How does a good book makes you feel?
A good book can be likened to good food. Depending on whether it’s a new dish or something you only sample on occasion and your own eating habits, you might eat it slowly, relishing and savoring the congregation of various exotic spices on your palate. Or your ravenous hunger could get the better of you, with said congregation of exotic spices becoming more of a melee, albeit guaranteed no less satisfying a culinary climax.
The effect of good food is seen not only when your molars are chomping and your tongue slurping but also in the exact sound of the belch, sigh, yawn, or type of lip-licking, lip-smacking, tooth-picking, or any other peculiar post-meal rituals you may display. Similarly, the effect of a good book is seen not only while it holds captive your senses but in how you feel after reading it.
The Emotion Factor
What a good book does to you is elicit emotions. Some books build up slowly, collecting various components of a figurative arsenal that will then be unleashed in a blockbuster of a climax, leaving you feeling exhilarated at the end in a manner not too dissimilar from an ecstatic orgasmic outpouring.
Reading other books, the reviews of which are often accompanied by the word “gripping,” feel like the tension of being caught pants down in an illegal act, the unbearable pressure and anxiety that comes when the authorities are inches away from finding crack in your pockets or catching a whiff of healthy, burning greens inside your car. Such books have you in their grip throughout, and it’s often only “earth to Dave” after you complete reading it, sometimes in one long stretch.
Anyway, I digress. If you’ve read a book that made you feel as described, you most likely felt any one of these ways afterward:
Sadness and Tears, Sorrows and Prayers
We’ve all read that one book that drove us to tears and made us truly sad and sorrowful. We felt deep sadness for a character or two at their travails or deaths and, in the case of the less steely-hearted among us, moistened the pages of the book with our tears.
Books are truly powerful things to inspire such deep emotions in us as to feel the pain the characters feel, experience their sorrows, and unconsciously utter prayers for them in their darkest hours.
Among the many genres that I’ve read and enjoyed, African Literature, in particular, seems not to lack such books. In fact, the exact subgenre, which I call Afro-Depression, is littered with solemn stories by Black African authors that are sure to make you sad. An example of a book that inspired such feelings in me was Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.
Despite how they make one feel, I believe that sad books are necessary. What many strange events occur in this world, if not painful and sorrowful?
Anger and Blind Rage
Another thing that a good book can do to you is make you outright mad. It’s a great book, sure. Awesome plotline, definitely. But then, all you want to do is get your shaking hands on the main character and wring the life out of them. This is often the case when the characters don’t do as you expect and regularly make the worst possible decisions, such as in Ore Agbaje-Williams’ debut novel The Three of Us.
This feeling doesn’t always start out as anger, though. From the start, it grows slowly from mild irritation before evolving to frustrated displeasure and, finally, anger. If you’re a reader quick to get into your feelings, you may feel blinding rage after reading such books and be tempted to chuck the book across the room or smash your Kindle into the floor in frustration.
Just remember that books with broken spines aren’t aesthetically pleasing, and the price of eBook readers is increasing monthly, thanks to inflation.
Happiness and Bliss
Hello to you, o reader of romance and all books with happy endings. You’re not sadistic like the readers of Afro-Depression. You understand that life is tough but prefer focusing on the good side of things. You love to read happy endings, and no matter how cliche or predictable the stories are, you bask in the euphoric bliss and smug satisfaction that comes at the end. In fact, the feelings are so good that they often strengthen you, encouraging you to forge through the dark tunnels of your own lives with the promise of more than a silver lining at its bleak end. Books like The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi and Six of Crows are what you enjoy, and no matter how much suffering the MC goes through, you keep reading because you look forward to the end justifying the means and your favorite characters finding eventual paradisiacal respite from their many sorrow.
I like happy books a lot. While I appreciate sad books occasionally, I generally struggle to hold in bad vibes. So, I avoid anything that’ll make me feel terrible, which includes reading sad books.
Solemn and Ponderous
Sometimes, certain reads can make you solemn and ponderous. This is often the case when you read a book with strong thematic elements that often make you pause your reading to ruminate over the matter. Such books heavily draw inspiration from real-world issues, making you think hard about certain events in the plot and how they are mirrored in everyday society.
While sad books like A Spell of Good Things tend to give this effect the most, certain other reads such as Scott R. Bakker’s The Warrior Prophet and Shroud of Eternity also inspire a deliberate, solemn mulling of plot proceedings and how they interact with one another.
In truth, there’s hardly any good, quality read that won’t have you pause to contemplate at least once throughout the read. Nevertheless, I’ll quickly point out that certain readers are natural overthinkers. They ponder the motive and potential effects of every action, often going as far as searching for spoilers to quench their self-aroused curiosity.
This category of readers, interestingly, is more likely than other readers to detect plot holes.
Another thing that a good book makes you feel is nostalgia. This is the rarest of the emotions highlighted in this piece, so you may or may not have experienced it before.
It is one thing for a book to evoke feelings. It is quite another thing for it to induce memory. When a book’s plot, characters, writing style, or setting are done such that they bring forth old memories of your personal life, it’s a unique thing. Such books can spur a reader into a brief dreamlike state in which they dwell on a particular memory when they happen upon certain scenes that are all too familiar.
With such books, it feels like the author speaks directly to you, and the after-effects last long after you’ve read the final page.
How does a good book makes you feel?
Have you read books that make you jolly, sad, mad, nostalgic, or thoughtful? If there’s one thing that a good book does, it’s to inspire emotion in you. A book that inspires none no feelings is your soul is like a bland, tasteless meal that does nothing but quench your hunger.
While food is primarily an item for biological sustenance, what makes eating one of the biggest pleasures in human existence is its capacity to transfigure upon entering the palate, compelling you to utter delighted moans with each delicious mouthful.
If a book doesn’t incite ANY such strong feelings, whether positive or negative, do yourself a favor and DROP IT! Life’s too short to read bland books.