A friend of mine has been reading the first two books in The Kingkiller Chronicle and absolutely raving about them. They’ve been on my “to read” list for a while and after hearing him carry on about how amazing the books are and how addicted he is, they’ve been sped up to the “must read” list. Now I am waiting eagerly for their delivery so I can see what all this fuss is about … well, I was eager until a recent exchange with my friend.
So excited about the story, the characters, and the books overall, he has been procrastinating about actually finishing the second book. With 22 pages to go, he is dreading the end. Likening the experience to a breakup, he has been lamenting the pending end to the reading experience.
“But,” I said kindly, “there’s a third book coming!”
“Umm … “
And that was when all hope was lost.
As far as I can tell, there is no set release date for book three, The Doors of Stone, and breaking the news to my poor friend eventually led to all kinds of analogies about breakups with books and the aftermath, which includes hanging out in libraries and picking up books, and my promise that there’ll be an intervention when we find him in a dark room sniffing stolen chapters.
The thing is, that’s exactly how it is with books. Like a relationship, you become so involved with the protagonist that you cannot help but feel a sense of loss when that relationship comes to an end, when you turn the final page and realise you’re not going to see this person again – all those memories you have, those experiences you shared, are going to end. Finished. Gone.
No one likes admitting a relationship has to end. So we draw it out. We get to the last 22 pages and maybe we read a page a day, hoping to make it last. The problem is, no matter how much you drag it out, the end is nigh.
Books – like men – mess me up. I do stupid things for the sake of books and men, and that’s probably why I’ve resigned myself to an eternity with the former over the latter. Unlike men, I find books to be much easier to understand. I don’t have to decipher the labyrinth of hints and innuendo, to work out what is casual flirting and what is genuine interest. Books give me everything I want without me having to dance around and figure out what all that winking and nudging is about. And I never have to deal with their mothers.
But maybe that’s the problem … Books get around. They make us beg for them and we love it. Books certainly aren’t interested in my opinion, my wants and needs. My poor friend is being abandoned by the very books he has spent weeks avidly reading, no matter the consequence to his social life or business. Now he has been left in limbo regardless of how he feels about the protagonist, how much he wants to continue being part of the story.
Books don’t care about us.
When I close a book, I’m not the only one who’s been privy to the protagonist’s inner hopes and fears, who has listened to him lament his losses and cheer with him as he celebrates his gains. There are others who have taken him to bed, others who have witnessed him at his worst, others who have seen him at his best … Oh, no.
Books have been cheating on me this whole time. Bastards!