You buy a book, rush home and flip to the first page. You start to read, and then, you become so engrossed in the book that you lose track of time. You no longer know whether it is day or night, nor do you even care. You read and you read, you read until you pass half of it and then, dread seeps in. You want to finish the book, you want the characters to end their stories, may it be a happy ending, or a sad one. You want to set them free. At the same time, you aren't ready to say goodbye yet. So, you read a little slower, take your time and give them theirs. Slowly, yet inevitably, you reach the last chapter. By then, the characters aren't just alive in your imagination, they are crystal clear. You can hear their voices clearly and see them dressed in all their different outfits and could even see the rooms they enter/exit and the roads they travel on.
However, no matter how slow you read, and how much you prolong it, it happens. You reach the last page, the last few words and then, you read "The End". These two words are bittersweet. You are happy that it ended for their sake, but your sad because, it is like saying goodbye to a friend. It is as hard to say goodbye to the characters as it is to say goodbye to friends. Why is that? Well, for a brief moment in time, you are allowed in to their world, you share their secrets, celebrate their triumphs and cringe at their failures. They become a part of you as you become a part of them.
I just finished reading one of the best books I have ever read. The best thing about the book is that it is many stories in one. I must admit, in the beginning, it was a little hard to get into it, but eventually, I really had a hard time putting it down. I'm really sad that it had to end. Some books you just wish would go on forever and ever. This is definitely one of those. The book is called "The Hakawati" by Rabih Alameddine. He is a Lebanese American and the book is written in English, so nothing is lost in translation. The best part of this book in particular and any book in general is when you can relate to it. Family dynamics and societal ones are similar all over the world, and so, anyone can relate to it somehow. I highly recommend it.
One of my favorite paragraphs:
" Uncle Jihad used to say that what happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of those events that affect us. My father and I may have shared numerous experiences, but, as I was constantly finding out, we rarely shared their stories; we didn't know how to listen to one another."