how easily it is to be drawn into another world by a novel. Summer is my novel reading time – I have difficulty maintaining a novel while I am teaching. I like to read novels in long, uninterrupted stretches, and those don’t occur too frequently during the school year. I have read a few this summer, including Peter Heller’s excellent The Dog Stars, but when the new Neil Gaiman book finally came available at the library, I jumped at the chance.
(Yes, I still use the library. I love to buy books as much as the next writer, but our house is filled with books, and I prefer to spend my book-buying budget on poetry and small press books that libraries don’t carry.)
So this morning, I sat down with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I was drawn very quickly into the narrator’s world and into the magic which so seamlessly introduces itself into his life. I read the whole book in one sitting. I wanted to know what happened to Lettie. I wanted to know more about those other visits to the Hempstock farm that are hinted at in the epilogue. I quite simply wanted there to be more.
Was it the most literary book I’ve ever read? No. Was it even the best Neil Gaiman book I’ve ever read? I’m not sure. But it was a few hours of being completely enveloped in a story that had me riveted. And I was reminded why I need to read more novels.