Reading Dilemmas: Gulp or Sip

Today’s post is a little different from my usual posts (though what is usual when you’ve been posting for less than a month?). I wanted to talk about one of the dilemmas I face as a reader. Like most readers, I have many, but this one came to me and I wondered how other people deal with it. So let’s dive in. 

Reading a good book is like eating an amazing dessert. You try to take your time and savor each bite. You want to stretch it out and make the experience last. You try to identify every note or hint of flavor. You take a small bite, spoonful, or forkful, closing your eyes so there’s one less sense to compete with your sense of taste. At least, you try to. Usually in this scenario, as much as I want to slowly savor every last bit of it, I find I can’t make it last nearly as long as I want to.

Similarly, sometimes I try to read a book slowly, but I can’t. I love the journey the story is taking me on and I don’t want it to end, yet I can’t stop turning the pages. Every time I put the book down, it calls me back. I will sit down, only intending to read a chapter or two, and look up hours later having devoured the whole thing in one sitting.

 (Note: One Good Man & The Marine Next Door are both the first books in compulsively readable mini-series by romantic suspense superwoman author, Julie Miller. I’m ADDICTED to the Precinct series and every mini-series within the series)

I’ve come to realize some books are gulp books; you drink deeply from them and finish them before you know it. Gulp books aren’t confined to a certain genre or a statement on the depth of the material–I’ve gulped down both books of substance and less stellar but equally compulsive reads. There are some books you just can’t stop reading until it’s finished.

Then there are the books you sip. Sip books are the ones where you read a sentence, paragraph, or page, sometimes a whole chapter, but then you have to stop and stare into space, take a walk, think deeply about your life choices. These are the books where Truth punches you in the chest and you need a moment to recover, where the beauty of the prose steals your breath and it takes you some time to catch it. It’s the book you close with a finger holding your spot as you try to put the pieces of your brain back together because “wow.” These are the books you have to stop reading and process before you go back in.
 (If you’re in the market for a truly beautiful memoir, the kindle version of The Prisoner’s Wife is currently $0.99! Click the book and grab it now!)

Some of the best books I’ve ever read find a way to combine both these disparate characteristics into one book. There a lines that cut deep and make you stop and think, and there are whole sections that won’t let you step away. Pages where you throw the book in frustration, then hurry over and flip back to your spot because “gah!” you have to know what happens next.

Now it’s your turn. Which type of book do you prefer–gulps, sips, or a blend of both? Feel free to share your top picks for each category in the comments below.

XOXO,

Erica

P.S. Don’t be surprised if you see posts about any of these titles in the future 😉

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