In my last post I wrote about how I sometimes want a book to lift my spirits, to cheer up a bit after emerging from some dark literary terrain. Other times I need a real “page turner.”
Last month I was stuck at LaGuardia airport for 10 plus hours trying to return to Florida. Early on during the wait I realized I needed a book that would reel me in and make the tedious hours disappear. The quiet, beautiful prose of the literary novel I was reading was not going to do the job.
Picture an outdated, overcrowded space reeking of fried food, and cable TV blasting. Lines for the ladies room 30 plus. Who ever thought that stool-high, bar-like tables would be a pleasant place to spend the day and possibly the night? A place to plug in your devices? Yes. A comfortable place to read? No.
I downloaded a copy of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Problem solved. From the very first page I was spell bound by the pages of this literary thriller. The alcoholic protagonist was on a downhill spiral, but flawed or not, I cared about her. Now weeks later, I’ve nearly forgotten the brilliantly conceived plot, but not this character. That, to me, is a sign of excellent fiction.
And also, the right book for that time and place.