Against the advice of some readers who claim they would stop reading the blog if I started using slang or made up words, I am coining the phrase “the unputdownable book” (unputdownable: adj. a quality that makes something almost impossible for one to put down).
If you’ve ever read one of these (and I hope that everyone has at some point) you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who have not yet had this particular reading experience, I will try to describe it as best I can.
These are the top three varieties of the unputdownable book that come to mind:
1. The Pageturner
The name is self-explanatory: these are the books I tear through in a couple of sittings. I find myself reading faster than usual and turning pages at a breakneck speed. If there were some way to get the book downloaded directly into my brain, so I wouldn’t have to wait to find out what happens, I would be open to that idea (….actually, probably not, but it’s frustrating when you have to go to sleep but you NEED to know what happens next).
Examples from my bookshelf:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Divergent by Veronica Roth
2. The Especially Beautiful Book
These books are so beautifully crafted that the reader feels transported into another, perfectly formed world. The language and/or illustrations create the ultimate oasis and I usually look in vain for some way to transport myself into the book (or at least slow down and savor each sentence, each word…in my experience this type of unputdownable is not part of a series).
Examples from my bookshelf:
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
3. The You Forget it’s a Book, Book
This one is sort of hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. These books most often are in first person and the narrator is sympathetic and relatable. Familiar, even. So familiar that reading the book does not feel like reading, it’s more like having a conversation with an old friend whom you have seen in years and he/she wants to tell you a truly interesting and newsworthy series of events which have transpired (a story, you might call it). True, it’s a one sided conversation (unless, like me, you have the tendency to yell things at the characters when they make horrible decisions that may ruin the rest of their lives).
Example from my bookshelf:
Every Day by David Levithan (which comes out late August of this year)
In all three varieties, the story, characters, and plot are so strong or interesting, or compelling that they transform the reading experience. When reading an unputdownable book, I forget that I’m reading for long stretches at a time. I will “come to” to realize I’ve read for 3 hours and I’m almost finished with the amazing book that has pulled me in.
Also the format (print vs. ebook) does not seem to matter. Reading Every Day was my first experience with a full-length ebook and I hardly noticed the difference. I believe this is a credit to the story, not simply that ebooks and print books aren’t so different after all.
What are your favorite unputdownable books? Please let me know about them in the comments.