• By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 14 2010

I’m sleepy this morning. Have you ever noticed, though, that insomnia can make for a really grumpy kind of tired the next day, but the exhaustion from staying up all night to finish a great book is rather dreamlike? Last night I started and finished Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely. The book totally hooked me from page one and I just had to read it in one sitting. It’s exhilarating to become so engrossed in a fictional world that you just can’t bring yourself to leave it until the last page is turned. What’s the last book you read in one sitting? Are you sleep deprived because you’re doing this kind of thing five nights a week or can you count the number of times it’s happened in your lifetime on one hand? Okay…I’m off to get some coffee now.

68 responses to “Unputdownable”

  1. Avatar Rick Daley says:

    These days life and family keep me from being able to actually start and finish in one sitting, but the last time I did was INTO THE WILD. I read it on a red-eye flight (I can never sleep on planes anyway, so for me the red-eye was really a read-eye. Ba-dum ching.)

  2. yeah, i had an all nighter last night…wish i had been reading. my wife went to the beach for a long weekend with her friends, so it's just me and the four kids (under 6). the two youngest, who normally sleep well, decided to get up all night.

    last time i read a book from beginning to end: Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

  3. Avatar salarsenッ says:

    With four kids, a one-sitting read is tough. I'd have to say my closest was Ink Exchange. I read that before Wicked Lovely. Loved both.

  4. This has happened to me more times that I can count. Recently I've taken time off from binge reading to concentrate on my own projects but even then, I'm still easily pulled into an imaginary world that I don't want to leave…even for sleep.

  5. Avatar magolla says:

    I think the last one was THE LAST OLYMPIAN by Rick Riordan. Loved the series, the movie not so much.

  6. Avatar Bernita says:

    Happens to me frequently. I have Guy Gavriel Kay's latest, "Under Heaven" at the top of my TBR pile and I don't dare open it yet – because I know I won't be able to put it down.

  7. Gone with the Wind.

    I hated Scarlett at first, and kept reading to see why everyone was so facinated with the book.

    And then two hours flew by and I was hooked. Didn't look at the clock until the last page turned around 5am.

    Christi Corbett

  8. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Couldn't put it down.

  9. Avatar Mark Siegal says:

    CATCHING FIRE, a week ago. I started it at 10 pm on a Thursday, ostensibly figuring I could just read a few chapters. Yeah, right.

    I've read books in one sitting maybe a dozen times, though I much prefer it when possible. Helps me feel as if I've lived those experiences.

  10. Avatar Kimber An says:

    WHITE HOUSE NANNIES by Barbara Kline, because I used to be a nanny.

    Don't even get me started on how much I disliked THE NANNY DIARIES.

    Real nannies are career professionals. Many, like me, have specialized training.

  11. Avatar Michelle M says:

    The last unputdownable book I read was Changes by Jim Butcher. It came out on April 6th and I had it done by midnight. I did put it down for ten minutes at one point because the tension was getting to me, but I drank a glass of water, caught my breath, picked it back up and plowed on through to the end.

  12. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    I write most days until ten or eleven at night, and then "read for a few minutes before bed." We don't need to go into the list of books that have had me dragging off, bleary eyed and walking like a zombie at three or four in the morning.

    I keep telling myself it's all about market research, but have to admit it's the utter fascination of being pulled willingly into another writer's imaginary world.

    Enjoy your coffee.

  13. Avatar Holly Dodson says:

    I do this all the time. The most recent thing I've read that hooked me like that was the Hunger Games. I'll be adding Wicked Lovely to my list now.

  14. daemon by daniel suarez. amazing. hit me like william gibson did back in 1990s. harbinger of things to come. can't wait to read the sequel . ..

  15. I LOVE it when that happens, when you're fighting to stay awake because you just have to KNOW. Last time this happened to me was with Hunger Games. But I also sat in my car in a parking garage to finish the audiobook of Living Dead Girl.

    And on a side note, I'm meeting Melissa Marr tonight at a signing!

  16. Avatar Taryn Tyler says:

    First book I read in one sitting was Straw into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt. I had eye strain for a week and didnt' care. I re-read it a few months ago too.

  17. Avatar Kristi says:

    I LOVE that feeling!!! I've just added your book to my ever-growing to-read list. 🙂

    I seldom finish a book in one-sitting because of the toddler, but I did finish the Hunger Games in two days which was quite incredible for me! I'm now reading Catching Fire and savoring every second, dreading the end and the long wait for the third book.

    Nothing like finding a good one!

  18. A brand new book, which I read in one sitting the day it came out: CROSSING, by Andrew Xia Fukuda.

  19. Avatar Bill Greer says:

    I can't read a good book, and either finish it or try to put it down, before going to bed. It stays too much in my mind and I can't get to sleep. I always have to do something after putting the book down before even attempting to sleep.

    The last book I read in one "sitting" was Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. My wife and I were traveling to vacation and I started the book in the first airport. I laughed out loud and read passages out loud to my wife in that first airport, then on the first plane, in the next airport, and finished it on the second plane. Every time I laughed out loud, my wife chuckled at my obvious enjoyment.

  20. I read the first two books in Jenny Han's Summer series in two day. I read The Summer I turned Pretty in one sitting on Sunday night and It's Not Summer Without You in one sitting Monday night. It's the best feeling!

  21. Avatar Philangelus says:

    I have four children, so I'm really not able to do that any longer. The last time I read a book cover to cover in 24 hours was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

    Although very recently, I read a Jennifer Weiner novel in one day because I was too sick to get out of bed. It was a library book, too, so after that it had to spend 48 hours in my freezer so the next reader wouldn't come down with whatever I had. 🙁

  22. Avatar RissaWatkins says:

    I am with Michelle- Changes was awesome.

    I picked up Charlaine Harris's Dead in the Family and was up all night reading it as well.

    My husband shakes his head when I read before bed because he knows I might get caught up and stay up way too late.

  23. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    I just read in one sitting, Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See. Adore books I can't put down, and yeah, I get the dreamlike state too, you can't shake a good book for days.

  24. It must be a refreshing feeling to HAVE to know what happens next. I imagine that wading through the number of submissions that you have every month would make reading a little less fun.

  25. Avatar Lisa_Gibson says:

    Lately I have been reading tons of great books. I will have to add Wicked Lovely to my tbr stack. And yes, I know that bleary-eyed tired feeling.

  26. Avatar Travis Erwin says:

    It's been years, too many years to actually remember, but a great novel is one I sneak to work to finish when the boss isn't looking.

  27. SHARP OBJECTS and DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn. Just unbelievably compelling, heart-stopping and breath-bating. Crazy good. Entirely worth sleep deprivation.

  28. Avatar Steve G says:

    Time and Time Again by Bonnie Grove

  29. Avatar Dara says:

    I'm one of those that can only count on one hand the number of times I finished a book in a single sitting.

    The last one was Cindy Pon's debut Silver Phoenix . I was so drawn in that my husband had to come up and turn the lights on for me–I didn't even want to stop to get up and do that 😛

  30. Avatar Tracy says:

    I only get in "Unputdownable" mode when I'm reading a sequel to a series I'm really into. Most books, even the really well written and intriguing ones, take me a handful of days to read.

  31. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The last Harry Potter came out on the last day of our vacation. We bought three copies. One for me, one for my daughter, and one for my mom. We all three read it all of the way home and then on into the night until we finished.

    Wicked Lovely was good, but the sequel…

    Now I write all night instead orf read.

  32. Avatar Kathryn says:

    I just did this a few nights ago with The Virgin Suicides. Granted, I started on page 18 after reading the first bit during our class break, but it still counts, right?

    I've also done it with a handful of the Harry Potter books and probably a dozen or so others whose titles are escaping me at the moment.

  33. Avatar beckydoughty says:

    I read Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER in one sitting – an epic effort, and I must admit I somehow managed to prepare a few meals, bathe, do laundry, work, and converse while doing so. I did NOT sleep….

    I tend to read many books this way – I, too, once I'm hooked by a book, am not able to go on with life until I've finished it.

    Sigh. So many books, so little time.


  34. Jodi Picoult, the bitch, does this to me Every. Freaking. Time.

    I haven't bought House Rules yet. I need to wait for a convenient weekend where I can do without sleep. But it calls to me. . .

  35. The Ruins by Scott Smith.

  36. Avatar Monica says:

    Hmm…the last two: Living Dead Girl and The Hunger Games. Both were unputdownable.

  37. I just did this last night with Gregor the Overlander. Suzanne Collins, you are my writing goddess!!


  38. Avatar Brendan says:

    Yes, this happens to me all the time! I have to be careful about only starting a new book when I have no pressing obligations, just in case. I think the last one was LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld, but JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL and Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle grab me like this even when I re-read them.

  39. Avatar Nick Saw says:

    Mostly anything Chuck Palahniuk has written. He has a voice that I am easily entangled in. I remember Fight Club and Invisible Monsters being two particular books that kept me flipping pages.

  40. Avatar Mira says:

    Awww, this is a sweet post. It's so cool that you love books, Kim. 🙂

    Yes, I have a rule! No reading right before bed. Or I'll never get to sleep!

    But I'm making a list of books on this post to read much earlier in the day. 🙂

  41. Avatar Amy says:

    I'm a romance junkie (probably because my husband should be one of the Dudeson's-if you know who they are- and I have to live vicariously through books). So once I start a Harlequin book, I usually read them from start to finish in one night. It takes me about 6-8 hours depending on the book. So I put my 21 month old little girl to bed no later than 9pm and then I'm up till about 4am reading. I'm awake by 8am to get her to my mothers so I can be at work by 9am. My husband won't let me read in bed anymore because I keep him up.

    However, I have to admit (hesitantly of course) that the last books I read like this were the Twilight books, LoL. Yes, I'm a 31 year old twilight fan. I ordered all four books back in March, and read all four of them in 6 days. Now between a toddler, a husband, a 50 hour work week, and three dogs I was definitely walking around like a sleep deprived zombie. So romance novels are definitely my guilty pleasure. Shhhhhh, don't tell anyone.

  42. This is so true. Staying up for any other reason makes me grumpy. But finishing a good book is sublime. Just read Powerless by Matthew Cody, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter, and Fallen by Lauren Kate this way. All good.

    It's a little less dreamlike when your 3yo floods the bathroom while you're lying on the couch next morning, but still…worth it.

  43. Avatar Kate says:

    Towelhead by Alicia Erian.

  44. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The last book I read in one sitting was Jeaniene Frost's 'First Drop of Crimson', who happens to be Melissa Marr's critique partner 🙂

  45. Avatar beth S says:

    DEAD IN THE FAMILY by Charlaine Harris. I'm a sucker for her Southern Vampire Series.

  46. Avatar WriterGirl says:

    probably the 3rd harry potter book. after that i had to force myself to slow down because finishing so quickly made me sad. ha ha. if i find i'm speeding through a book like i did recently with "the help" i make myself stop. i hate that feeling after you've finished a great book and you don't know what to read next

  47. Water For Elephants. I devour a whole book about as often as I devour a whole cake — which isn't often, just so we're clear! But that 1930's travelling circus was a whole other world I couldn't seem to put down.

  48. Avatar Heidiopia says:

    "The Help"– read it over spring break at the lake in almost one sitting! It had a been a long time since I'd done that and it felt postively decadent. 🙂 PS. I have no idea what my kids ate while I was reading, but they all survived 😉

  49. Avatar _*rachel*_ says:

    One sitting? That's semi-rare for me, though I know I've done it for Lord Brocktree and Ender in Exile. My normal modes are reading, in which I carry the book around and read bits when I've got nothing else to do, and voracious, in which I read anywhere and everywhere (I do check before crossing streets, though). My last voracious/late-nighter was Son of Hamas, which is really saying a lot in that book's favor because I rarely pick up nonfiction, much less finish it.

    I'd been meaning to read The Hunger Games, and now it's at the top of my list. Thanks for the warnings!

  50. Avatar Jill Wheeler says:


  51. Chuck Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters, I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman, and Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott all pulled me in and held me tight until the last page.

  52. My memory is probably flaking on me, but the first one that comes to mind for start-to-finish in one sitting is Tamora Pierce's Melting Stones. And that was a couple of years ago. So, there's probably something else, but that's the only one that comes to mind. I've had issues connecting with characters and plots lately and have started several books that will never be finished.

  53. Avatar shaliken says:

    Without a doubt, "Silver Borne" by Patricia Briggs. I bought it the week it came out while I was at work. I got home and had it finished it in about two hours flat. It was awesome XD

    It was also about 2am, lol.


  54. Avatar frapoBlue says:

    never had the pleasure (or pain) of trying to stay awake for a really great book. Whenever i get one book and try to read it all one day because its that good, I stop, put it down and sleep. Cause the book deserves a well rested reader to be truly appreciated. If you read it through with half of the paragraphs swimming in and out of your mind without understanding, I don't you'll reach a climax you should have gotten if you really were paying attention and not trying to stay awake.

  55. Avatar H.F.West says:

    The Hunger Games.

    As soon as I read the last page, I had to get out of bed to go to college.

    It was worth it, though

  56. Avatar Nicole says:

    I came *close* with Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen and think maybe if I hadn't started them at lunch, I probably wouldn't have put them down.

    The last book…ok, bookS that I did not put down at all were The Hunter, The Chase, and The Kill – all of them from L.J. Smith's Forbidden Game Trilogy. Sure, they're relatively small compared to teen novels now, but whoo boy were they good fun. I still can't believe they haven't re-released those after reprinting so many of Smith's other works. I would handsell that trilogy like nobody's business…

  57. Avatar GalaktioNova says:

    Undoubtedly the best book of my lifetime, it was unfortunately too thick to read it in one sitting… Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg.

    I'm currently saving for a little box of solid gold to keep it in (a plain bookshelf isn't good enough).

    I fell in love with books before, including many of those mentioned by previous commenters, but Smilla has put all my life into prospective.

  58. Avatar Lauren says:

    I haven't read a book that has totally engrossed me in a while, but I'm always on the look out for another one like that. Essentially, I hope for every book I pick up to be that way, but that's not always the case. I remember when I read Dear John, the Twilight Saga, The Last Summer (of You and Me), Dreamland, and A Northern Light I was so into what was going on in the story I'd hardly come up for air. Those were really good stories.

  59. NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE by Sarah MacLean. I don't even count Historical Romance as one of "my genres", but I got this one free at the RT Convention and blasted through it in less than 24 hours. Then, because I didn't want to leave the characters yet, I read it again.

    I've done the fast-read thing with a lot of books I count as favourites, but this may have been my first double-read. No wonder it won the first RT Seal of Excellence Award.

  60. Avatar PT says:

    Last time I couldn't put a book down was ca a year ago when I got my copy of Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen's "Puhdistus". It has been recently published in (US) English with title "Purge" (ISBN 0802170773). Besides being translated into English, it has also been translated into 23 other languages and collected almost all Finnish and Nordic litterature prizes out there.

    I started to write a long recommendation but realized this blog is not the correct place. But check it out!


  61. Avatar Christine says:

    I just read the 4th book in Melissa Marr's series, Radiant Shadows. I finished it in 6 hours and ended up with raging headache, but it was worth it.

  62. Avatar Kathy says:

    The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.

  63. Just read Charlotte Featherstone's Sinful last night – up til 2:30 am. I was a little grumpy about the ending but it was an excellent erotic romance. The epilogue on her web site made me much less grumpy. 🙂

  64. The first three Harry Potter books in one week. I believe I read the first one in one day. I was 16 and on summer break. I don't have time for that right now, but I did spend most of Sunday finishing Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I love her books.

  65. Avatar Jacqueline says:

    The last book I read in one sitting was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the day it was released I advised my kids they were 'on their own' until I was done).

  66. Avatar R.J. Edwards says:

    I actually had two books keeping me up recently. The first was Malice by Lisa Jackson. The second was Step On a Crack by James Patterson. I finished each of them in a twenty-four hour periods. It is rare to find books THAT good, but they were well worth the sleep hours lost.

  67. Avatar _*rachel*_ says:

    Based on this trail, I just read The Hunger Games. (Well, found the audio because the book was checked out of the library.)

    You were right. I'm going to buy it, and probably the sequel, and probably the third book, too.

  68. Avatar -30- says:

    The last true, one-sitting book I read was Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.

    But the next tier, the two-sitting books are Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.