Are “page-turners” always “pulp fiction”?

New favorite YA book.

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the girl who played with fire

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Recently I read two books I rated 5 stars (or, in other words, “must-reads”): The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Both of them, in my mind, were page-turners in that I could not put them down and had to keep turning the pages to see what happened next, as in The Coasters’ song “And Then Along Came Jones.” And then? And then?

The Stand

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And then the concept of page-turners got me thinking about other page-turners I’ve read. Most of them, I can count on one hand, with the most prominent one being The Stand by Stephen King. I don’t know if I read it in one night, but I doubt it took me more than a couple of days. While I still don’t think King is the greatest writer in the world, I do think he possibly is its greatest storyteller. As I’ve mentioned here on this blog previously, when I read a King novel, I imagine I’m sitting by a campfire and hearing a person weave a tale for me. Suddenly, before I know it, I’m hooked.

Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of a classic book (by classic, I mean, at least 25 years old and most usually more than 100 years old) that I couldn’t put down once I started reading it, which got me to ask the question in the title of this post: Are “page-turners” always “pulp fiction”? So I put it to you, dear reader, are they? Can you name one or more classic books and by “classic,” using the definition I’ve given above, that you couldn’t put down after picking it/them up?

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12 responses to “Are “page-turners” always “pulp fiction”?

  1. Pingback: On brain-tingling authors and the end of the world | an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  2. Pingback: Looking back on my reading in the month of August (TSS) | an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  3. Walter Lord’s “A Night To Remember” about the sinking of the Titanic;
    Jim Lovell’s “Lost Moon,” that the movie “Apollo 13” was based upon;
    Sebastian Junger’s “The Perfect Storm.”
    Although the last two aren’t 25 years old, I decided that the rule didn’t apply to these white-knuckle books about true events.

    • I didn’t even think nonfiction to be honest. Nicely played, sir, and I concur on the first and last one. I didn’t read “Lost Moon” but now I’m thinking I might.

      • BTW– All three were made into movies. “Apollo 13” and “A Night To Remember” were very good adaptations of the books, while “The Perfect Storm” movie sucked Clooneys, especially because they wouldn’t let Linda Greenlaw, who was there during the loss of the Andrea Doria, play herself in the movie. She had here own spinoff book as well.

        • I didn’t think The Perfect Storm was that bad of a movie. However, it was nowhere near as good as the book and it wasn’t one of Clooney’s better outings, say, like Up in The Air or Michael Clayton. I enjoyed Apollo 13, but don’t think I’ve ever seen A Night To Remember.

  4. Pingback: Scrapping reading plans and starting over (sort of) | an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  5. Good choices, I think The Stand is the best thing I have ever read in turns of epic page turner and totaly mind bend. Havent read the Dragon Tattoo books yet, this first one

    As for classic page turners, try Wuthering Heights. Yes really. And The Talented Mr Ripley plus its sequels and spin-offs. Or anything but Highsmith.
    And not the movie or BBC version or whatever, the book. They totally work.

  6. If Twilight was never made into a movie I might have read them, but I can’t read them with that pale skinny pouty faced boy in my head. He gives me the shivers.

  7. THE SLAVE by IB Singer; ALL THE KING’S MEN by Robert Penn Warren; A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, cant’ remember teh author, whoops.

  8. Ack. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but The Twilight books were page turners for me.

    And I was soooo annoyed with the main character Bella. I really didn’t like her, but yet I couldn’t stop reading until I knew the ending.

    Weird, huh?

  9. Jane Eyre. And don’t tell me its a ‘girls book’. Read it.