The Book That Ruined Them All!

19 07 2009

woman_reading_a_book-otherI worked as bookstore manager for nine years—the best hourly-wage job I ever had. (Love those discounts, author’s galleys, and ARC copies!!)  I loved handselling my favorites to my customers. I giddily approached shoppers who appeared to have similar taste in reading as me so I could share the gems I’d recently discovered. But I will never forget one book that changed everything.

It was a novel, not my usual romance. Something about the Scottish plaid on the cover called to the Celtic-lover in me. I picked it up and put it down for weeks, always disregarding it for its size alone—a paperback at least 2 1/2 inches thick.  Finally I gave in, and oh, how my world changed. To me, that book was as close to perfect as I’ll ever read. I finished it in one weekend. Food, sleep, nothing mattered except finishing that novel! (same goes for the sequels—but that’s another story!).

I cried so much while reading the novel that when it came to handselling it, I got misty-eyed just talking about it. I will always remember the reaction of a frequent customer of mine when she returned after reading the book, which I’d heartily recommended to her. With eyes narrowed, she approached me and grasped my arm. She said, “I read Outlander last night and I just wanted you to know what you’ve done. You’ve completely ruined all other romances for me from now on. Nothing, nothing will ever beat that.”

And for me, some have come close but she’s right. One book changed it all.

I love to feel so connected with the characters and their journeys that I experience an emotional bond. I’m sure authors—romance authors in particular—want to tug on our heartstrings as their heroine suffers a setback. Why else would the author “torture” the hero? Do you have a reading experience that “ruined” all other books for you? Or maybe you’re still looking for that pageturner that you just can’t put down. If you’ve ever had a reading experience so real you had to have a box of tissues nearby, tell us about it. You’ll feel better once you get it off your chest.