Friday, February 9, 2018

Discussion Only We Know: Mountains Out of Molehills

Discussions Only We Know

Mountains Out of Molehills

Have you guys ever been reading a book, you're bee-bopping along making good progress, things are going well, and then WHAM one little sentence is included that has NOTHING to do with the book, the events, the plot, the character, the conflict, or well...anything at all? Has this ever happened to you? Because it's happened to me. Several times.

From the times that I've taken note of this happening, the comments tend to be religious or political in nature. And this leads me to believe that because the statement has absolutely nothing to do with the character, plot, or conflict that these statements are only here for the author or publisher to influence the reader in a direction or thought process they want to impose on the reader. If that's not the case, then why are these statements included?


-"I'll plunge my bare feet right into the snow, to numb them!" cried a colonial lady from the southern isles.
"Oh no," smiled a naughty young man. "Let me warm them instead."
The entire scene looked pretty and fun...and fake. Who knew if that flirty young mane even liked the lady--or if he liked ladies at all. Kestrel wasn't the only person at court who planned to marry someone she didn't want. --The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

And because these are usually one line statements that don't impact the overall story (because they don't actually have anything to do with the story), I always struggle with whether or not to mention them in my reviews. It feels passive aggressive on behalf of the author/publisher to include them in the first place, and calling out passive aggressiveness usually only makes you look like the jerk not the other way around. So what do you do? Do you let these comments go because addressing them turns a molehill into a mountain? Or does letting them go allow the author to turn a molehill into a mountain?

We all have seen comments or posts or maybe mentioned on the news briefly about how things influence us. I'm thinking about how for my generation when video games like Mortal Kombat were first released a big deal was made about the amount of violence in them--especially because blood was now introduced. People said that these video games would lead to XYZ negative side effects. I personally blew off these kinds of ideas. Not just about video games, but in general about how these inputs (TV shows, movies, video games, books, music) influences could have such a great impact on our lives and our thinking. But I've been recently changing my mind a bit. Of course, I don't literally mean because you play video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed that you'll turn violent. Nor do I mean that because you listen to hard core hip hop or heavy metal, that you'll turn into a drug addict with no job and beat your children. Nor do I mean that if you read books with a political agenda that you'll be swayed into public protests. BUT I do think that what we input into our minds matters.

Otherwise why would we spend time trying to learn in school? Why would we study any one subject? Why do we bother? We do it because it matters. We do it because the more frequently we're exposed to a subject or content or theory or idea, the more it becomes concreted into our brains. That's not to say that we can't overcome or disagree with things we're repeatedly exposed to, but it does mean that these things matter.

So I'm curious. Do these out of the blue statements that have nothing to do with the story you're reading bother you? Or is it just me? Does it only bother you when these statements go against your personal views? Or do you always find them distracting? Do you think they probably just don't matter? Or are you as put off by the author/publisher trying to influence you with their personal views as I am? I'm really curious! Let me know!

Also, I'll actually be turning this Discussions Only We Know topic into a feature all its own. Mountain Out of Molehills the feature will showcase any quote or topic that I come across in my reading life that is totally random and out of the blue or seems to be sending a particular political or religious message of some sort to influence the reader.

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