Sunday, 21 June 2015

Sacred pages, or, Reading Quirks, Part 7

I came across this on For Reading Addicts' FB page and it immediately resonated with me.

Yes, the same goes for reading books in general; who'd want to be disturbed? Unfortunately, that does tend to happen, and unless you learn not to go berserk every time someone interrupts your reading, I predict you won't be able to read very much. Or at least you might want to choose the time and place for that activity very carefully. ;)

However, the final pages of a book (usually more than three though!) are a different matter. Something about them just requires concentration and your full attention. It's not just that it's where things come to a conclusion (for most books; at least on some level) and, if it's been a good book, you're desperate to find out what happens. You don't want to miss a thing. But it may also be that, with the sense that this is the end, you don't want that end to come upon you abruptly. You want to linger in that world a little longer; maybe you're saying your good-byes to the characters (even if you don't think about it that way). It's a farewell and you don't want to rush it. And, after, you may be blown away by what just happened and/or feeling a little melancholy. Or utterly heart-broken or overjoyed or... whatever it is, you need some time to process.

I'm calling this another reading quirk, but I'm clearly not alone with this one. I'm lucky in that my DH shares the sentiment. Thus, as it can be impossible for a parent to find that peace and quiet to finish a book, we have an unspoken agreement. When the kid comes and wants to play, if one of us is about to finish a book any minute, we look at the other imploringly and say, “I've only five/ten pages left!” And the other immediately understands, whisks the kid away and puts her up to something (relatively) quiet.

Finishing a book is an emotional experience. It's important to be able to enjoy/suffer it in peace.


  1. Hi Ulla,

    "Finishing a book is an emotional experience. It's important to be able to enjoy/suffer it in peace."

    ...and that pretty much says it all :). I can only nod emphatically to everything you said. I love your "emergency system" for being able to finish a book in peace.
    I have been known to grumble something along the lines of "I'm kind of busy saving the world here", "we're at a turning point", "showdown" or just plain grunting when interrupted at vital points in a good book. Luckily, my partner is also an avid reader and doesn't take my lack of response in such cases the wrong way. And he also copes admirably well when I finish a particularly emotional book, and need a hug, or a shoulder to cry on.

    So here's to reading, good books, and understanding family members!
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Kathy and thanks for your comment. I just love your grumbling responses to interruptions! :)

      Yes, understanding family members! Where would we be without them? My DH sometimes finds me curled up on a sofa and sobbing, and when he asks "What happened?" I just bawl, "A book happened!" and he says "Come here" and opens his arms and holds me while I cry on his shoulder. A little later he asks if I want to talk about it. Only another avid reader can react like that; most people I know would simply tell me, "It's just a book! Get over it!" :/ ("Just a book..." Don't even get me started on that one. :P)

    2. "Just a book"... yes, let's not go there.
      I mean, try going to a sports-fan and saying "It's only a game" before a football/rugby/basketball match, perferably some world cup thing ... *lol*
      Have a lovely weekend,

    3. Haha, indeed! :D

      Hope you had a good weekend. :) We visited the medieval fair in Turku - I'll try to remember to post some pictures at some point.