Name a Book That Totally Immersed You

I remember one time, sometime during college, I was at the airport ready to fly from Turkey to Germany. I was an experienced traveler even then and I prided myself on it. I arrived at the gate well ahead of time, everything neatly packed in one small bag, boarding pass ready. I picked a seat, settled in, and started reading.

Some time later, I looked up to see everyone lining up to board, except they were one gate over, boarding a flight to Bahrain or somewhere. But all my people were gone. I went to the customer service desk and learned that my flight was gone, and in fact they’d called my name several times, all while I was sitting at the gate, immersed in my book.

The book was Harry Potter. Wish I could remember which one—maybe Goblet of Fire, but I’m not sure. What about you? When has a book totally immersed you? What was the book? What drew you in about it?

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7 comments

  1. I loved the Harry Potter books. The books that I can remember devouring like that are: Jane Eyre and The Mummy by Anne Rice. Jane Eyre was probably the right book at the right time, and The Mummy is just one of my absolute favorites. It reads like a movie,

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    1. Nice! I haven’t read either of those. Now I want to, though my reading list gains books faster than it loses them :]

      I’ve actually started making a study of what it is that draws me into books (which is tricky, since it’s the loss of self-awareness that I’m trying to watch). I think J. K. Rowling does a great job of establishing settings and characters with a few brief but evocative details, usually catching 2-3 senses and an emotional implication. It gives her books a vividness that gives me a sense of actual nostalgia for that world.

      On another note, I bought my copy of Earl of Brass this morning! I’m only a few pages in, but enjoying it a lot so far.

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      1. Thanks, Ben! I know what you mean. I think since beginning my MFA, I have tried to be more conscious of what draws me in or keeps me out. I was reading Philip Pullman’s His Infernal Devices series and noticed despite all the action and lovely images/world-building, I was disinterested halfway through the second novel. I realized it was because the novel is so devoid of emotion. I need it to pull me in. The Mummy is rich with evocative sensory experiences and both books I mentioned played with my emotions, horror, romance, suspense. I need to love the characters and get attached to care and be drawn further in.

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      2. That’s really well said. Anne Perry’s Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries make me love the characters – so clever and human and capable yet vulnerable. I’d almost read the books just to spend time with the Pitts, and then there’s interesting story going on on top of that. (You’d probably love that series, btw – historical fiction in Victorian London with astonishingly good depictions of the period, from high society to criminal underbelly, with investigations usually running on parallel tracks in both.)

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      3. I have been meaning to read Anne Perry’s books for years. I always mean to and never get to it. At least now I know where to start.

        Even with my two books, I know I connect more with the characters in book two, than Eilian and Hadley. As much as I love them, I think the book two cast has more emotional pull. Now, I’m wondering if it’s because I was more aware of that while writing.

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      4. Interesting. There’s definitely a strange alchemy behind making characters emotionally resonant. In a way I guess it’s analogous to falling in love. The one who looks perfect on paper, the one you totally *should* be falling in love with, sometimes isn’t nearly as compelling as the one who doesn’t make sense but somehow keeps drawing you back.

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      5. I agree. Sometimes you have this character and you know they are a jerk yet you love them anyway. My fav character now was definitely not my favorite in book one, but he’s grown a lot in book two. Growth definitely draws me in.

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