I am normally a pretty fast reader, and when I get pulled into a book, I often find that when I am released (usually because the phone rings or I realize I haven't eaten for a while or someone interrupts my spell), I will have read a hundred pages in what feels like no time at all. With the Inkheart books, though, it's more like I'll make it through twenty pages instead of a hundred. On the surface, it didn't make much sense to me that it was taking so long to read the books--the books are written for young readers, so I'm not dealing with words I don't know or hard-to-read sentences or anything like that. These books are just slow reads for me.
Before I encountered good books that are slow reads, I probably would have guessed that not being able to read through any book at a normal pace is caused by lack of interest. That is not always the case (in fact, a lack of interest sometimes causes me to speed up just to try to get through the book). I am now finding that sometimes a book speaks to me at such a deep level that part of my energy is focused on digesting the deeper connection, leaving only a fraction of my mental space open for digesting the words I'm reading on the page.
I am infatuated with the world Funke created in her Inkheart books; based on its vivid descriptions, Inkworld is a fabulous place, and I want to feel the complex emotions Funke so painstakingly describes at every step of the story. I want to meet these characters--even the evil ones--because she has put so much thought into making each and every one of them a round character and not simply a flat, stock character who plays his destined role in the background.
And more than anything else, her books are making me want to write. Her words are sparking ideas in me that I had left dormant because my schedule has been rather filled lately. Her words are making me feel guilty for not doing what's on my to-do list. So yet another part of me is pulled away from focusing on the words on the page, pestering me about what I should be doing with my time.
Although I'm a couple hundred pages from finishing (Inkdeath is around 700 pages, so I'm still a good way through the book), I already know that when I close its covers, I'm going to love the series. Even now, I acknowledge that the second book didn't quite draw me in as much as the first one did or the last one is, but I can't say I don't like Inkspell. Maybe it didn't draw me in as much because it was like the second movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy--I watched it because I needed the middle part of the story, but the second movie was so dependent on continuing what had already happened in the first movie and setting viewers up for the third movie that it didn't feel like a movie in its own rights. The second movie was my least favorite of the three. It felt like nothing happened because nothing was really begun or finished in its duration. I think maybe Inkspell was the same way for me. I can't like it the best because nothing was begun or finished in its duration.
Why mention the possibility of a good book being a slow read? Because I've found a new twist in my reading journey; I've found a new definition of 'joie de lire'. I used to associate good books with my hypnotic reading states--those periods of reading where I forget a world exists around me, and I end up reading an entire book in one or two sittings. And now I'm beginning to realize that not all good books do that to me. Some books, even those that could potentially end up on my 'top ten' book list, will not cause me to go into a reading stupor but instead will make me feel antsy with inspiration and provocation, making it nearly impossible to get through the book at my normal reading pace.
Have any good books caused you to slow down?