Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Way You Make Me Feel.

The Way You Make Me Feel. It's not just one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs, it's also something a reader can count on when they read fiction. When it comes to fiction--especially romance--it is always about the emotion. We've all heard that every story has been done before. That's true; there's only so many different story lines out there. But it's not the story that's most important, it's the emotions those stories evoke. It's the way an author pulls at a reader's heartstrings that makes all the difference in the world.

It took me a little while to realize that I choose a book based on my emotional state. I count on the book to either enhance what I'm currently feeling, or to pull me out of a bad mood. For me, it's the way the book makes me feel that's key.

Picture a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. If I'm lucky, I've got a steaming cup of hot chocolate, my favorite soft blanket, and a quiet house. Personally, I'm not going to read a romantic comedy set on the island of Oahu. On those cozy days I'm looking for a romantic suspense that's going to have me pulling my face under the covers, or one of those big family sagas that make my heart melt.

I've probably read a hundred secret baby stories and marriage of convenience romances, because I love the way those books make me feel. I have an expectation when I crack open the first page. And nothing makes me happier than when those books deliver on their promise to put me through the emotional wringer.

It is all about the emotion.

Judith McNaught's Whitney, My Love and Paradise, my two favorite novels, are the books I turn to when I really want one of the *sigh* moments. What are some of your favorite emotion-inducing stories.


Liane Spicer said...

My emotional state also determines my reading choices, Farrah. When I feel taut and stressed I pick something light, and when I'm mellow I want something that, yes, puts me through the wringer.

I'm looking at my shelf and mentally ticking the books, not all of them fiction, that wrung me out:
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Forever by Judy Blume [...the scene where she breaks up with the boyfriend - AARGH! Poor fellow. With his pants down and everything!]
Futures by Freda Bright
I Heard the Owl Call by Name by Margaret Craven
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
One Child by Torey Hayden
A Separate Peace by John Knowles.

[I haven't read any Judith McNaught but Perfect is on my wish list. I'll add these two!]

Genella deGrey said...

Again, GREAT post, Farrah!

To compile a list of my "Sigh" reads, I usually go back to when I first began reading romance.

Judith McNaught's A Kingdom of Dreams, Whitney, My Love, and Until You still do it for me.

I just adore Jude Deveraux's Velvet series, A Knight In Shining Armor - and Remembrance always makes me cry.

Julie Garwood's Honor's Splendour and Rebellious Desire will always have a special place in my heart.

Now I have the warm-fuzzies. Thanks, hon!!