The Books That Haunt Us

5 years ago

You know how you finish a book and you die a little inside? I'm not talking about just any book, but a great book, one you were so wrapped up in you read as you walked down the hall to the bathroom, willing to risk tripping over yesterday's toys because you couldn't tear your eyes away from the page.

That book seeped into your soul.

You thought about it right before you fell asleep and as soon as you woke up. You became the characters. You lived in the fictional world the author so expertly created. You sighed when you gently set the book down on the coffee table, wishing it was just a few pages longer. Heck, you'd have read another chapter or two or ten!

You're a reader, so you've probably already got another book on deck. You went to the library or Barnes and Noble or a garage sale and picked out the next book that jumped out at you. You've got the one you've been dying to read, the one that had interesting artwork on the cover or the one by the author you always enjoy. It's sitting there, on the nightstand, looking at you when you walk by.

But, you can't pick it up.

You can't crack open the cover because that other book, the one you just finished, still haunts you.

Opening the new book, reading the first words, feels like a betrayal to Katniss and Peeta, Frodo or Prior Phillip or which ever character has been living in your head for a few days or weeks.

You were walking in Panem! You smelled the same fragrant flowers of Louisiana that Lestat did! You felt the geisha makeup on your face in pre-WWII Japan! You survived the super flu! You tasted the pumpkin juice at Hogwarts! How can you leave and hop into the next world so easily? Narnia doesn't even seem that welcoming anymore.

You know from experience the feeling will pass. You'll be able to take a jumbo jet to the next world. You'll befriend another character who'll be your BFF until it's time to say good-bye to him or her, too. But, for now, the first page is the hardest.

Rest assured, the pain will ease, soothed by the lulling words of another story. Maybe one book, or two or three from now, you'll get lost again in another world, another life. Until then, your trips to the bathroom will be much safer and you'll feel a little less wistful with each passing day.

What books haunt you? Which one affected you the most?


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