Day: September 11, 2008

Today is the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I know that not all of you who read are in the U.S., but still, it’s vital that none of us who are decent people forget the scope of disaster that a few, evil people can cause–anywhere in the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.
So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since.
And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news? – BTT

It makes things more visceral to me. As I have studied genocide and human rights violations, it has not changed the things I have read. In some cases, I sought these things ought. I read Night and Maus after I came back from Auschwitz. As for comparing real life villains to fictional ones, it depends on the author really. I find books are worlds to themselves. I do not read many spy thrillers or books that are often black and white. Villains are not always an issue, but my enjoyable or appreciation of them depends on the author’s ability to write characters and define them.