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Footnotes 2017-2018 > Sunday Conversation Topic 3/11

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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Do you ever merge the book you are reading into real life? Do pretend to be the main character? Does your book ever affect your life? What book has affected your life the most?


message 2: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments I happened into a restaurant that served swordfish. I ordered it only because I was reading The Perfect Storm about sword-fishermen. When reading Louis L'Amour westerns, I'll enter a small dinner and choose a seat with my back to the wall and can clearly see the "saloon" door. I'll emulate the characters speech pattern or thier word choice. While reading Open, I became so depressed along with Agassi (I think this is more he rubbed off on me. such a sad life overall) When reading espionage I check my rear view mirror for tails and such. When reading books involving nature I spend more time outdoors. When the book says a character scratched their head or rubbed their face or blew their nose, I do too. I don't do this because of split personalities or mental illness or the book becoming real. I do this to compass the story and character. It's fun for me. No one knows I do this and it's not big things, just small adjustments in how I go about my day.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8876 comments I applaud your bravery, and I think it’s wonderful that you truly try to encompass I character or the experience of the book that you’re reading. I think it’s wonderful to be that affected and that joined. I know you’re not crazy to enjoy that particular kind of affectation. And I would be the best judge of crazy. The one thought that I have on this actually isn’t my own. But it stayed with me so profoundly. And it concerns a book I have not yet read. I remember that somebody I know, and neighbor and a friend, told me that when they read Behind the Beautiful Forevers. They were so moved that it was a call to social action of called justice. That person felt that they needed to get up and do something and decided to devote the rest of their life to making sure they make a difference in that part of the world and in countries like that. And she had read the book 2 years earlier when she was telling me this. And when she was telling me how much it had stayed with her and what she was doing about it. That’s what first loaded to my mind when you first told me the idea and how much fun you have. I don’t know that I’ve ever changed my lilt of my voice, or try to speak in character. Or even that I have ordered food, although I do think when you read about Italian food or French food or southern food, or even ice cream there may be an unconscious if not actually conscious draw. Maybe a character try something new and different and you actually think I’d like to try that, or I’ve never tried that why not now. Maybe it’s a characters Carraige that makes you take a step or action you wouldn’t have taken. I guess the question is how conscious is it for us? What you’re describing is different than reading books on Paris because you’re about to go to Paris. We’re reading books about the beach or the sun in the summer. It’s about merging with the character. It is interesting that for my list Topia list I chose remarkable women in historical fiction. I do think I have greatly enjoyed watching the courage and resilience of women in different situations and maybe I find myself a little haughtier or straighter during that time period, Or Dare I add that sometimes a good old scene makes you feel a little sexy or a little spirited or even just a little bit of blush. Does that change how we feel when we close the book I’m going with that feeling stays with you and probably bleeds into your real life. But that probably veers from what you asked. I guess then the answer for me would be just a little but I love for you that it’s a great show and a fun experience. Can’t wait to see how others respond.


message 4: by Kszr (new)

Kszr | 172 comments Such an interesting question. I have always told my husband that he can't throw away my books because each of them has a bit of me in them.

I know that we are all a product of the experiences we have, but when you read a good book, you become part of that experience too. There is no way it can't impact you.

While I do not act out the accents or mannerisms knowingly, each story impacts me. As you can imagine, some more than others. I know its been a good book when I am still thinking about the characters days later.

In fact, there was one book I HATED, but the characters and story line were so disturbing that for weeks afterwards I was still haunted by them. For that reason alone, I have to recommend it as a compelling read (Beatrice and Virgil by the person who wrote Life of Pi), if not a "good" story. And its been years and I am still haunted by it.


message 5: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Amy, Kszr I wish I could like your comments or click on a heart like on Facebook.

Two beautiful statements about books and how they effect you that encompasses my feelings as well. The love of books and the effect it has is something I find difficult to express with words, so I try to express it by "living" the books to a degree.


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 12, 2018 07:38AM) (new)

Wow, what thoughtful and sweet comments so far. Another thought provoking and fun question, Jason.

I don't feel I emulate characters (unless I am unaware of it) but their personalities seeps into my daily thoughts. Sometimes I do copy certain phrases that my favorite characters use, or become obsessed with the places they live or want to try the same food they eat, just out of curiosity. My latest geographic preoccupation is Cornwall, England due to the Poldark book series. Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans was a Harry Potter experiment gone bad .... I don't care to ever try those again.

Overall, I feel drawn to a certain characters because I recognize something in them that I feel in myself. Hermione because she always turns to books for answers; Luna Lovegood because she doesn't quite fit in with the mainstream; Mileva Marić because of her interest in science, etc. It is difficult to explain my feelings about characters through the written word but maybe that doesn't matter. Every character means something a little different to each of us.

Right now I am reading Lincoln in the Bardo and H is for Hawk which are both affecting my mood. One cannot help but feel a sense of sadness and also personal self-reflection.


message 7: by Karin (last edited Mar 12, 2018 09:56AM) (new)

Karin | 7208 comments Jason wrote: "Do you ever merge the book you are reading into real life? Do pretend to be the main character? Does your book ever affect your life? What book has affected your life the most?"

Yes, I did this sometimes as a child. I would play spy (Harriet the Spy and other books, but I didn't ACTUALLY spy on real people, just played spy and also go on adventures as we lived by the bush back in the days when kids roamed free (Canadian, or at least British Columbian, for woods or forest). The other thing I know I did was to read more than one book at a time. I don't remember actually doing this, but I do remember that when my mother asked me about it I explained it was so that I could daydream about them and mix them up (not how I said it, of course).

PLUS after I read my first Robert Heinlein book for adults, at the ripe old age of 10, I decided I was going to become a brain surgeon and a biochemist. I even write a letter about it to my Biochemist, oncology researcher uncle. I have no idea how many other harebrained schemes I got, of course, but that one I remember because I wrote him a letter and he didn't write back (who cares if he had a research career and at that time a preschooler and a baby--I had no idea how busy he was).

We had to hide Eloise at The Plaza from my middle daughter who was much like Eloise (well, in private as she is much more introverted than that character) and my childless sister-in-law mentioned that in the dedication. This spurred my daughter on to imitate and emulate Eloise in a big way, so we hat to hide it until she was older. My daughter is and artist by nature and talent, has quite the sense of humour and was a child was a quite instigator with her siblings (not that she was the only instigator, but it surprized me the first time I realized she was instigating trouble with her older sister when she was less than 2.)


message 8: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments I've never really done anything close to mimicking characters- in style, mannerism, whatnot.

If anything I tend to "cast myself" on what I'm reading. I think, if this was a movie/play/production- who would I WANT to play? This doesn't necessarily mean I can relate to them, or want to be like them. And I don't act on anything. But it can be fun to figure out where you might fit into a book. I think this is a second-hand habit from being into theater and musicals.


message 9: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7208 comments Joi wrote: "I've never really done anything close to mimicking characters- in style, mannerism, whatnot.

If anything I tend to "cast myself" on what I'm reading. I think, if this was a movie/play/production-..."


I love this casting bit. I wonder if I did that when I was young and into acting. Mostly, though, I would watch plays and think of what role I'd like, how the director blocked it, how the costumes, props and sets were done, how well the actors were doing...


message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8876 comments Joi, gotta know if you have a dream role, or the one you’d most like to play, or have played. I’ll share mine if you share yours!


message 11: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments Amy wrote: "Joi, gotta know if you have a dream role, or the one you’d most like to play, or have played. I’ll share mine if you share yours!"

Eponine in Les Mis. I haven't read the book yet. But this is one of my forever favorite musicals. Such good music, fun to sing, and such a tragic character. Runner ups- Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Ado Annie in Oklahoma, Wendla in Spring Awakening. As you can see the roles I lean towards are normally NOT the typical ingenue- and more the "fun-to-play" one.


message 12: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8876 comments A little fall of rain! Beautiful song. When I was young, it was Luisa in the Fantasticks. The ingénue. When I got a little older it was absolutely the Baker’s wife in into the woods. I’m not sure what it is right now. Although I always loved from company, don’t tell Paul that I’m not getting married today. I don’t know what today’s role would be. Too young for Golda in Fiddler. Too old for Song and Dance, “Come back with that SameLook in Your Eyes.” Loving the Waitress Soundtrack. What’s a good role for a vibrant 49 year old that is essentially much younger? I know! The Mom in the ABBA Movie - Dancing Queen! Mamma Mia! Give me any of those roles!


message 13: by Magdalena (new)

Magdalena | 414 comments I love theater! My dream role is probably Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. I almost got to play her when my community theater put on a production of it but I got sick at just the wrong time.


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8876 comments Welcome Magdalena. Another theater junkie. I sing with an acapella Group and I get to perform every Wednesday. I get to sing from the music man, dream of now as a counterpoint to Lida Rose.


message 15: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8646 comments Amy wrote: "Welcome Magdalena. Another theater junkie. I sing with an acapella Group and I get to perform every Wednesday. I get to sing from the music man, dream of now as a counterpoint to Lida Rose."

Didn't know that about you, Amy! Learn something new... :-) Wish I could sing! LOL!


message 16: by Karin (last edited Mar 16, 2018 10:48AM) (new)

Karin | 7208 comments Magdalena wrote: "I love theater! My dream role is probably Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. I almost got to play her when my community theater put on a production of it but I got sick at just the wrong time."

Me too, but I'm past the age when I could play her, I'm sure. I'm not sure how young I could look on stage if I were to go back to it (did it all through high school). Perhaps with facelift tape and lots of makeup....

Actually, it was that one and also Maria from The Sound of Music.

BUT, I did serious theatre in not musical as I had no idea I could sing, nor did anyone else at that time (I mean, I could carry a tune, but didn't have a good voice as a child).

FYI for those not in theatre, Musical theatre has singing, serious doesn't, but there is plenty comedy in serious theatre.


message 17: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments The Music Man is one of my absolute favorites, Amy!!

Haha another "dream" to add on if we're all reaching- would be Angelica in Hamilton.. Too bad I can't rap.....


message 18: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments Aahhh the turns that Sunday topics make sometimes :-D

I really wish I could sing......so do all the people around me since having no singing talent does NOT stop me from singing. I used to accompany people (on piano) in singing competitions when I was in grade school.


message 19: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments I don’t recall ever pretending to be a character in a book exactly. When I was a kid, I was quite sickly. I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things that I wanted, like try out for cheerleading or sports of any kind. My escape was books, and I definitely loved the books that took me to other places - back in the day, that was mostly Europe. And I did end up living in France for several years.


message 20: by KateNZ (last edited Mar 16, 2018 06:08PM) (new)

KateNZ | 2505 comments I sometimes used to play-act characters or act out stories with my kids when they were little - great fun. (And son #2 is now heavily involved in theatre including acting, so it still works!) I don't think adults often give themselves the same permission simply to play, though, which is a shame. We think we're expected to be serious and literal. Instead, there's a huge amount to be said for keeping the imagination thoroughly alive.

I don't think I act out book characters at all these days. Phrases stick in my mind sometimes and I find myself using them at odd moments, but not necessarily in the same context as the book. I do tend to lose myself entirely in books while I'm reading them and I'll certainly notice themes or scenes from the books cropping up in RL, which I might not have noticed but for the book. But that's one reason I love to read - it opens my eyes to other aspects of life.


message 21: by Cynda (new)

Cynda I am a word person.

I find that when I read several of Shakespeare's play back-to-back or almost so, I find myself talking in ways that show I have been reading Shakespeare.

I find that when I read a group of 19th-century novels, that I make word choices and use ornate flourishes in my speech. One day, I was talking with my primary doctor when I smirked at myself and she sputtered laughing.

I incorporate thoughts and language. I am reading to understand, and I understand through language. For me, I understanding thoughts means understanding language means using the language.

As always, I enjoy these questions and answers. Keep them coming.


message 22: by Karin (last edited Mar 17, 2018 03:57PM) (new)

Karin | 7208 comments JoLene wrote: "Aahhh the turns that Sunday topics make sometimes :-D

I really wish I could sing......so do all the people around me since having no singing talent does NOT stop me from singing. I used to accompa..."


That reminds me of this funny bit I heard on the radio station my middle daughter likes. They asked listeners if anyone had ever recorded them singing when they didn't know it.

In my house you get criticized by certain offspring if you are not Perfect or if you don't imitate a singer exactly (in popular music aka rock, country, blues, etc, etc, etc, etc you usually make a song your own). You also learn quickly that you don't ask their opinion.

When I said I had a voice it doesn't mean I know how to use it or am consistent! I'm taking lessons now but am a long way from really being good.


message 23: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8876 comments I don’t know if this is off-topic or if we have already discussed this topic. It might make a good Sunday conversation someday. But once in a while you find yourself in a book. A certain character that their qualities you recognize in yourself. I have had a few in mind over the years. It’s not the same as acting like a character or setting and speaking in an accent in ordering food or speaking a different language. It’s so weirder eerie happenstance thing. Maybe someday we’ll talk about that on a Sunday.


message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 18, 2018 04:02PM) (new)

Amy wrote: "I don’t know if this is off-topic or if we have already discussed this topic. It might make a good Sunday conversation someday. But once in a while you find yourself in a book. A certain character ..."

I think a few of us kinda meandered onto the subject of characters' qualities we recognize within ourselves, for our answer within this topic. Asking which book characters we most closely identify with would make a good question though. Maybe??? Good idea, Amy.


message 25: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Amy wrote: "I don’t know if this is off-topic or if we have already discussed this topic. It might make a good Sunday conversation someday. But once in a while you find yourself in a book. A certain character ..."

Amy, I did post the question before, but that was before these were so popular. I might try again. Or you can post questions as well. I don't own the discussion rights to PBT. I just started this because Sundays were a drag on here.


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