Thursday, January 6, 2011

What Makes a Story Great?

When I finish reading a novel that's really special, certain things happen to me that I don't really think about until I'm in the middle of doing them or feeling them.

I close the book and grip it with both hands as if to feel its solidity. Then I gently run my hand across the cover with the palm of one hand, as if dusting it off, though it's hardly dusty.

For a moment or two I dote over it a little, maybe adjust the jacket just so, like a child fussing over the hair or dress of a favorite doll that's already quite perfect. Then I take in a deep, deep breath.

With my lungs filled, I feel like I could float away to a blissful place and for a few moments more, I muse over the wonderful parts I read as I exale.

Sometimes I even feel a tinge of envy for the feeling I had when I didn't know how the story would end.

Then I find a special place on the bookshelf that's at eye level when I'm standing, so that when I walk by the book days, weeks or months from now, my eye will meet the title on the spine, and I'll be reminded of where I've been.

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