A friend of mine recently asked if other people had similar reactions when reading a good book. Since this site has been heavier on the brainless fluff of late; I decided to answer the question here rather than in her comments.
When I’ve got a really good book in my paws, — mind you this is only for a REALLY GOOD book! — I’ll start reading and won’t notice the passage of time until either:
A. My bloodsugar has dropped from not eating in 8 hours.
B. It’s suddenly four in the morning and my eyes are tired so the words on the page start looking insanely small.
With a book that catches me like that, my head is totally in the book. People in real life can try talking to me, but they’ll get grunts for answers (at best). When my favorite character1 is happy, I’m happy. When they’re running through forests; I can hear leaves rustling and feel the branches drag across my face as I dash through the trees.
The last time I really felt this way about a book was when I first read the book that I’m currently reading, Ghosts in the Snow by Tamara Siler Jones. A friend of ours had gotten her hands on an early (review?) copy of the book and recommended it to my wife & I. Ariesna sat down and read the entire book while we were at the friend’s house that night. I think I managed to wait until we bought a copy of our own to read it, but once I did I started to get really angry.
I need to pause a moment here to explain about how I generally enjoy my entertainments. If the book/movie/whatever has even a reasonably decent story; then I’ll suspend my disbelief and just enjoy it without analyzing it. This is particularly true on my first experience with the book/movie/whatever.
And what exactly does that have to do with getting angry while reading Ghosts in the Snow? Ghosts is a mystery story with a fantasical setting and I was getting attached to one of the characters. This character happened to be a suspect in multiple murders and some of the clues in the book seemed to be pointing to him being the killer. The thought of this being true was making me too angry to continue reading. Eventually, I had to ask my wife if he was the killer because I was so upset about it that I wouldn’t be able to finish the book if he was. She told me he wasn’t but not who the killer was (at my request) and I was able to finish the book.
It’s for moments like those that I read.
1 This will usually be a supporting character. Why? Because the main characters tend to get all the glory while somebody else is doing more to accomplish the goal (e.g. Sam vs. Frodo).