Half-Baked Theories: The Fear of Turning the Page

So, I've written here before about Being Susceptible to Fiction, and I still think it's true (it's not so easy to disabuse me of my half-baked notions!) but what's hitting me about it lately is how it affects reading tastes.

For me, there are certain intense books where I have to put the book down, repeatedly, because I can't take it. And what I think is, that it's just too easy for it to seem real to me. So if everything signals to me that, say, a person is about to make the most terrible choice possible (oh fictional characters, why must you always develop the story?), I have to look away. And the beautiful thing about a book (unlike a movie, say), is that I can.

But…is everyone like this? Is it like being a super-taster except with your mind instead of your tongue? I kind of think so, based on exactly no evidence! This post is, perhaps, the very epitome of half-baked theories: Gee, it's true for me, let me make a semi-grand extrapolation based on it!

So now, I must ask you: true for you too? As a reader, do you fall for it too much? Do you need to put down the book when it gets to intense? Or do you fall on the other end of the spectrum: are you impervious to the foibles of the fictional? Except, if that is true, is that maybe why some people don't like to read?

Help, I need answers!

8 thoughts on “Half-Baked Theories: The Fear of Turning the Page

  1. YES. Totally true for me. When I can see doom coming, I go get a snack. Maybe watch a sit com. But usually the book calls to me and I have to go face the music, cringing the whole time. This is, of course, when I actually have time to read! It has been a while.

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  2. Me too. And yes, I think it is like being a super-taster. I think in all honesty I can say that I cannot deal with a book that is not life-affirming in some way. This is why I mostly read children’s books…

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  3. I used to feel more immersed in books- as I age it is harder for me to fall into them. That said, sometimes I have to page ahead to 1) make sure it comes out okay or 2) put the book down permanently if a character I care about makes really bad choices and there is no redemption foreshadowed for the resolution. I am all about the happy ending.

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  4. Ha Ha! My son and I have been known to put a book in the refrigerator. No idea how that started, but when we feel brave enough to go back to the story, we pull the book back out. (this also happens if things get really sad, i.e. Dobby)

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  5. I agree with everyone especially Dimitra! I need books to be happy “Life affirming” sounds more sophisticated so I will call it that from now on. I will put a book down sometimes for days or forever, if it gets too intense. Also once it starts getting too tense I have to flip to the back and read the last page, in hopes that it will indicate that all is well. I fell that I am getting less and less able to cope with stressful book situations as I age.

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  6. I so rarely read the kind of intense books that you’re talking about — those with surprise endings or violence or mystery or thrill? I do read books, though, that are so intense in other ways (cerebral, incredibly lyrical, etc.) that I put them down and steel myself for them ending too soon. Does that make sense? I think I am a super-taster of the mind as well — some books are meant to be read so slowly, almost glacially. The opposite of devouring which is another subject entirely —
    I’m sorry I haven’t been round here in a while. For some weird reason, Blogger lost my blog roll and it’s taken me a long time to reassemble my favorite places.

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