Why are some of us drawn to dark, disturbing works of fiction? Don’t you forget about Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand and Arthur and George by Julian Barnes.
Ann discovered a wonderful time-suck of a website: What’s That Book? It’s a site where anyone can post details of a book that they remember but for which they can’t recall the title or author, and other users can try to help.
Smek for President! by Adam Rex, narrated by Bahni Turpin, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.
Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.
Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook
Why Read Dark? (07:58)
After discussing A Little Life, Ann got several comments asking why people like dark, upsetting, and sad books. We have a long – sometimes convoluted – discussion about what dark books might do differently than lighter books, like provoke a strong emotional response. But, you have to be a reader who is willing to feel those feelings (as evidenced by the reaction of one of the Tournament of Books’ judges to the books he read). Is there a need among some people to vicariously feel the fear, horror, or disgust that can be experienced by things like reading a dark book or seeing a horror movie? Is encountering emotions that way as powerful as experiencing them in real life? Stanford scientists took MRIs of people reading Jane Austen, to see what their brain did. From the article about this study: “After reviewing early scans, neuroscientist Bob Dougherty… said he was impressed by ‘how the right patterns of ink on a page can create vivid mental imagery and instill powerful emotions.’ ”
What do all of you think about reading dark, disturbing books? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! We’re very eager to hear what you all think!
Don’t You Forget About Me (27:15)
Unbroken has been a huge hit, and many people have likely gone back to read Laura Hillenbrand’s first book Seabiscuit, but if you haven’t you really must. If you’re like I was, you might wonder why you’d ever want to read a book about horse racing, but Hillenbrand makes the tale of a horse and three men, each damaged in their own way, truly unforgettable.
Ann recommends Arthur & George, Julian Barnes’ fictional account of a real-life crime and the correspondence between the accused and the creator of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a case that has recently had new evidence come to light. (That new evidence is a bit of a spoiler to the story, so don’t click through if you’re planning on reading the book!)