I am somewhat out of sorts today. I had odd dreams all night (did you know Ellen and Portia are coming to my hometown for their honeymoon, and that Ellen is wearing a light pink chiffon dress in their wedding?) and the phone startled me awake, and I was up until two in the morning finishing a book. Oh, you might be thinking, two in the morning. That’s obviously your problem. Really, though, it’s the book that’s causing me to stop typing every few minutes and stare with a furrowed brow at the two Rose of Sharon trees in my yard until I realize I am staring and continue typing.

I just re-read The Time Traveler’s Wife because a friend was reading it for the first time and I thought it would be cool to discuss it in real time, sort of like a mini book club. And also, because it’s an amazing feat of genius, and if you have read it you know why I am out of sorts. And if you haven’t you will either go buy it, or you will be the first to tell me in the comments and I will send you this copy. Anyway. I re-read this book, and it is brilliant, and brilliant novels often lead me to conduct marathon finishes because I just can’t stop. I don’t want to stop. When the rising action of a story is crafted just right it has that effect on me, and putting the book down would mean breaking this frantic uphill climb, this frenzied momentum. I have to keep reading.

Reading in this fast and furious fashion leaves me mentally and emotionally spent, to say nothing of physically, since most of my read-a-thons now occur after Mia’s Very Late Bedtime. But it’s the emptying out and filling up of my brain that wipes me. I just want to sit and stare, to be with the characters a little longer and absorb the things they did, the things that happened to them. This is one of the reasons I like re-reading books: if I loved the characters, and I miss them when the last page is turned, it’s so easy to visit them again, because they are inside there living their lives and all I have to do is turn to page one and it’s like a little reunion. I don’t re-read many books, mind you, only a select few, and this was only my second round with The Time Traveler’s Wife. It probably won’t be my last.

Like I said, any good work of literary genius leaves me wistfully staring into space the morning after. It’s almost like I am still IN the book, and there are no other books in the universe but the one I just read, and to attempt to use my brain for any other task (like writing or, God forbid, starting another book!) would be a mere waste of my mental energy. But this book is different. The effect is deeper, more profound, and yet here I sit at the keyboard trying to explain it to you, which probably won’t happen, because every time I stop to ponder a word or work out a phrase my mind immediately fills with vignettes and characters and scenes from The Time Traveler’s Wife. It has left me (again, only more so) awed and dumbfounded, overwhelmingly bereft and more than a little confused. I also feel a great sense of amazement and possibility. And now I’m starting to feel a little vague, because what I really want to do is talk about what actually happens in this book, but I can’t–I wouldn’t dare give away any of the details you will want to savor at two in the morning when you read it yourself. 

What have you read recently (or ever, I’m not picky) that affected you profoundly?

5 thoughts on “Sorting

  1. I also get that same fuzzyness after reading a really good book. And yes, I read really good books in gulps like that. I liken it to a hangover. Especially when I am expected to function in the regular world afterward. Time-traveller’s Wife also affected me like that. Such an amazing book! Other books: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and The Woman Warrior. And, as I scanned my eyes across my bookshelf, I realized that those three books are gone: because they’re books I have pressed upon others and they haven’t been returned…

  2. Overwhelmingly bereft. Yes. That’s it exactly. Stunning book.

    Now, as to what I’ve read recently that affected me similarly….? That would have to be The Book Thief. If you haven’t read it, go now!

  3. oooh wanna send me the book? 🙂 am i the first commenter who hasnt read it? it has been so long since i have read a good book (thank you nursing school) and i look forward to the days when i can be a normal person staying until 2am when i have to be at work by 7am, just to do that marathon book finish…

    i fall in love with characters like that. one series i read, as a child, when i would open the newest volume, it was like a family reunion, but better… [Love Comes Softly, by Jeanette Oke ~ kind of a Little House on the Prairie but with a more christian (but not preachy) tone]

    Zion Chronicles… Bode Thoene (they start with Vienna Prelude ~ they are set in pre-WWII and ohhh they are magnificent…i want to dig mine out and read them again)

    /book rambling…

  4. De-lurking to agree with you. A friend of mine gave me the book to read and told me it was romance. I almost didn’t read it since she classified it like that, but I’ve always enjoyed the books she’s given me to read, so I had to at least try it.

    I was sucked in after 2 pages and finished it in a couple of days. I should go back and read it again, too.

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