I read Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic The Road over three days. It's not a long book and would have taken me less time, but I didn't want to finish it. I was afraid of how the story might end ... I didn't want something terrible to happen to the central characters — even though they were non-existent people in a non-existent world, nothing more than print on a page.
But story-telling is alchemy. Forget all that base metal to gold nonsense. (Can't you do that with some fancy physics, anyway?) When those black lines transform into people and places and actions in your mind ... Now that's a transmutation to make a fuss about.