When I'm really into a novel, I'm seeing the world differently during that time—not just for the hour or so in the day when I get to read. I'm actually walking around in a bit of a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism.
I'm paraphrasing terribly from a theory I came across years ago, but there was this idea that everyone leads a kind of secret life. All of these things are going on around us that we don't process consciously but that stay with us. There's a school of thought that inanimate objects can make you feel certain things and you don't know why. You pick up a green mug and you drink coffee out of it and you're not thinking about anything except whether the coffee is good or bad. About an hour later, you feel depressed and you don't know why. Perhaps the mug is exactly the same color as your grandmother's. You're aware of the emotion but you didn't know your subconscious went through a whole thing—remembered something, relived something, and fed it back to you.
So a book can pull out responses that would be dormant otherwise. I find that a very valuable thing to have as a possibility. I'm not simply responding to the author's vision. The joy I take from a book is mine. It comes from me. What's on Colin Firth's Bookshelf? Riveting reads about family, fascinating passages from Rilke and the book he finds utterly intoxicating. Read more!