Tagged: what if? Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Jeff Somers 3:30 pm on 2017/02/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , what if?   

    The 5 Most Brain-Warping Fan Theories About Books 

    Where once delirious theorizing about novels was the province of English professors and their students, safely locked away in the ivory tower of academia, in the modern age the democratizing force of the internet has made it everyone’s business to think way too hard about what they watch, read, or listen to, and then type up Tumblr posts about their new theory.

    Most of these theories are pure bosh, of course, and are quickly swept aside by the rising tide of the next day’s theories—and none of them can be “proved” anyway, at least not in any real sense. But some of these fan theories are a lot of fun—and some have more staying power than others. These five may not hold up in a court of literary law, but they will mess with your mind.

    Theory: There is no Mr. Hyde
    Book: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Did you ever notice that in Stevenson’s classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, we never get a glimpse of Mr. Hyde’s point of view? While most of the usual discussion about the story takes for granted that Mr. Hyde is literally a separate personality that Jekyll has unleashed—younger, different in appearance, and of a completely different, er, temperament—the fact is we only have Jekyll’s unreliable evidence to back this up. A lot of readers speculate that Hyde is just an excuse for Jekyll to go ham on some really unacceptable behavior he has always wanted to get into. Readers have been fooled because we take Jekyll’s words at face value, and Jekyll believes himself to be a good man who couldn’t possibly do such terrible things. But if Jekyll is unreliable—as he clearly is—then why take him at his word on that?

    Theory: Jane Austen’s novels are about sociopaths and Game Theory
    Book: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

    This one will really get at Austen fans: there’s a prevalent theory that you can use Austen’s novels (not just Pride and Prejudice) as a guidebook to Game Theory, because all of Austen’s characters are basically sociopaths who manipulate everyone around them like game pieces on a board. If you think about it, this is blood-chillingly obvious: Just about every major character in Austen’s stories is playing a cold-blooded game, breaking down their opponents’ weaknesses, deceiving them, and then using their mistakes against them, all to gain social ascendancy. Put in that light, Austen’s work is some Game of Thrones–level stuff.

    Theory: Jack Torrance wrote Apt Pupil
    Book: Different Seasons and The Shining, by Stephen King

    Over on Reddit last year, this theory popped up and took root due to its plausibility—especially when you consider how hard Stephen King has worked to connect his books into one sprawling multiverse. It boils down to a few simple facts: Jack Torrance in The Shining is a frustrated writer who has lost a teaching job because of a violent run-in with a student, and he’s working on a story featuring a character named Denker. Apt Pupil also features a character named Denker, who meets a student who’s a much worse version of the kid Jack attacked. There’s not much more to the theory, but the idea that Jack might have been writing Apt Pupil while going insane in the Overlook Hotel is so exciting we’d like to suggest King go back and revise his books slightly to make the connection overt.

    Theory: George is homosexual
    Book: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

    Of Mice and Men was published in 1937, way before homosexuality was something discussed freely in public, much less accepted in everyday life. There are some references to homosexuality in the book, but they serve to underscore how bad it would be to be outed back in those days. And there is some evidence that Steinbeck may have intended George to be gay. When he sees Curly’s wife, the only woman in the book and a woman who is clearly reveling in her sex appeal among the men working the ranch, George barely looks at her and doesn’t have much reaction. But when George spies Slim—or any other man—his descriptions become far more effusive. It’s subtle—but it adds an unexpected dimension to the story.

    Theory: Heathcliff is a werewolf
    Book: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

    Wuthering Heights is an amazing book, very dark, centering on a romantic duo that’s deeply polarizing. Heathcliff’s story is certainly tragic and deserving of sympathy, but he’s also a destructive, vengeful force, and a malevolent one, at that. When you consider how easy it is to imagine Brontë wrote an early supernatural romance and just made all the references super subtle for plausible deniability, however, it all changes. Cathy? Totally a vampire. And Heathcliff, a man repeatedly described as “savage,” a man who lives in a house with a pack of dogs, a man with “sharp cannibal teeth”? A werewolf. In fact, turning Wuthering Heights into the first-ever Twilight requires you to squint just a little bit.

    The post The 5 Most Brain-Warping Fan Theories About Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 3:30 pm on 2017/02/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , what if?   

    The 5 Most Brain-Warping Fan Theories About Books 

    Where once delirious theorizing about novels was the province of English professors and their students, safely locked away in the ivory tower of academia, in the modern age the democratizing force of the internet has made it everyone’s business to think way too hard about what they watch, read, or listen to, and then type up Tumblr posts about their new theory.

    Most of these theories are pure bosh, of course, and are quickly swept aside by the rising tide of the next day’s theories—and none of them can be “proved” anyway, at least not in any real sense. But some of these fan theories are a lot of fun—and some have more staying power than others. These five may not hold up in a court of literary law, but they will mess with your mind.

    Theory: There is no Mr. Hyde
    Book: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Did you ever notice that in Stevenson’s classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, we never get a glimpse of Mr. Hyde’s point of view? While most of the usual discussion about the story takes for granted that Mr. Hyde is literally a separate personality that Jekyll has unleashed—younger, different in appearance, and of a completely different, er, temperament—the fact is we only have Jekyll’s unreliable evidence to back this up. A lot of readers speculate that Hyde is just an excuse for Jekyll to go ham on some really unacceptable behavior he has always wanted to get into. Readers have been fooled because we take Jekyll’s words at face value, and Jekyll believes himself to be a good man who couldn’t possibly do such terrible things. But if Jekyll is unreliable—as he clearly is—then why take him at his word on that?

    Theory: Jane Austen’s novels are about sociopaths and Game Theory
    Book: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

    This one will really get at Austen fans: there’s a prevalent theory that you can use Austen’s novels (not just Pride and Prejudice) as a guidebook to Game Theory, because all of Austen’s characters are basically sociopaths who manipulate everyone around them like game pieces on a board. If you think about it, this is blood-chillingly obvious: Just about every major character in Austen’s stories is playing a cold-blooded game, breaking down their opponents’ weaknesses, deceiving them, and then using their mistakes against them, all to gain social ascendancy. Put in that light, Austen’s work is some Game of Thrones–level stuff.

    Theory: Jack Torrance wrote Apt Pupil
    Book: Different Seasons and The Shining, by Stephen King

    Over on Reddit last year, this theory popped up and took root due to its plausibility—especially when you consider how hard Stephen King has worked to connect his books into one sprawling multiverse. It boils down to a few simple facts: Jack Torrance in The Shining is a frustrated writer who has lost a teaching job because of a violent run-in with a student, and he’s working on a story featuring a character named Denker. Apt Pupil also features a character named Denker, who meets a student who’s a much worse version of the kid Jack attacked. There’s not much more to the theory, but the idea that Jack might have been writing Apt Pupil while going insane in the Overlook Hotel is so exciting we’d like to suggest King go back and revise his books slightly to make the connection overt.

    Theory: George is homosexual
    Book: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

    Of Mice and Men was published in 1937, way before homosexuality was something discussed freely in public, much less accepted in everyday life. There are some references to homosexuality in the book, but they serve to underscore how bad it would be to be outed back in those days. And there is some evidence that Steinbeck may have intended George to be gay. When he sees Curly’s wife, the only woman in the book and a woman who is clearly reveling in her sex appeal among the men working the ranch, George barely looks at her and doesn’t have much reaction. But when George spies Slim—or any other man—his descriptions become far more effusive. It’s subtle—but it adds an unexpected dimension to the story.

    Theory: Heathcliff is a werewolf
    Book: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

    Wuthering Heights is an amazing book, very dark, centering on a romantic duo that’s deeply polarizing. Heathcliff’s story is certainly tragic and deserving of sympathy, but he’s also a destructive, vengeful force, and a malevolent one, at that. When you consider how easy it is to imagine Brontë wrote an early supernatural romance and just made all the references super subtle for plausible deniability, however, it all changes. Cathy? Totally a vampire. And Heathcliff, a man repeatedly described as “savage,” a man who lives in a house with a pack of dogs, a man with “sharp cannibal teeth”? A werewolf. In fact, turning Wuthering Heights into the first-ever Twilight requires you to squint just a little bit.

    The post The 5 Most Brain-Warping Fan Theories About Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Joel Cunningham 7:00 pm on 2014/09/11 Permalink
    Tags: , dissident gardens, , everybody's got something, , , , , , personal, , robin robinson, , , the burning room, , , , what if?, , why grizzly bears should wear underpants   

    What to Read Next if You Liked What I Know for Sure, The Bone Clocks, We Are Not Ourselves, Personal or What If? 

    WTRN9-11-14

    What I Know for Sure, by Oprah Winfrey, collects pearls of wisdom and life lessons from more than 14 years of her columns in O, The Oprah Magazine. These brief essays on finding joy, clarity, power, and possibility will empower and uplift readers. Though there is most definitely only one Oprah, Everybody’s Got Something, journalist Robin Roberts’ memoir of a battle with cancer, is similarly inspiring, and as filled with important lessons on how to make the most of the time you’ve been given.

    The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell, is nearly incomparable, blending familiar elements of literary fiction, sci-fi, dystopian fantasy, and metafictional, self-referential narrative tricks into a heady brew that is entirely unique and entirely Mitchell (and par for the course from the author of Cloud Atlas). Still, his fans might find similar appeal in Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, an eerie, ethereal postapocalyptic novel set in a world ravaged by a killer plague, in which a disparate group of survivors attempts to preserve some semblance of societal order through performances of Shakespeare. Though more linear than Mitchell’s work, Mandel’s debut carries the same metaphorical heft and leaves the same emotional impact.

    We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas, is a multigenerational Irish-American family drama following the rising and falling fortunes of the Learys of Woodside, Queens. At its center is Eileen, who was born just as the U.S. was entering World War II and grew up in the shadow of conflict, caring for her alcoholic parents and dreaming of an escape to a better life. She thinks she’s found it when she meets Ed, a brilliant scientist, but he’s more dedicated to the pursuit of scientific truth than a house in the suburbs. The struggle to make do with what life has given you while striving always for something better is the engine that drives the book.  Dissident Gardens, by Jonathan Lethem, is another New York–set story covering 35 years in the lives of an Irish-American family and two women who battle ceaselessly against the status quo.

    Personal, by Lee Child, is the latest in his pulse-pounding, mega-popular Jack Reacher series. Finding a character that can go toe-to-toe with a guy like Reacher is tough, and not just because the dude is 6’5—Child’s series provides a perfect blend of mystery, thriller, and action. If you’ve already torn through all of them, however, you might want to try Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels. Like Reacher, Bosch is a former military man who isn’t afraid to question authority in pursuit of justice (even if he is only 5’9). The series starts with The Black Echo, and book 14, The Burning Room, comes out in November.

    What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe, isn’t afraid to broach those delicate subjects. Like, what would happen if you dropped a T-Rex into the Sarlacc Pit from Return of the Jedi? How many arrows would it take to blot out the sun like in that battle scene from 300? The cartoonist behind the popular webcomic xkcd answers these queries and more. For more utterly useless but indispensable information delivered via cartoons, you can’t go wrong with The Oatmeal, another web comic known for its elaborate graphs and flow charts. Choice cut: “Hammer Pants vs. Hipsters: A Visual Comparison.” (That one’s from Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants.)

    What books have you recommended lately?

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel