Sweet Rush: The Excitement of Reading

Ah, there is nothing better than that rush of excitement when you learn something or are inspired by something! For me, it happens a lot when I read. It goes beyond the plot and the characters and into “is that for real?” I recall some of my best history factoids through historic fiction. It doesn’t have to be history though, I learn a lot about geography, forensic anthropology (thank you Bones) and even things I didn’t care about, but now have a new interest in.

I’m currently in the middle of a Japanese manga series called Hikaru no Go, about the traditional board game Go. I know nothing about Go, so I was interested to see how the author would contrive a comic series on a kid playing a board game. My assessment? COOOOOL! The excitement the author brings to the game itself, and the emotion of the art, makes me want to go out and play chess (why chess? Because I actually know the rules and know other people who play chess and I don’t know a single person who plays go and I’m a pathetically rational person). I have read another series called La Corda d’Oro about high schoolers who play classical music, which threw me into a classical music binge and made me want to re-learn to play the piano (except I don’t have a piano at my house anymore).

I think it’s a mark high in a writer’s favor if they can capture interest in things that go beyond the story and into real life. It’s an amazing success if you can spur a reader to go from your book to wikipedia “is this for real?” (true story) and from wikipedia to the library (also true story) “oh, there’s a book on this!” It’s the sneakiest educational plan out there, and (even sneakier) it can get people interested in things you like yourself. Who knew that my brother’s video game had a real-period replica level of Jerusalem in the 12th century, or Rome in the 14th century? Yes, you can actually stand on (and flip off) real historic buildings. Maybe that will spur kids to have an interest in medieval europe? There could be some kid out there who is only waiting to discover that the de Medici family in his video game were real before he becomes a world-renown historian. It’s exciting to think that we writers have the potential to inspire others.

Someday I would like to write a story with facts and unusual bits of information that I’ve gathered throughout my life and writing career. I always intended to, but I somehow ended up in the far far faaar reaches of space in the midst of a longstanding galactic war that is being further complicated by the emergence of supernatural genes. But who knows? Maybe I’ll inspire someone to reopen NASA…

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