My boyfriend and I were talking tonight about both books and TV and he was complaining about how things are getting too formulaic and just repeat the same storylines over and over. While I agree to a certain extent here was my argument for formulaic:
when your life feels uncertain you don’t want more uncertainty in your fiction. If things are feeling temporary, whether its your job, your friendships, your city, your whole lifestyle (I’m thinking about my time as a university student, but also as a new professional who realistically will probably have to move a few times to establish myself in a full-time position that is rewarding and pays the bills) you eventually get fed up with temporary. Sure its fun at first to not know where you’ll be, or who you’ll be with, or what you’ll be doing because that leaves things open for lots of great things…but eventually (or at least I think this way) you want stability. When you can’t find stability in your real life you look for it in fiction. I used the TV show Castle as an example, I know someone will get murdered and I know they will solve the case and Castle and Beckett will be fine. So even though the story changes and I enjoy the details I find the constantness of the overall plot reassuring. It’s the same with my reading, when life is unpredictable I want predictable books when life is repetitive/boring/the same too long I want adventure or unpredictability in my books. I think most people seek out characters they relate to in situations that are the opposite of their own.
What do you think? Do you do this in your reading/viewing? Please comment.
I’ve mentioned before that before bed I like to read things I have already read (new things keeps me awake because I get too into them) and old favourites constantly surprise me by being different than I remember. It’s not that the books have changed or that I have a terrible memory it’s that reading them at a different stage of my life I notice different things, I feel differently about the situations and characters, I relate to different aspects of the book or no longer relate.
How our own lives compare to those in the books influences how much we like it. Whether you want something similar to your own life or the opposite, whatever your preference your life influences how you interpret a book. For example, New Moon is my favourite Twilight book. Most of my friends liked it the least but I really connected with it. This is because of when I read it, I just been dumped (like Bella), I was depressed, lost track of time, and slowly came back to life noticing little things after spending time with a new guy (like her whole Jacob thing). So minus the supernatural elements, and you know the fact that both guys loved her and I didn’t get either guy, I felt linked to the book , probably because I read it right as I experienced it. I felt like when Meyer skipped pages writing only the names of months and talked about how Bella was so unaware of her surrounding she was articulating something I’d been having trouble expressing. It seems silly now, and watching the movie I don’t feel that connection at all, but is it because the movie didn’t do the book justice or is it because years later I’m in a completely different place mentally, emotionally, relationship-wise and geographically? Re-reading David Eddings I found prejudices I didn’t pay attention to before, re-reading Gabaldon I see characters differently, re-reading Goodkind I see what almost qualifies as American propaganda….
Do you re-read? Do your opinions of books change?