9:43 PM

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Today, I spent almost 10 hours reading one book series.

This entire odyssey started out some time last week, when I decided to read "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief", before the movie came out on Saturday, February 12th. So I read the book.

And got insanely hooked. Like, crack cocaine hooked.

It was bad. I couldn't put the book down.

I saw the movie afterwards, and it was great, but of course, the book is almost always better (except you, "Coraline").

Having realized there was more than one book, I, naturally, had to know more. So I borrowed the second one, as I had done the first, from a friend who conveniently had all five. Talk about enabling. If awesome books were drugs, I would give the local narcotics unit a run for its money.

Saturday. WHOOSH! Second one, gone!

Sunday. BAM! There went the third one.

Monday. Conveniently, it's a holiday. And I had little homework. The fourth and fifth book, in their hardcover glories, never saw it coming.

And now I'm done, left grieving the fact that one of my favorite characters has, as normal in my world, died, and that the book series is over, but at the same time, getting teary eyed at the awe I have for Rick Riordan and his inventiveness and prose. His writing and his world melded perfectly into my idea of what a great fiction writer is. It was like Pixar, in book form.

Basically, go buy/borrow/scan the web for a copy as soon as you can. You won't be let down.

I think one reason I am so completely and ridiculously in love with this series, however, is because it had the ability that all books have: it submerged me in a world where the impossible happens, and I utterly and entirely bought it. The story drew me in like the mention of free food for college kids. One promise of greatness, and I was there. And it delivered.

There are a few great books/book series that I can remember getting almost possessed by; ones that I HAD to finish reading as fast as I can OR I WOULD DIE (caps for emphasis, though perhaps because that's how it feels, too). A few of these series, in no particular order:

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
2. The Looking Glass trilogy by Frank Beddor (still need to read the 3rd book, but more than ready to!)
3. The Sword, The Ring, The Chalice by Deborah Chester
4. The Grave Book by Neil Gaiman

I love to read, and yes, I realize that most of those are fantasy/sci-fi/heavy fiction. But I love it. I love love love it.

Mostly because it helps me imagine that I can make a difference in the world. Sometimes, you feel so small, that you have to realize that even a seemingly insignificant person can accomplish something great. I mean, the main character in "The Grave Book" is named Nobody - you can't get more blatant than that with the point!

But it's the epic tales, the ones that have no chance of ever actually forming, that make my heart soar, my soul leap, and all those other cliches mostly pertaining to love come true.

I love a good story. I love a good hero. I love it when people who turn bad turn back to good. I love when you get an answer to that unanswerable question. I love when an ordinary person gains an extraordinary ability. And all of those rarely happen in a world that is not two-dimensional and filled with words on paper.

I don't know how many other people feel this way after reading a great book, but you come down from a sort of word-induced high. You feel like crying, something so moved you, even if you're half wondering why you feel like that. And more than anything, for a brief, flickering moment, you think: perhaps it's all true? NEV-AH! Shouts Reason, and there you are, left holding a book, tears in your eyes, wondering "what if?" and realizing you should probably do something productive since you have class tomorrow (like write a blog post...).

Yet at the same time, you feel as if you've left a tiny portion of you within the pages of that book. Something connected, and both of you left a mark on each other - even if the mark you left is the stain from eating salsa while reading. And while it's saddening to think you can never experience that world in that book as a newcomer again, you leave with the knowledge that you have.

I know quite well why it is probably better that the world isn't filled with Greek gods, heroes, kids with ghostly powers, dragons, and events that catapult people into extraordinary positions of power. But sometimes, I'll admit, I wish they did. Life would have clearer white and black boundaries. I'd love to be a hero, or someone who had a distinguishing feature or power, or even someone who is normal and appears last second to save the day almost unknowingly. Yet the truth is, I'm not, and never will be, in the sense that these books inspire in me. And I can accept that.

But it's still with a heavy heart tonight that I go about business as usual, doing last minute forgotten homework assignments (putting off last minute forgotten homework assignments) and getting ready for my eventual meeting with bed.

Today, I spent almost 10 hours reading one book series.

And it was glorious.

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