I like the uneven way novels control one's awareness. For a moment or two there is nothing but the action of the setting of the story. In the next moment, the words themselves stand out, some felicity of phrasing bouncing off the pages as words, as a sentence, simultaneously obscuring and revealing the action and characters, and then in the next moment the novel subsides into a book, not quite compelling enough to stand out against the chocolate beside the bed or a dog's bark outside the room. I like the languor of laying the book down, glancing around the room, and picking the book up, the quiet sounds of one's hands against the paper, of one's own breath and the rustling of one's clothes. And then the characters emerge again.
--Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel