The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, the best book I've read so far this year, did exactly that. The narrator, a literary seducer of sorts, ensnares the reader from the very beginning – "Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them." Needless to say, it’s not long before the reader's completely engulfed in Faber’s Victorian London. This book preoccupied my mind in a way I can’t quite describe; it had a captivating energy about it, the kind that enabled a peculiarly intimate relationship between myself and the characters. Ultimately, this book reminded me of the pure, unadulterated delight that comes hand in hand with escapism.
And, when I think back to many of my other favourite reads, they've all been very similar in that respect; it seems I love nothing more than to be completely enveloped in an author's world. It feels so painfully obvious to talk about Harry Potter, though I will – and for good reason too. HARRY POTTER is a series that just clicks with so many people, myself included. All it takes is for a reader to crack the spine of one the books, and they've apparated into a loveable and familiar world. For me, the series is the very definition of escapism – and I'm sure many will agree with me on that.
So, yes, I love books that are truly engulfing. A Tale For the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is another book that completely absorbed every element of my being; I felt involved in the character's lives in an unimaginably genuine sense. It's books like Ozeki's I truly adore; the kind that captivate you so entirely that you're unable to fathom how your reality can be separate from the book's reality.