I am a stubborn reader; I hate to give in on a book. Once I sit down to read, that really is it. I am drawn in, stuck, like an explorer that has wandered into a plot of sinking sand. Even if the plot line is tedious and the characters are meagre representations of real life identities I struggle on, clenching my teeth and ignoring the brimming headache. I ignore the clichéd perfect characters, with their plans for the future planned out much like the perfect lines of an underground map. Strong, straight and interweaving they move gracefully through the lives of minor characters flawlessly. Give me grief and pain. Give me suffering that is raw and rare. Imperfection pulls me in and makes me tense with expectation. Life is not without imperfections, nor graceful or blemish free; we all dip and dive through the difficulties that arise, the uncomfortable moments and daily situations that cause our cheeks to blush. Tell me them in gory detail and make me wince. Then pull me down into the grief stricken moments. Give me a book that will make me cry for hours on end, or make me unable to pick up another book for another week. A book hangover shall we say? Knowing the brilliance of the last book you cannot help but stop yourself from starting another. Much like that bottle of vodka you downed last week eh? Give me blistering romance and painful goodbyes. Please make it difficult, like love always is. Love, is all consuming, it burns and it hurts. But show me that it can rise from the embers, new and fresh. Pull me along so I cannot put it down, even though my eyes are weeping from tiredness. Finally prove to me that real books are not always classics. Don’t make me struggle through another Dickens or Eyre telling me it is a classic that I must add to the cannon I have already read. Show me the lost gems I am potentially missing. Save my time for a book worth reading. Give me a book.