Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What do you remember about your favorite books?



Last week, I listened to the audio version of Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers. I loved it. I loved the language, how the words fell into my living room and wrapped themselves around me, and I loved the warm, soft feeling of the story. And the images... The scene where Sean and Frannie are sitting at the window and Sean talks about his bridge will stay with me forever. As will Frannie's struggle to find hope. And I had to listen to the part where they described the color yellow over and over again.

It's the feelings about a book that stay with me.  The plot will fade.  It always does. Even with cliff-hanger stories like Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games, there are huge chunks of plot that I won't remember. I loved the edge-of-your-seat twists and turns in that story, and there are unforgettable scenes in that book. But what I remember most are the feelings I had while reading it. Anxiety. Tension. Surprise. I remember falling asleep at 3am and waking up at 6, determined to finish it and not really caring if the house fell down around me until I did.  

Sometimes I think I'm having one of those senior moments, but it's always been like this.  Books are like my other memories. I remember images, characters (or in real life, people) and how I felt during the experience.  I wonder if I'm alone.


How about you? What do you remember most about your favorite stories?

14 comments:

Mary Witzl said...

You're right: books create a whole unique atmosphere and years after the storyline has faded from your memory, the feeling remains. I often reread books, having spent years in countries where books in English aren't cheap or easy to find, and quite often I find I've forgotten what happened, but remembered the joy, the feeling of intrigue, the wonderful tension.

Two of my favorite childhood books were Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I loved the sense of adventure, the feeling that I was on a trip with them and had no idea what they were going to find around the curve of the river, or what crazy person was going to come along next.

nanmarino said...

Mary, In the end, it's all about that tension, intrigue, joy.. I didn't read Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn until I was in my twenties. (I would have loved it as a kid.) But Anne of Green Gables was that book for me. I loved the feeling of it so much that I made my husband trudge up to Prince Edward Island on one of our vacations.

karenbschwartz said...

For me, it's outlandish humorous characters that stick with me. Like Ramona, Junie B, Fudge, Anne, etc.

Katia Raina said...

Hi Nan! For me it's the characters -- it's like they're people you used to be friends with -- or once went to school with or something. Also, sometimes, it's the scenes -- a particularly scary scene -- or a tense scene that will stay with me for years . . .

Katia

nanmarino said...

Karen & Katia, Interesting how you both said characters. I remember characters too.
Karen, For me, they don't always have to be humorous. Although I think you're right. There's something about the funny ones that makes them stick.
Katia, Yes. They do feel like old friends, don't they.

Serenissima said...

I agree that it's the feelings the book creates that stay with me. My favorite reads have given me a sense of mystery and discovery.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

oh yes, characters stay with me like that. Also things I learn, like Valley of the Horses and flint knapping. That will always stay with me for some reason.

nanmarino said...

Serenissima, I like that. A sense of mystery and discovery is a good way to define it.
TerryLynnJohnson, It's so funny you mentioned flint knapping. I didn't know what that was until yesterday when a library customer called a person who lived here in NJ "the best flint knapper in the country". I had to ask about it. Interesting, how flint knapping was mentioned twice in a 24 hour period.

Medeia Sharif said...

I forget huge chunks of plot and character, but I remember the feeling the book gave me. My favorite books--whether they're romance, horror, or mystery--make me feel cozy, as if I read the book under a comforter on a cold day.

nanmarino said...

Medeia, I like your word, "cozy". Maybe it is all about feelings and that's why we like to curl up with good books.

Medeia Sharif said...

Nan, remember how you left a comment on my blog post for a book giveaway. You won! I'll email you soon.

nanmarino said...

Wow! I never win contests! I'll email you my address! Thanks, Medeia!

Medeia Sharif said...

Ok, Nan. My email is sharif(at)sharifwrites(dot)com.

saputnam said...

It's definitely the feeling the book creates that stays with me. Yes, it's the characters and plot that make me want to read the book in the first place... but in remembering the book it's the scenery that does it for me.

For example in the Nora Roberts trilogy, Gallaghers of Ardmore, I don't really remember much about the characters but can easily remember the warmth of the pub's fireplace on a rainy evening and the smell of the grass and flowers in the Irish moonlight, as well as the whisper of the sea.