Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting lost in books

Benghazi, IRS scandals, kidnapped women--when the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, it's time to retreat into a good book...or three or four. I've spent the last week reading two books and sort of taking a vacation from the world and from my own work. Both of these are as yet unpublished, so I won't mention titles or authors but when the time comes I'll blog and post about them.
The first was a cozy, and I really really hated to finish it. I didn't want to emerge from that world and leave those characters, most of whom I already knew from previous titles in the series. I think one of the most important things an author can do is to create people you care about and a world you believe in. This was a horsey world of dressage, about which I have only a smidgeon of knowledge, but I liked it anyway. It was a cozy mystery--yes, people were killed and there was violence, but most of it was off-screen until the requisite final climatic scene where the protagonist is in grave danger.
For the last two days I've done little but read a thriller, intensely dark, utterly scary but riveting because as a reader I was desperate to know all the while how the victim was going to get away from the sadistic socioipath. Unlike the cozy, this was a world foreign to me--I don't live with violence, and I'm a bit in awe of authors who can create such dark evil. But still I cared about the good guys; I wanted them to survive. I think with such books you know it's going to be all right in the end but getting to that end is scary and has you on the edge of your seat. Instead of being loath to leave that world, I was anxious to read to the end, to the terrible climactic scene I knew was inevitable. It was everything I expected and more but I emerged from reading this one in a daze, struggling to come back to the reality of my own, much calmer, much more peaceful world.
I don't know whether or not having a vivid imagination helps you to be lost in a fictional world, but I am also a person who has vivid, Technicolor dreams (with sound), often bizarre, occasionally frightening but more often happy. But sometimes in the morning I'm reluctant to leave the dream world I've just been in and for a few minutes the routine of getting the dog out and getting myself ready for the day seems gray.
And then I turn on the morning news shows and there it all is--Benghazi, IRS scandals, kidnapped women. Who was it that wrote, "The world is too much with us, coming and going"?


Ellis Vidler said...

Nice, thoughtful blog, Judy. I like the way you become part of the world of a good book, sometimes pleasant, sometimes not. The quotation is appropriate too. At least in a book I can tell myself it's fiction. With the news it's sometimes colored by fiction, but it's hard to know when that is.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Ellis. I'm sure you know whose thriller I just emerged from. Going to make myself get back to my own world--and my own fiction--today.

Ellis Vidler said...

Yes, I know which thriller you mean--dark but very good.

That's what I'm doing now--working on my own fiction. I'm struggling with a plot dilemma right now, so I have some thinking to do.

LD Masterson said...

The nice thing about a book is if it gets too scary or sad or intense you can put it down for a bit. Reality just won't go away.

Judy Alter said...

Scary as it was, I couldn't have put that thriller down to save myself!