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So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Aw, were you expecting a fun review of a Douglas Adams novel? My apologies.

Instead, today’s post is a quick note to let my loyal readers (all….five? of you) know that I’m officially in Ireland now! I arrived earlier this week. Since I anticipate needing some time to settle in and, more importantly, figure out a steady Internet connection, I’m putting LND on hold.

I’m still reading, of course. (I’ll never stop reading!) And I have a few books I know I’ll want to talk about, if not fully review. So I will be back. I just don’t know when I’ll be back. I could surprise even myself a post a review next week. Or maybe it won’t be until next month. I don’t know. But I’m not disappearing. This is not “goodbye.” It’s just a “so long….for now.” I’m giving myself some breathing room for a pretty big transition.

See you soon – and as always, happy reading.

Dolphins

[Photo Credit: Google Images]

Word of the Week (172)

DictionaryGiven all that’s being going on in the U.S. lately, it would be an egregious mistake on my point not to commemorate one of our nation’s most stirring events: On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington. A defining moment for the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King’s speech is as relevant today as it was then, and the power of his words has only gone with time. You can read and hear the speech on American Rhetoric.com.

Egregious (“ih-gree-juhs”)

Adjective; from Dictionary.com:

1. Extraordinary in some bad way;
2. Flagrant, glaring

To say it wasn’t what she was expecting was an egregious understatement. (The Chief, Monica McCarty)

Latin all the way. Egregious is entirely rooted in Latin, coming from the egregius, which means excellent or extraordinary. That word, in turn, stems from a Latin phrase ex grege, which translates to “rising above the flock” (the prefix ex meaning “out of” and the stem grege referring to a herd of flock). The current, modern definition for egregious, with its disapproving sense, dates back to the late 16th century, when it was used in an ironic sense.

Your turn, bookworms – Even our favorite authors can stumble from time to time. What would you consider an egregious mistake from an author or a writer? I’m personally always on the look out for the passive voice. Passive verbs, begone!

[Photo Credit: Google Images]

Book Tears versus Movie Tears

Tears – and their accompanying emotions – are triggered by different things for different people. I tend to be a fairly emotional person, so I’m that girl who can get choked up during a Hallmark commercial. (The one where the coach is retiring and all the former players sign a card for him? Tears!)

But while television and movies have plenty of reliable triggers for my tears, books often don’t. I can count on one hand the number of books that have made me cry. So when I had the chance to do a little experiment of sorts, to see if a movie based on a book would produce a different reaction, I decided to test my reactions (all in the name of science, of course). Two different movies – based on two different books – were released this summer and both have been described in various media as “tearjerkers.” I had read both books and planned to see both movies, so I was interested to see how I’d react.

I didn’t cry when I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I know a lot of people who did, and there were times when I got a little choked up, but no actual tears (heaving sobs or otherwise) came out. So when I went to see the movie earlier this summer, I thought I knew what to expect. I knew the storylines, I knew what would happen at the end of the book, and I figured I’d be set: no actual tears.

Oh, how I was wrong! I didn’t just cry, I was practically sobbing. And for the last half-hour or so of the movie, too. And the strangest thing was – I couldn’t have predicted what set me off. I figured if I was going to cry during the movie, it would be during Hazel’s real eulogy for Gus at his practice funeral. Instead, the tears starting flowing almost 10 minutes before, during a seemingly innocuous scene between Hazel and her parents. I caught myself completely by surprise. And that experience did seem to reinforce my hypothesis that visual triggers have more of an impact for me than written ones.

In contrast to my experience reading The Fault in Our Stars, I sobbed my way through reading Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. I had to keep a box of tissues next to me while reading, because every other page unleashed a fresh new wave of tears. (Gayle Forman knows what she’s doing, all right.) So, when I decided to see If I Stay this past weekend, I figured I was prepared. I knew I would cry, I knew what was going in the story – knowledge is power, right?

And yet again, my predictions were wrong. Whereas I cried after nearly every page of the book, I didn’t cry throughout the movie. Oh, there were definitely tears towards the end (Stacy Keach’s performance as Mia’s grandfather, in particular, was heartbreaking) and the movie made excellent use of the music, but I remained relatively dry-eyed. I was choked up and on the verge of tears from almost the beginning, but far fewer tears than I expected.

It may be that expectations played in role in how I did or didn’t react (i.e., if I expected not to cry, it was more surprising when I did, and vice versa). There’s also some key differences between visual and audio triggers and literary ones. The words on the page of The Fault in Our Stars may not have produced a reaction, but when spoken aloud by Shailene Woodley, they clearly did. In contrast, so much of If I Stay‘s emotional impact as a book can be traced back to Gayle Forman’s writing – and that can be difficult to translate to the screen (though, for the record, I think the filmmakers did an excellent job).

So what about you, bookworms? Did you read either book? See either movie? What were your reactions? Did they match up with what you expected, or – like me – were you surprised?