Today’s assignment: read six posts written in response to yesterday’s prompt, and leave comments on at least two of them. — Done now, there are so many interesting blogs out there–and so professional–feeling shy again. Did comment, will follow up on at least one of them.
You can find the part about the truth serum in the midst of yesterday’s meandering thoughts, but it was rather short, to the point, and not really fit for any follow up (although I still would like to have that answer). But anyway, in case someone from Blogging 101 comes here looking for an interpretation of the daily prompt: here’s one I have a bit more to say about than the Truth Serum:
When reading for fun, do you usually choose fiction or non-fiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?
“Isaac.Asimov01” by Phillip Leonian  from New York World-Telegram & Sun. – United States Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. Call number: NYWTS – BIOG–Asimov, Isaac, Dr. [P&P]. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-115121. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Isaac Asimov was a biochemist and one of the ‘old’ masters of ‘hard’ science fiction. He wrote fiction, non fiction, and was an advisor for Star Trek. If you can have it all, why even chose between fiction and non fiction? For me, there’s an answer under the cut.
Give a lonely child a book and you forge an unbreakable bond.
For reasons not important here, my childhood wasn’t a happy one. Whatever I did, wherever I went, I never quite ‘belonged.’ But then there were these trick film movies, first seen in a small movie theatre where my dad took me from time to time when I was still very little. Imagine what these characters could do! It was magic. They could jump like kangaroos, they could fly, they could fall from high places without injury, they ran and raced, and always the good or smart guys won, and got a laugh out of it, too. I wanted to live in that world, be one of them.
Little wonder that I taught myself to read with a Donald Duck booklet. Grown-ups ran out of patience far too quickly for my taste when they were supposed to read a story to me, and an other, and another, and one more, please. And all of a sudden, I could make sense of these black spider legs on the paper, and I read the stories myself. Joy!
I was fighting thieves who wanted to steal Uncle Scrooge’s money with Donald and his nephews. I was travelling with Gulliver. I was spellbound by the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, caring nothing about the colonial arrogance in the book, and all about the exotic adventures. Grimm’s fairy tales, Andersen’s fairy tales, I lived in them. Then early sixties television with all the importet American series. The Invaders. Gunsmoke. Bonanza. Pernell Roberts was my first crush.
Then came Star Trek. The books I read varied. From childrens’ books to stealthily reading the books in my parents’ bookshelves. Required reading for school never was that exciting. Adventures. Space exploration. For a while, I read the harlequin romances my grandmother liked. Then my friends had a pulp horror phase, naturally I had to read that, too. Brain in a vat in philosophy? Been there, read that. My dad liked to read Perry Rhodan pulp science fiction. Of course I read that, too. You can call me what you want, a literary snob I am not. More like a literary glutton.
The late sixties and early seventies brought more interesting things on tv. We only had three channels then, in Germany. Harold and Maude. The Graduate. Soylent Green. My bookshelf grew with the classics we didn’t read in school (we were progressive): Goethe, Lessing, Shakespeare, Mann. Then Günther Grass. I read everything by Günther Grass I could get at the time. I had a lot of time for reading then. After finishing school I worked in a factory for two years before I went to university. The job was boring, there was a lot of time to think and contemplate.
Then came Fassbinder films. World on a Wire, a tv-only production by Fassbinder, is still one of the best virtual reality stories out there. Gripping, thought-provoking. Like the Matrix, but older, and less action-flashy. The real world? Oh yes, there was one…
Old Hitchcock movies made me interested in psychology. And then, just before I started university, a friend gave me The Hobbit. This, and then The Lord of The Rings, and then The Silmarillion was a reading event I’ll never forget. I don’t think I slept much at the time. I was wearing headphones, had Queen’s ‘Live Killers’ playing (in vinyl, wobbly, scratched, every screetch and jump treasured) as loudly as I could stand it, and travelled to Mordor with ‘Brighton Rock’ hammering in my ears–and in my heart.
Later I read Zimmer-Bradley, as much as I could get. Then I spent some time in New Zealand and improved my English reading skills through reading Heinlein. When I was back in Germany, I read some German translations, but it’s not the same. I tried to get as many books in the original as I could. I better stop now before I have a whole biography from the books I’ve read. Auel’s Earth’s children series played a big role in my life — until the last book which I hated. Too bad. Harry Potter gave me hours of reading fun, too, up to the last book, which I didn’t like very much.
And in the meantime, the internet had come. And I had discovered writing. And now I’m so busy that I hardly find the time to read through the night any more. But when I took the MOOC Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, I was forced to quickly read book after book, from Grimm’s fairy tales over Dracula and Frankenstein to Wells, Burroughs, Bradbury, LeGuin, Doctorow. Reading was fun, writing essays was not, but this reading race revived my love of constant reading and I want to continue reading a lot, there is no lack of material, only a lack of time. And then one of the professors in Creativity, Innovation and Change made a remark that ignited an idea, a story jumped into my head, and that’s what I’m working on, now, when I’m not busy filling page after page of this blog, or boring students in English Composition I with my insights. Sometimes it’s either reading or writing. But really, for someone who lives in stories, is there a difference?