Yes, I know it is Friday, not Thursday, but I did want to answer yesterday’s Booking Through Thursday question and didn’t get around to it. This week, the question is:
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?
I would say that yes, the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events have and do affect what I read. I seek out books that I think will help me understand these events, to try to make some sense out of them. I don’t necessarily read books about specific events – I have never read anything specifically about 9/11, for example – but books that try to explain why the world is the way it is and how we can make it better. For example, I read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond a few years ago, in which he explains (among other things) how we ended up with “first world” and “third world” countries. More recently, my interest in and belief in peace has solidified and I have been reading books related to that subject.
As for the second part of the question, I don’t think these real-life events have changed the way I feel about villains in books I read. Perhaps this is because I don’t usually read books that have terrorist-like villains. Most of the books I read that have “villains”, per se, are light mysteries or fantasies that I know perfectly well are not particularly like real life. I have never been interested in Tom Clancy type books.