stalling reading the last 10 pages because I seriously do not want it to end.
It’s always amazing to find a book that you can read in a few days, though. Or even one that you can pick up on a morning and be done with by the time you go to bed that night. The books that feel physically impossible to put down, as though your hands are locked around the spine. If you want a book that you could read, if you so desired, in one lazy weekend, here are a few of my favourites-
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. This book is utterly harrowing. Don’t go into it expecting anything that could be described as ‘feel good’. It’s beautifully written, though, and you will be sucked in by the writing and the lives of the characters. I finished it in less than two days.
The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subculture by Louis Theroux. Set out in sections, sometimes disturbing and sometimes hilarious, this is the kind of book that you can carry around with you and dip into it whenever you have a spare moment.
Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. Imagine, if you will, that you are a third-year English student. You have, as you are wont to do, left your seminar reading until, oh, the night before. Plagued with a sense of impending doom, you size up the book in your hand: not too long. Might be manageable. You read the first page, and then before you know it, the book is finished. Easy! You hastily scribble some notes, and go to bed. It isn’t until you wake up the next morning with your mind racing that you realise what an amazing book it was. In the seminar you’re like an overexcited child, spilling forth your each and every opinion about the novel. (This story may or may not be about me.)
Do you prefer a slow leisurely read, or a compulsive and quick one?
What was the last book you couldn’t put down?
What’s the last book you spent ages reading it? Was it worth it in the end?