Do you remember the very first book that you read, the one that opened up the reading world for you? Perhaps it was a childhood book—maybe it wasn’t even a book that you read, but was read to you. Maybe your parents modeled reading and you picked up the habit that way. Or was it in school, with a teacher who introduced you to the world of books? Or maybe you fell in love with reading when you were older, when a season of life gave you the opportunity to explore what everybody was talking about from a best seller list.
I remember my mother telling me stories when I was a child, which inspired me to make up my own. But I also remember being given Nancy Drew books, and then discovering my first romance when a neighbor was selling the old Harlequin books for ten cents each. Wow! What a find. I had a dollar and spent all of it that day, then broke into my piggy bank the next day and went back to buy five more.
Do you remember how you felt when you read your first favorite book? Did your heart rate pick up because the character whose eyes you were using was in danger, or surprised, or falling in love? Did you laugh right out loud over something they said that so perfectly reflected their personality? Watching a movie can do all of that, but most readers agree that books do it better, simply because of the total immersion that happens when we’re transplanted to a story world. A movie might provide great visuals, with colors and music and costume and settings but books aren’t limited by the actors or the interpretation of directors or the dimensional separation between us and the screen—the action is right there inside our heads, touching our soul. We’re living the story we bond with.
Or at least that’s the ideal! That’s how it is for me when I’m reading a great book, one where I wouldn’t change or rewrite a word, when I’m so caught up in the story I’m not even aware that someone else made up this world I’m now inhabiting. I’m just . . . there.
How about you? Is there anything that beats the feeling of total immersion into a good book?