Reading Books is Similar to Human Relationships

Recently, I was reading a book. Raakshas by Piyush Jha to be precise. It’s a thriller and is a story of India’s No. 1 serial killer. It’s about how and what made him a cold blooded, savage murderer and a serial killer at that. The story started with a bang and I was hooked to it from the word go. I read more than half of this book at one go and then I suddenly closed it.

No, I was neither bored nor tired. I had all the time in the world to read the book and yet I stopped reading it. The thing was that the book was taking me to new heights of reading pleasure and I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to prolong this excitement and happiness. 

And when I did pick it up again after a lot of delaying tactics and finished reading it, I felt as if I was having a heartbreak. I was sad that the story could not go on and on and that it had come to an end. It was like I was mourning the end of good book. Has this ever happened to you?

Have you realized that reading a book is like entering into a relationship with a book. And it’s similar to the relationships we have with people around us.

Here are the four different types of relationships I have had with books which are similar to human relationships.

You Had Me At ‘Hello’ : You see the cover of the book and you know that it will click with you. You read the blurb and the flirting begins and as you start reading the first few chapters, meet the characters, you are in midst of a whirlwind romance and with each turning page you fall in love deeply, in the most all-consuming way. I had this love at first sight with Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan, Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon, Marley & Me by John Grogan….

And The Spark Fades : The story in the book starts with a bang. There’s excitement and thrill with turning of each page, each chapter. And when you are moving on to build a deeper connect with the story, something goes awry and it’s all downhill from there. The relationship changes from intense to bland and that magical spark just fizzles away. You feel so deflated and exhausted and a bit cheated too, for you invested your time in reading this book and it leaves you unfulfilled. I have a long list of books that fall in this category.

The Accidental Relationship : It was just a coincidence that you picked that book. It’s not the genre that you read or not an author you have read before and it is just by chance you find yourself leafing through this book. And the next thing you know is that you are enjoying reading it and can’t stop yourself from reading it at every available opportunity. I had this relationship with a non-fiction book which is not my favorite genre of books. I picked up F?@k Knows by Shailendra Singh on a whim and I simply loved reading it.

The Slow To Warm-Up : You have this book in your hand and you start reading it. It does not excite or enthrall you much, but you keep reading it. And that’s because you are not a quitter or the book came with high recommendations or you are just stuck with that book. And then suddenly you are sucked deep into it and how! The book becomes simply unputdownable and  it stays with you for a long time. This happened when I started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling. I picked it up because everyone was reading it and felt that the wizards and kids were not my scene. But after the first few chapters, well… there was no looking back.

Like human relationships, the relationships with books are good as well as bad, but whatever it is, it’s a learning and growing experience as a reader! What say you?

With which books you have had these kind of relationships?

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26 thoughts on “Reading Books is Similar to Human Relationships

  1. You probably won’t believe me Shilpa but every time I finish reading a book, I feel heart broken, as if I’m moving away from a person, a relationship..and everytime I start one it’s with the trepidation of a new relationship… I was actually thinking of writing about this feeling too 🙂 but looks like you have covered it already:)

    • True that… books do have the power to make us feel so connected with them that leaving them is actually painful. Oh yes, not all sequels are as great as the originals. Take for example, The Da Vinci Code, I remember reading it till the wee hours of the morning to understand the clues, mysteries and puzzles…. and it’s sequel The Lost Symbol is lying with me for more than a year. I dont know how many times I must have picked it up and dropped it!
      Thanks Tulika, glad you liked the categorization 🙂

  2. Yes! Totally! I experienced this recently with Pride and Prejudice – I was so heartbroken when it ended. And it is such a complicated thing – you want to know how it all ends, but you don’t want it to end. 🙄

  3. Your post resonates with me. I feel the ‘heartbreak’ on completion of a good book. One book that does this to me- no matter how many times I read it is- The 40 Rules of Love. By Elif Shafak
    Thanks for a lovely article 🙂

    • Thanks for suggesting – The 40 Rules of Love, I’d love to read and experience it too. Thanks, Kamini, glad that you enjoyed reading this post 🙂

  4. Nice classification of books there…. I remember crying inconsolably after reading John Grisham’s ” Chamber “. Some books get your attention quite late but then have you hooked….Arthur Hailey s books are like that!

  5. You Had Me at Hello: Robert Ludlum’s thrillers.

    And the Spark Fades: Some of John Grisham’s later works. Ironically, some of Nicholas ‘Sparks’ later novels too.

    The accidental relationship: Dr Brian Weiss “Many Masters Many Lives” series.

    The slow-to-warm up: Stephen King. Always Stephen King 😀

    • Agree with your categorization. I felt the same for The Rogue Lawyer from John Grisham. Must check out Dr Brian Weiss “Many Masters Many Lives” series. I havent explored much of S King, but his Carrie, gives me nightmares still!

  6. Oh this is absolutely true! I love the books that fall into the first category. The books that entice you, enthrall you, hold you in the palm of your hand and won’t let go. It’s mesmerising!

    Such apt categories too you’ve chosen.

    *Does this mean you’ve broken the blogger’s block? Hoping so 🙂

    • Oh yes, the first category is an absolute delight! Wish could read more of these books.
      Thanks Shailaja, glad you liked this post.
      Blogger’s block broken? … Well, I am not saying anything! 😀

  7. Relationships and heartbreads are big words for me to associate with a book. To make me engrossed, the stories — whether of books, movies, or real-life — should be truthful and should stay consistent to the character. It should take full advantage of the complexity of character prevalent in almost all of us. That’s why I love Mani Ratnam’s movies or Jane Austen’s Books.

    Destination Infinity
    PS: Except for deliberately-inserted-to-falsely-excite characters like Mr. Darcy, Jane’s books are full of lively and believable characters 🙂

    • Agree… realistic stories leave a long lasting impact. I like such books and movies too!
      LOL @ the PS… the girls/women will not like this statement of yours about Mr Darcy 😀

  8. Oh soo…true all that you have said, Shilpa! many a times, the characters and the situations linger on for many days ….a few books i remember where the situations lingered on is kite runner, house of cards, namesake etc….

    • Oh yes, some books stay with you for a long long time. I so agree about Kite Runner. “For you, a thousand times over”… reverberates in my head still… so simple yet so powerful expression!

  9. I experienced the “And the Spark fades” type of relationship with the Divergent Series recently. I liked Divergent, Insurgent was better, but Allegiant thoroughly disappointed me. I left the book at 28%, and I don’t want to even watch the movie now.

    When I read the classics, I experience the “Slow to Warm up” feeling. Pride and Prejudice is one example.

    I liked this post, and will surely share it with all my bibliophile friends 🙂

    • I havent read the Divergent series, have heard a lot about it though! Yes, classics have that kind of feel about them. I felt the same with The Great Gatsby.Thanks Mithila, glad you liked this post! 🙂

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