Most days are ordinary. Cycles of repetition. I wake up and repeat many of the same activities as the day before, much as I have for years. I do get a certain enjoyment out of repetition, as I will often repeat the things that I have learned from experience bring me joy and pleasure and positive benefits. But when it comes to books, I don’t like stories and styles that repeat themselves. It’s hard to get lost in a book like that.

As a child, I learned to read rather quickly over nightly readings of Tuggy the Tugboat, Clifford, and Curious George. These children’s books were marvelous for me, a child learning about this world. At that stage in life, I still hadn’t learned the difference between reality and imagination, that one is here and now and definitive truths, and the other is anywhere but here and very fluid and most often wonderful. But I did know that every time I opened the cover of those books I was completely fascinated.

When I was slightly older, but not yet old enough to be left to my own devices, I was confined to my room for “afternoon naps.” I am still suspicious about those naps. I am not sure if they were for my benefit or for my mother’s, who insisted upon them, I think because she desired to have a few hours of sleep when she didn’t have to worry about watching us or keeping us entertained and most certainly out of trouble.

A boy of four or five or six does not like being confined to his room for long periods let alone for long naps when he is not tired. I was no different. The assorted toys on the shelves and in the toy box could have held my attention indefinitely, but I was discouraged from making “too much noise,” while my mother slept. That meant my G.I. Joe wars were out and He-man had to contain his roars and my matchbox cars couldn’t race across the invisible tracks in my room. Those toys are not that much fun without the appropriate sound effects, battle charges and thunderous clashes of tiny toy parts.

I turned to books, first, to merely imitate my older sisters. And then with increasing regularity because of the sheer delight of slipping the bounds of this real world I was so quickly learning the definitive truths of.

Thus began a pattern that I love to repeat: pulling a book off the shelf and turning the page to new wonders. But of late, as I read more voraciously, it is harder and harder to slip into the realm of wonder, to truly get so lost in a book that I stay up late into the night just to find out what happens next. That’s why I’m especially pleased when I do come across a good book.

Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind is simply put: a wonder. It is one of those books you can sink into and hours later wonder where the time has gone. The characters possess the rare quality of being believable and identifiable and through circumstances become poignant and heroic. Patrick Rothfuss knows how to create just as well as he knows how to craft lively prose and authentic dialogue that makes you forget you’re reading and not experiencing. I couldn’t recommend a book more whole-heartedly. The only disappointment comes when you finish the book and feel the regrettable loss of something intimate and important.

© Seth Crossman