Apparently, I've decided this is "true stories about reading" week, so I intend to just roll with that theme and tell you more embarrassing stories involving reading. Today's story finds 16-year old Kelly reading Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell in late June, 1980. (Yeah, you can do the math, or I can tell you straight up that I'm currently 46. I don't know how on earth that happened. But I digress.)
As I've already mentioned, I can get very caught up in reading. VERY caught up. So intensely caught up that if Tara started burning around me, Rhett (or Ashley, or, well, SOMEBODY) would have to scoop me on up and haul me out of there, because I wouldn't notice the hollering or the flames or the smoke as long as my eyes could see the page in front of me. And we've already established that I'm willing to read under really stupid circumstances involving moonlight and slivers of light under the bedroom door, so . . .
I took Gone With the Wind out of the public library, and I started reading it in the evening. I managed to put it down for bedtime, probably at about the point where Scarlett returns to Tara. The next day, I started reading it when I got up. I was done reading the book by about 3:30 in the afternoon (quick reader, remember?)*SPOILER ALERT* Although seriously, this is an old book at this point, so I don't feel bad about talking about it freely. However, just in case you haven't seen it, haven't read it, and still really want to, I thought it fair to warn you to skip the next part.)
I started crying at about 2 in the afternoon, when Scarlett fell down the stairs and miscarried. I started sobbing when Bonnie Blue died after a fall from her horse just after that. And I didn't stop crying until close to 4:30. That's right. I cried continuously while reading for something like an hour and half, and I cried for close to an hour after I put the book down. Because my crazy absorption in a book knows no bounds, apparently.
Gone With the Wind was not the first book to move me to tears, nor was it the last. (Heck - I cried during each of the last five Harry Potter books, and sometimes more than once. And during Guernsey Literary Society. And Looking for Alaska. Too many books to keep listing, really.) But it was the first book that kept me crying after I'd put it down, which is one of the reasons I remember it so clearly. It is also one of the first books to keep me crying for such a long period of time, and if there is such a thing as a "personal best" for crying time, it wins.
Has there been a particular book for you that made you cry and kept you crying for a really long time? And has anyone else stayed in tears after closing the book, or is that just me?