Writing | Culture | Learning | Reading

The Lingering Glow of a Great Book

There’s a feeling that lingers in you when you finish a magnificent book, a glow that feels a lot like the feeling you have when you’ve had a wonderful conversation with an old friend, returned from a beautiful vacation, or still feel the magic stay in the air well after a stunning sunset slips beneath the horizon. For all the bickering and sickness and change in the world, we know delight and wonder when we feel them. For it makes us forget everything else in the world and celebrate that one brief moment for all it brings to us.

“Alexander Rostov was neither scientist nor sage; but at the age of sixty-four he was wise enough to know that life does not proceed by leaps and bounds. It unfolds. At any given moment, it is the manifestation of a thousand transitions. Our faculties wax and wane, our experiences accumulate, and our opinions evolve—if not glacially, then at least gradually. Such that the events of an average day are as likely to transform who we are as a pinch of pepper is to transform a stew. And yet…” — Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

It would be a disservice to you to offer more than this. Like life itself, this book unfolds before you, revealing wonder and delight and frustration and finally that lingering affection for a novel that has no right to grab you by the shoulders, spins you around and firmly shouts, “Look! Do you see it now? This is how it’s done!”

When you finish a book that completely captures your imagination, that becomes an old friend in the span of a few days, you want to raise your own game. You feel the stirring warmth and the catch in your throat from the magic you’ve been breathlessly consuming. You see once again just what is possible should you commit yourself to it. If you’re wise, you surf that swell of emotion to places beyond the pages of the very book you’ve finished. The very best storytelling lingers, and it inspires greatness within us.

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