Meanwhile, I finally saw (a version of) Les Miserables - the one with Liam Neeson. I got all het up about ethics and present-day resonances and hating Javert (I'm sure he was acting from some self-hatred re: his background, but so destructive). I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't realised the original novel was by Victor Hugo - R has been wanting me to read The Hunchback of Notre Dame for years, and after watching the Charles Laughton film recently, I've decided to do it soon. French authors are among my massive cultural gaps that need filling.
Today I managed to get new shoes (half-price at Clarks AND fulfilling all my needs re: helping-me-stay-on-my-feet) and about twelve pairs of socks, both badly needed. It's satisfying when a clothes-shopping expedition goes well - mostly in my experience, I either get everything I need really quickly, or it's a fruitless nightmare; there's very little in between.
( Read more... )
"Researchers have found that when you lose yourself in a work of fiction, your behavior and thoughts can metamorphose to match those of your favorite character, according to the study published early online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology."
Um... yes? Obviously? Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted to have it proved, but I hadn't thought of it as something that would elicit the kind of dismissal and skepticism in the comments. Let's read some highlights:
"Reading the Vampire Chronicles might romanticize vampires, but everyone that reads it doesn't go around biting peoples necks."
Points for thinking of the same books that immediately sprung to my mind (and come to think of it, I got the link to the article from Anne Rice's Facebook), but it's obviously about more subtle changes than that...
"As for books influencing people's minds, I doubt there's much chance of that as most of us don't read anymore."
Translation: "I don't read and I'm surrounded by people who don't read." How isolated do you have to be to never see people reading and have no inkling that books are a powerful cultural force? Every time I get on a bus or train it's full of people with paperbacks and Kindles! And even if you don't commute, surely the logic of Amazon's dominance and the fact supermarkets sell novels by the boatload and the continued existence of national book chains... gah. This is just another version of that smug-about-own-narrow-mindedness tone that pervades Yahoo UK article comments.
"This is interesting (my wife is a PhD research psychologist) but it doesn't say anything about those of us who prefer non-fiction or heavily-researched historical fiction (such as Michner.)"
I won't snark this since the same person does a wonderfully polite, understated take-down of the commenter above, but I do wonder what difference the fiction/non-fiction barrier really makes. I've read biographies that described their subjects intimately enough that they felt like fictional characters whose thoughts and feelings are knowable to the reader. And with heavily-researched historical fiction, well... it is still fiction, perhaps all the more immersive and emotionally convincing because the settling is so authentic.
"I've been known to read 2 to 3 books at a time all of different subjects. How would they define that."
And this glorious example of missing the point by a mile was the moment when I realised I had to stop reading the article, because I was in danger of gesticulating impotently at the screen, as if attempting to reason with the commenter in person. What possible difference could simultaneous reading of multiple books make?!
Conclusion: it winds me up enormously sometimes, but THANK GOD FOR FANDOM, where you might get a vast swathe of opinion on a story like this, but at least it'd be possible to achieve consensus on what the article-writer actually said and meant...
Under the cut:
The Fry Chronicles - Stephen Fry
There And Back Again: An Actor's Tale - Sean Astin
Friendly Fire - Patrick Gale *favourite of the month*
Blood Is The New Black - Valerie Stivers
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
What's The Best You Can Do? First-Hand Recollections Of A Second-Hand Bookseller - Derek Rowlinson
( Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooks! )