Thursday, September 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Villainy

Today's BTT question ties into the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy:

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?
Honestly, I never really read Clancy-type books before 9/11, so I can't answer from that perspective. I typically lean toward women's fiction, and while I wouldn't say that my choices are "frothy," I do enjoy a feel-good book.

However, I read Andre Dubus' Garden of Last Days recently, which focused on a Florida strip club and its various inhabitants, including the fictional perspective of one of the terrorists in the last days before that fateful Tuesday. As you're reading, you know what the book is heading toward...and there was a knot in my stomach anticipating the final events. I remember thinking, "I can't believe this really happened."

What are your thoughts?


gautami tripathy said...

As I live in a country where it so real, I can believe it. It happens.

Villainy is not the right word

SmilingSally said...

It's just not worth that "knot in the stomach."

jlshall said...

The Dubus book sounds interesting, but I think that's a little too much reality for me.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I listened to an interview with Dubus (can't remember where but it was about a month or so ago). He talked about how tough it was emotionally while writing this book.

I think, especially since Sept. 11, '01, reading has become my escape. I choose not to read violence based books as a rule. I can get realism through various news outlets. As I write this MSNBC is on and replaying the Today Show from the exact time of the attack. The knot in my stomach is growing.

Kat said...

I too would rather pick a light, feel-good book.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking at the Dubus book and wondering if he did a good job portraying the terrorist....I know it will be difficult to read, but I want it to be believable. Thanks for mentioning it.

S. Krishna said...

I agree - I read more to eascape

LisaMM said...

I think I'm going to look for Garden of Last Days! I've never heard of it but I am very intrigued.

JoAnn said...

I thought Dubus's recent book was just so disappointing. You can see my full review here:

Jill said...

To be clear, and I should have clarified this earlier (but it was so early in the morning!), I didn't really love the Dubus book. The BTT post just reminded me of it.

My sort-of review here:

JoAnn said...

LOL Jill, the short version of my Dubus review is in the comment section of YOUR review.

Great minds, and all that.

I read "Water for Elephants" a couple of months after it was published - I had no interest in a book that took place in a circus at that time in our history. I ended up loving it.

I rarely read memoirs either---just do not like them one little bit!