…and they aren’t necessarily works of great literature. Why is that? This thought occurred to me on the toilet last night because I am currently reading an unputadownable book.
My unputadownable book is called Wonder. I only picked it up by chance during a general book buying frenzy I went on with my children on Saturday (we bought ten books in total). I’m so pleased I did.
It is unputadownable because it is a brilliant book. It is better than brilliant. It is truly remarkable (so hence why I am remarking about it). I read over 150 pages of it yesterday. I had to stop reading at 10.30pm because my eyes were starting to swim. There are only a few books I’ve read in my life that are truly unputadownable in my opinion. They are (in no particular order):
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
- Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
- The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
- The World According to Garp by John Irving
- The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
- N-W by Zadie Smith
- Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews
- The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend (and The Growing Pains)
- Lace by Shirley Conran
- Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (and follow up titles)
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
- Hold the Dream by Barbara Taylor Bradford
- The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
The astute reader of this blog will notice that not all these are widely regarded as works of great literature. Some are, but not all are. So if it is not quality of writing, what makes a book unputadownable?
It might be partly to do with the time in my life in which I first picked up the book: as a teenager with nothing better to do (this applies to the likes of Lace or Flowers in the Attic) or maybe I was on holiday when I read the book (I devoured N-W in two days in Devon).
Sometimes a book is ‘unputadownable’ because I want to know what it is about it that everyone seems to love or I’m willing it to get better and reading with speed seems to help get me to that point (the Shades of Grey trilogy and The Da Vinci Code are both in that category).
Perhaps the unputadownableness comes because I relate to the story or the characters (in some warped way, Adrian Mole sits in this category). Or they touch a nerve emotionally (The Thorn Birds).
Are my unputadownable books someone else’s unputadownable books? Are there any reasons for being unputadownable that I have failed to mention?
Sometimes, though, going back to Wonder, a book is unputadownable because it is just plain very most excellent. Although having said that I’ve read some very most excellent books I’ve been able to put down because I need to have breaks between reading so I can properly deal with their brilliance.
I have about 20-odd pages of Wonder to read so what I am doing writing about unputadownable books, I’m not entirely sure. I need to read! NOW!