You know that heart-achingly wonderful, bittersweet feeling you get when you finish an incredible book? I want more of that in my life.

(136 Posts)

That feeling you're left with when you've been utterly immersed in another life or another universe. I've just finished a wonderful series. Not high literature by any stretch, but beautifully written with characters who lived and breathed and moved me. I finished with my eyes full of tears and I feel bereft, but in a good way smile.

I want more of that in my life. What books have left others feeling this way?

Tell me yours, I know exactly what you mean! In the woods by tana French is one for me, plus her others but not to the same extent

HumphreyCobbler Thu 21-Mar-13 22:03:15

I found that I got this all the time when reading as a child and teenager. It happens much more rarely now I am middle aged, but I think that may be because I don't give books the wholehearted attention that I used to. I am hoping that when my small children are grown my life of the mind will grow stronger again.

Having said all that Mary Renault books always still do it for me, also Robertson Davies. I still think of Will and Lyra sitting on their bench.

partystress Thu 21-Mar-13 22:03:18

Love/hate that feeling! Life of Pi. Most early John Irving. Birdsong. Atonement. Non-fiction - St Caitlin's How to be a Woman.

I've just finished Robin Hobb's Tawny Man series (it's the third series of three books each, so I've read nine of them back to back!). I also had it when finishing the His Dark Materials books, The Chronicles of Narnia and <whispers> The Hunger Games trilogy.

Obviously I have a penchant for fantasy fiction, but it's about more than that - strong characters with themes of unrequited love and noble sacrifice really get me. I love feeling that strength of emotion as its not something there's a huge amount of in RL.

X-post with Humphrey - yes!! to Will and Lyra on the bench. And yes too to this being a feeling I often had as a child/teenager but that's harder to get now. God, it was wonderful being a reader as a young teen.

BertieBotts Thu 21-Mar-13 22:06:27

Oh yes I got it with The Hunger Games and HDM, definitely. I struggle to find adult books that I get so involved in.

Sometimes you can get it with a really good TV series too - Fringe has made me feel like that.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 21-Mar-13 22:07:44

Yes yes and yes! Haven't felt properly immersed in a series of books for years. Absolutely regarding will and Lyra - am currently on The Amber Spyglass with my year sixes.
In the woods was also a brilliant charity shop find - never read any of her others though.
I got very obsessed with a computer game called Myst years ago and I devoured the three accompanying novels to the point of obsession.
Will be watching this thread with interest... Have recently been recommended a book called Angel Maker and have downloaded the sample onto my ipad - not sure tough, it seems it bit annoyingly worded. God, trying to think of others now!

StuffezLaBouche Thu 21-Mar-13 22:09:36

Posted in haste, hence the drivel!

yorkshirepuddings Thu 21-Mar-13 22:12:32

I love that feeling. Only occasionally a book is so good I find it impossible to start a new one until I have finished thinking about the characters and imagining endings for all the little unfinished strands.

The most recent one for me was East of Eden by John Steinbeck - absolutely fabulous.

StuffezLaBouche Thu 21-Mar-13 22:16:09

Oh also, I know this divides opinion on here, but I read Captain Corelli when I was 17 or so. I had recently studied Mussolini, the War, etc and very proud that I was 'getting' the book. By the end though, I was absolutely engrossed. I cried at the shooting part.
Frustratingly, the end felt hollow and unfulfilled though, when I kind of felt the characters "owed" it to me to end on a happy note...

HumphreyCobbler Thu 21-Mar-13 22:16:25

East of Eden is a remarkable book. I read it as a teen, then again and again throughout my life.

Also just remembered A Town Like Alice and Round The Bend by Nevil Shute. I find these books linger in my mind.

I think that is the key thing about these books - that their characters and situations remain real to you as a reader, even long after you have finished reading it.

Mintyy Thu 21-Mar-13 22:18:24

I have read thousands of books, both professionally and for pleasure.

I strongly recommend Restoration by Rose Tremain. It is quite remarkable. I defy you not to cry at the end.

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Thu 21-Mar-13 22:20:32

The Handmaidens tale, anything by Atwood in fact.

Greenshootsandleeves Thu 21-Mar-13 22:21:03

All Hilary Mantel's books make me feel like that. They are mesmerising. I am so pissed off I have read Bring Up The Bodies, I looked forward to it so much and now it's finished sad

Other books that have had that effect on me:

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
Possession, AS Byatt
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
Most of Margaret Atwood's books
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

I had that feeling almost all the time as a kid/teen. It seemed to be easier then - more time to get really engrossed I suppose.

Greenshootsandleeves Thu 21-Mar-13 22:22:20

Oh Restoration by Rose Tremain is beautiful. I cried buckets. All the times I have read it grin

Greenshootsandleeves Thu 21-Mar-13 22:23:40

Frost in May by Antonia White also made me cry

Bertie - oh yes, Fringe did it for me, too. It made me feel like a teenager again!

stifnstav Thu 21-Mar-13 22:25:14

Love Warps The Mind A Little by John Dufresne.

Crazy, bonkers, heartbreaking, love it. When you described the feeling, I thought of this book.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. That was another highlight of my teens. Yy to anything by Margaret Atwood.

The Knife of Never Letting Go was also great. I do love a good YA novel (my emotional immaturity showing?).

Passiveaggressivecakeeater Thu 21-Mar-13 22:29:39

The Black Jewels trilogy. God that was amazing. It was my life for the duration of the books. <sad fucker emoticon>

Zatopek Thu 21-Mar-13 22:29:49

This Thing of Darkness-Harry Thompson

Recreating the relationship, verbal sparring and intellectual parting of ways between Darwin and Fitzroy (an absolutely amazing person "pioneer of the weather forecast, explorer, wonderful sea captain" who I knew nothing about) aboard HMS Beagle

It's long, takes a little while to get into (lots of seafaring terminology in first chapter) but it is absolutely magnificent- unputdownable by the end.

ozymandiusking Thu 21-Mar-13 22:30:21

greenshoots I had forgotten all about Frost in May!! Absolutely fabulous book,
and the sequel too but I can't remember the name of it. Do you know it?

Yorkshirepuddings - that's exactly the feeling I'm left with now. I want to be reading again, but I can't let go of my beloved characters yet.

Greenshootsandleeves Thu 21-Mar-13 22:32:52

I didn't know there was a sequel! You may have just made my week grin I have been given a date today for my knee operation and am stuck on my arse for another month, so am desperate for reading material!

<heads off happily to ebay>

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