Reading Is Like Falling In Love (And Sometimes You Fall Out of Love Again)
A recent reading adventure got me thinking – being a book lover is quite similar to being a lover in general. The book that sparked this thought was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, a novel that had all the hype going for it. Behold, a budding love between a reader and a book.
Phase one: Attraction
You’ll catch a glimpse of in a book store. Just a tiny hint of beautiful cover, the perfect curve of spine. The sight of it makes your heart beat faster. You’ll think about it on the way home. Late at night, you’ll browse Amazon, to learn more. It sounds perfect. You need to have it.
Phase two: Falling in love
The wait is excruciating, but then, at last, a carton box arrives on your doorstep. You can’t open it quickly enough, hands shaking in anticipation. You have it in your hands, and it’s even more beautiful than you remember. Your relationship develops quickly – rights page, title, acknowledgements, and then.. oh my. The words on the page seem to have been written for you, you alone. They sing to you, they touch your heart. Everything is right in the world.
Phase three: Real life interference
All you want to do is spend time with your book, but you can’t. At some point, people around you clamour for your attention, and your boss warns you that you are out of vacation days. Reluctantly, you close the book, and return to your other life. You think of the book while doing chores, you think of it on your commute. Maybe I can read a chapter before bed.
Phase four: Crossroads
You couldn’t read yesterday because of that thing. The instant attraction you felt for the book has weaned. Sure, it’s great, but it can wait a bit, right? Later that evening, you pick it up, stroking to cover, and return to where you were.
Option one: True love
Immediately you are plunged back into the world you unwillingly left. The characters, the setting, the plot – everything is just as amazing as when you just started, and you can’t get enough. You stay up reading the entire night, because it’s just that good.
Option two: It was just a fling
The words don’t fall back into a comfortable rhythm. Were the characters always this annoying? That plot you found so exciting now seems to move at a snail’s pace. After wading through half a chapter, you put it down again with a sigh. You saw this other book in the subway today. Maybe you should look it up on Amazon, see if it’s any good…
In the case of The Miniaturist, it turned out, we only had a fling. I was terribly excited when I started reading it, but somehow I lost that initial interest halfway. It was good, but not as amazing as I was hoping it to be.