Thursday, 29 April 2010

Love between the covers

Finished reading a series recently (or rather a section of a series spread over 3 books) - the Change Series by S.M. Stirling - and was hit by the extent to which the death of one of the principle characters affected me.

(Plot spoiler alert! Don't read the next para if you intend to read the series!)
I'd been reading the series for a while at the time, almost a month through the three books and Mike Havel emerged as a strong and charismatic character right in the first book. And so when in the third book  Mike Havel dies a heroic death, I could have easily been one of the mourners in his funeral procession who felt his loss completely. It didn't matter that I had flipped to the end of the book as I started it and I knew he was going to die before I began the book. My reaction was just as intense.

As I read, I become intensely involved with everything about some of the characters and I can usually come up with both a history and a future for them beyond the pages of the book. In much the same way that we find out about the new people that we meet, I flip through the pages of a book, greedily looking for information about the people I like, the people I wish I'd meet on the street someday. The impact is even more intense with series' than with single books and with books I've read multiple times versus books I've read only once. A simple function, I think, of the amount of time one spends with the characters and the deeper understanding that one develops about them. And even when the plot or storytelling deteriorates in quality, I read on simply to stay involved with the people I've fallen in love with. They become a part of what I know about the world I live in and I react to them in my imagination in much the same way as I would to real people in the real world. And as in real life, while the curiosity about those around us diminishes with time and the attachment does not, so it is with people who inhabit the pages of a book.

1 comment:

appletart said...

so true! when i think of you, i remember the curls carelessly wrapping your face dug in a book while you were perched up the parapit every morning at Ahmedabad..I would imagin your life before and after the two years we were bubbled at MICA..guess I was more fond of you than I ever expressed..cheers all the sunshine smiles you flashed my way every morning...

p.s. - luv the post