Monday, June 12, 2017

Books that keep you up all night.

Two books kept me up all night.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I was 14 and it was part of the school curriculum. I remember, all these years later, curling up in a chair reading and watching the sky outside become paler and paler.

I loved that book. The story, the characters remain vivid, most likely helped by the terrific Gregory Peck movie that followed.

My second all-nighter was Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I was 25, married with two children, and once again I saw the sunrise as I closed the book. GWTW had been around for years, yet I avoided it for some unknown reason. Then a friend lent me her copy and it became, "the book you can't put down."

I've read many compelling books since, many that I could have stayed up reading, but ended up putting down with a pang of regret. I've often stayed up well past midnight, but didn't have the need to keep reading through the night, desperate to find out what happened next, how the story ended.

Many books have that compelling urgency. Some have hanging-by-the-fingernails tension, dire conflict, and in romance especially, a will-they-or-won't-they-make-it darkest hour. I've been tempted to read the last page to find out, but I don't allow myself to do this. When I open a book I've made a contract with the writer, and unless it's simply terrible and I give up, I will read through to the end.

Will any of my books prove to be an all-nighter for some readers? 

– Cat