Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Omega Reader

I seem to be the last one to read just about everything. This is, of course, a slight over-simplification, as people will come after me who have not read the same things I myself am behind the curve on, but it feels that way sometimes. I remember buying "The Firm" many years ago, after the movie had come out, and the person next to me remarking she was glad to know she wasn't the last person who hadn't read it. So I suppose it would be more accurate to say I am behind the popular curve, that I tend to pick up books long after they have become "hot" and while their authors may or may not be on the cultural edge.

On the one hand, there are a few advantages to this. Well, actually, there probably aren't any, really, other than I get to feel like I'm not following the herd. Though you could argue that I am, in fact, following the herd - I'm just really, really far behind. In the case of where Hollywood has made a movie out of the book in question, I've usually seen the movie before reading the book, so I also don't have to deal with being disappointed by casting choices.

Case in point, I am reading "The Da Vinci Code" finally. While not great literature, I confess it is a fun book, and admit that it also contains one of the most blatant attempts by an author to influence casting for the potential movie. Possibly ever. But that's another entry entirely. My point is, I saw the movie first, so despite the book's description - it's Tom Hanks in my head. Though I have given him better hair in my imagination.)

You might think that having seen the movie would spoil the book for me, knowing how it all comes out. Especially a book with puzzles or a mystery. And somewhat, of course, it does. But books often diverge from movies, or vice versa. There are those where I actually prefer the movie, with "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" making the top of the list. I like Dick's books, but they are often convoluted, and I'm not entirely sure "DADES" was his best outing. "Bladerunner," however, with the exception of that pointless unicorn dream that makes no sense at all, is one of my most favorite movies of all time.

And besides, I tend to look at the back of a book before I actually get there, anyway, so there's little to spoil. (Hey, I could get hit by a car, and then I'd never know how it ends. It would bug me. I presume there will be books or something in Heaven, at least in my version, but that's not the point.)

Another advantage to being behind the times is that I can usually avoid all the hype around a book and go in only with the usual expectations. Now, there remains some buzz, but no more so than around any other best-selling book or author that all the reading public gets excited about. Sometimes even that level of expectation turns into a bust, as "Meg" was sadly a bitter disappointment for me despite the anticipation of a "Jurassic Shark," but other times I start to see why everyone was so excited.

And then there are books that just fall in the middle, and are good reads, but aren't going to turn me into a stark-raving fan.

Not sure where I'm going to end up yet with Dan Brown, but I'll let you know.

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