Great books can be sneaky.

Sometimes great books sneak up on me.

A friend asks what I’m reading. I tell them and they want to know how I like it. I answer, “eh” and I mean it. I honestly believe that the book is just ok.

But then I’ll find myself thinking about the characters when I’m not reading.

I’ll be brushing my teeth and wonder what Jane is going to do next. Or driving to work thinking about what just happened to John.

I spend the long minutes before I fall asleep at night figuring out what I would do in Jack’s situation.

That’s when I realize that it’s not just an ok book, but a good book. Something — the plot, that characters, both — has gotten into my head.

And as I get closer to the end of the story, I start to read faster.

I speed up, skimming descriptive paragraphs that I would have slogged through if they were in the beginning of the novel. I know they include important details and are beautifully written, but I want plot. I need to know what’s going to happen.

My eyes skip from the top of the page to the bottom, looking for clues. I lean forward as I read, a physical manifestation of my urgency, my overwhelming craving for a satisfactory resolution.

When I have to force myself to stop reading because I’m racing to get to the end, that’s when I realize it’s not just a good book, but a great book.

God, I love great books.


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