After the Last Page is Read

There is a unique feeling that one gets when finishing a novel. When one closes the back cover of a book, it isn’t quite over yet. If you’d look carefully, you’d see a fine trickle of fairy dust flowing from that last page and right into the reader’s mind – it is the story, refusing to lose its hold on a reader so quickly and to be put back on a shelf as if it doesn’t matter. The story would much rather walk around with the reader for a while, influencing his or her thoughts and ideas.

Stories are living things, full of their own characterizations, personality quirks, stylistic choices and charm. They can cause a reader to think seriously about an issue, to laugh hours later at a funny incident, to remember fondly a particular passage or simply to contemplate the way the story ended and what that means. Stories can play with their readers minds, causing them to jump at sounds in the night if they’re scary, or to sigh over a couple kissing if they’re romantic.

And so, even when a reader puts a just-finished book back on the shelf and leaves it, the story sticks around, replaying images and words in the mind’s eye. It is one of the greatest wonders of words, that they’re able, within a few hundred pages – and what are pages? Such flimsy things – to preoccupy the reader’s thoughts and affect them. Words are powerful, and stories focus their power.

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6 thoughts on “After the Last Page is Read

  1. Nothing can replace the feeling of reading a book; it is a one-of-a-kind experience. Personally, the content of the book I read is only a secondary factor; the experience is what I most cherish. Of course, reading a good novel does enhance the experience.

  2. theoates says:

    I agree completely; there are books that I read all the time that I find myself thinking about and contemplating for long after. Even at times I flash back to books I read years ago to think about it. Not only do the main stories provide interest but there are also countless smaller facets, such as what motivates one character to act in the way that they do, though this is generally reserved for the less fleshed-out characters

  3. chloë says:

    hi em, how are you(?)
    you’ve just described here in this post how i feel about reading your writting ❤
    i love reading books, my favourite ones are in my brain forever to remember

  4. I simply love to hang on to certain books. I’ve put a book aside before because I just couldn’t bear to end it. I feel sad sometimes when a book is over. It’s like the end of a relationship that’s been really good.

    I’ve just spent the last 6-8 months re-reading books that I read years ago and I was so shocked at how I “forget” them. They were surprises for me all over again. How can that be? Certain phrases or names here and there did come back but not totally. Not enough to put the book down as read but there was “something” familiar. I’ve been very shocked at how I forgot some of these plot-lines and the relationship I had with these books 20 and 30 years ago. I don’t love to finish books.

    Great post Ilana.

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