I have just finished E.M. Forster's "A Room With a View." If you have not read it lately, I recommend that you do. It contains all that a book should: Truth, beauty, hope.
Sometimes, a book affects me this way. Making my breath come fast, my cheeks flush, my heart beat, merely from the truth and beauty of it. When I read a book that is truly successful, it touches me, in a physical way—with tears, with a tangible joy; a feeling of soaring, of extending somehow beyond myself, a strange and marvelous connection. It is not the plot that affects me thus—I never cry at the death of a character, rarely rejoice in a long-awaited reunion of lovers. It is the Truths behind the words—it is always the ideas—that affect me in this way. And this is the power of writing: the power of speaking to the soul, a power that is unique.
I dare not hope to harness such a power—this ability is bestowed on infinitely fewer mortals than live to see their names in print—but if I can channel even a small fraction of this gift, even just once in my life, I will have achieved something wonderful; I will have experienced a euphoria unintelligible to those who have never sought it.
In the meantime, I can only bask in the accomplishments of others, awestruck, benefiting immeasurably from their ability to somehow compress Truth and fit it between the slim and physical covers of a magically transcendent tool that I can hold in my hand.