The Enveloping Nature of a Good Book

A Tale For the Time Being, Harry Potter, The Crimson Petal and the White
When I think about what makes a good book, I almost always come to the same answer: I love books that truly preoccupy the mind. I love books that – regardless of whether they deal with the grittiest elements of reality, or the furthest corners of the fantastical – swallow the reader up whole.

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.

Any recommendations for books that have truly preoccupied your mind?


  1. I LOVED A Tale for the Time Being! I definitely think that a successful book (for me) has to captivate me. If not, why am I reading it? I'll have to keep your other recommendations in mind!

  2. It's probably old news, but I love your new blog name! It really suits your blog, I think. Feed Me Books Now was such a good name (I used to be incredibly jealous of it when I started blogging... why couldn't I come up with a cool name like that?), but it feels like you've grown out of it.

    I haven't read A Tale for the Time Being or The Crimson Petal and the White and I really must! Of course I've read Harry Potter, and I'm actually rereading the series at the moment.... Your post made me think, because the books I read don't always fully captivate my mind... A lot do, but some don't so why am I bothering to read them? I'm not really sure...

  3. I know it's typical but again, Harry Potter. That series made me forget about all the bad things that were happening in my life at the time I read the books. I have a lot of great books, but there aren't many that are symbolic of escapism aside from Harry Potter. I guess I've just not found the right books yet.


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