Yesterday I had lunch with a Senior Editor at a house that publishes fiction for women. Not only was she intelligent, (I mean Senior Editor, obvi) but conversation also came easily. We mostly discussed books, movies and pregnancy (she is 5 months along). More specifically, we examined what exactly makes certain books stand out more than others. I brought up the idea of a book's “stickiness;” a quality that describes how long a book’s themes and ideas remain in your head days, or even weeks, after you read it. In other words, how much does it “stick”.
Looking back on my favorite novels, I’ve come to find that stickiness is an essential element in each of these books. The more I discussed these books with others or the more I contemplated their underlying themes all contributed to their stickiness.
Think about it. If you had 30 minutes to construct a list of books you have read in your lifetime without looking at your bookshelf or heading to Amazon, what percentage of the total books would make the list? My guess – 60% (maybe more if you have an insanely good memory, or just haven’t read very many books). And what books would make the list? Those with a high sticky factor.
Therefore, my new approach to reviewing books has changed. I have decided it is best to wait a week or more after I finish a novel to discuss it. Not only will this method allow me to think about the book further, but I will have a better assessment of its lasting impact.
The good news? Mrs. Senior Editor liked the concept of stickiness as well :)
“Sticky” books soon to be reviewed: Persepolis 2, Shadow of the Wind and Prep