Stick Figures

A Book So Good You…Have To Put It Down?

imageThere is a book in the other room that wants to eat my brain.  I’ve shut the door, I’ve turned the key…but I can still hear its voice in my head…

Reeeeeeead meeeeee…

Tension keeps the reader hooked.  Masters of tension know how to manipulate us because they know what makes us tick.  They use our own psychology against us, keeping our eyes glued to the screen or the page–twisting us all up into ball of contradiction and unanswered questions, spinning us so we’re never sure where to look, leading us on a merry uphill chase, and allowing us to think we may have reached the answer right before kicking us back down the street and into a stranger’s yard where everything blows apart and we’re left to try and make sense of the pieces.

There are few books that have made me this tense in my life–probably a result of the fact that I’m not big on suspense novels.  I don’t think a book necessarily has to fit into that genre to make my heart feel like it’s about to rip out of my chest and do the Can-can across the floor.  In fact, the last book that did this to me was Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop which is a fantasy novel.  But suspense novels are written with the express purpose of doing just that–they are wonderfully intricate machines of thought that turn you inside out.

What book is causing such delicious frustration that I’ve purposely left it in the other room because I really, really want to find out what happens next but am so twisted up, I can’t stand to turn the page?  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  It’s one of many on my long I’ve-saved-you-up-for-summer-and-now-here-it-finally-is-so-YAY!-let’s-do-this summer reading list.

What I’ve taken away from this experience is namely this: I need to go back in the other room and turn that page.  I need to read more books like these as articles or books on the craft of writing suspense because I WANT TO MAKE MY READERS FEEL LIKE THIS!

What are some books you’ve read–in any genre–that were so good you had to put them down?

Michelle Joyce Bond


14 thoughts on “A Book So Good You…Have To Put It Down?

  1. This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It (John Dies at the End #2)
    by David Wong is the only book I have read in years that I had to put down so I could savor it. Unbeknownst to me, before I read it, my portrait was imagined and painted by Spencer Matthews (never read it) who titled it “Maria Fights the Robot Spiders”. The painting, gifted to me, that now takes up a wall of the house, shows me as a two headed dinosaur boob monster with a giant robot spider coming out of my happy head. Serendipity? Perhaps.

    1. I’ve seen the film John Dies at the End but never read any of the books. I’m a must-read-the-book-first kind of person but didn’t know the thing was a book first until after I saw it! (ugh)

      I would still totally read it though since the movie was crazy-wonderful. 🙂

  2. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. I had to put it down in the first chapter because I knew if I didn’t I’d go on a reading spree & finish the whole thing before I wanted to. Now I’m almost done with it.

  3. Aloha Michelle,
    I know the feeling – but it has been a while. I still buy a lot of books, usually in airport book stores, but I seldom finish one. Is the problem “me” or “the books” – I don’t know.
    But I do know the feeling. I remember falling behind on everything simply because I couldn’t put the book down. I remember not going to bed because I wanted – no, I needed – to know what happened next. I remember not eating because I didn’t want to interrupt my reading. Yes, I remember reading John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. It hooked me solidly- oh so solidly.
    A Hui Hou,

    1. A kindle might help, especially if you fly a lot. Interestingly, many people tend to read faster on e-readers than physical books. But naturally if you actually like the feeling of books, it will take something away.

      1. I know. I’m going back and forth between physical books and my Ipad at the moment. The convenience of Kindle books is crazy. I felt like reading a book at 11:00 last night that I didn’t have, so I went online and–boom–download, read, massive enjoyment! Still…every time I pick up a physical book, I remember what I’m missing. It’s a bibliophile feel factor. 🙂

  4. A book I’m now reading Bunny Lake is Missing by Evelyn Piper. The tension and suspense make me so nervous that I have to remind myself to keep breathing. I have to put it down because I need to sleep and yet I find myself waking in the middle of the night wanting to read it. 😉

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