When I read a book that makes me fall in love with it, I want to learn from it. I want to know exactly what about that book makes it great; I want to figure out how that author achieved such amazing success with words. My standard procedure is to buy a second copy of the book to mark up. My intent is to go through and underline sentences and passages that speak to me, to make notes in the margin about characters and dialog, to analyze and dissect.
Here's what always happens: By page 2, I am so caught up in the story that I completely forget about making notes and underlining.
This is happening to me right now. I have always loved Jennifer Echols's The Boys Next Door. And when the sequel, Endless Summer, came out a few weeks ago, I re-read TBND and fell in love with it all over again. And now I want to figure out how Jennifer does it. How she creates such a compelling story. But I can't! I keep getting caught up in the wonderful, funny characters; the amazing sexual tension; and the right-on-the-nail-head dialog. And I guess that's one definition of writer's voice: the intangible, indecipherable magic that makes a book great.
How about you? How do you learn from great books?