I've been absent for a bit - this is my first blog for a month. Mostly that's because I have a new job which has me working ridiculous hours, starting at 6am some days, finishing at 4am other days. I'm exhausted pretty much all the time. But I still shouldn't have left it a month, so for those of you who've missed me (thousands of you, I'm sure), I'm sorry.
It's very upsetting to read a book so good that you know, whatever you do, that you will never write anything to match it. Sadly there are many such novels. Stephen King's IT, Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of al-Rassan, Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs, to name a few. The one on my mind today is Six Moon Dance, by Sheri S. Tepper. I've read it before, but as with the other stand-out tales I'm drawn back from time to time, to immerse myself once more in the world and the characters as the story plays out.
That, my friends, is the definition of that elusive term 'good book'. It's my definition, anyway - a novel to which you keep returning, to read again and again, and each time find yourself caught up in the passions and fears just as you were before.
I covered some of this in a post last year, Telling Stories, so I won't bother rehashing every point. But I'd add that literature has an edge over other art in this sense, because if you hang a painting on your wall then sooner or later you stop really seeing it. Same with a sculpture. But writing, and also music, have the capacity to keep drawing us in with the same words and notes, the same segues and glissandos. I'm not sure I know why.
But isn't it interesting?