Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Chiara / December 3, 2015 , Thu / books & reading, general

The question of “is it the book, or is it you?” can also pertain to movies, and TV shows. So in all reality, the title should probably have been “is it the source, or is it you?” but I wanted to reel people in, and ‘source’ doesn’t really get the point across as well. BUT ANYWAY.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but I still haven’t really ascertained an answer. I think it depends on what book you’ve read or movie/TV show you watched, and what kind of love comes from it. Hang on, let me explain.

example #1: book

raven boys

The Raven Cycle is one of my all time favourite series, discovered only at the beginning of this year. Now, while I REALLY enjoyed reading the books (the first and third were five stars, and the second was four stars, you can catch my reviews here), it was everything outside of the book that made it special. Talking about it with friends, making playlists, writing fanfic, reading friends’ fanfic.

My love for The Raven Cycle stopped essentially being just ABOUT TRC, but rather about all the things that came from it. Friendships, fun, conversations, analyses, fanfic. All of the stuff that is still centred on the books, but actually coming from me and what I put into my love for the books. Transforming it from just a: I love this series!!!!! feeling to: I am going to buy things with Ronan’s face on it, and write sexy AF fanfic, and make playlists, and scroll through every page of Maggie Stiefvater’s Tumblr just so I can compile all the songs she tagged with JUST Ronan and Adam.

So was it the book(s) that made this series so special, or was it what I took from them and made my own?

example #2: tv show

merlin

I barely have the words to describe what this show means to me, to be honest. My love for it knows no bounds. At all.

This is slightly different to TRC, though, because whereas my “outside” love for TRC began practically as soon as I read it, my “outside” love for Merlin didn’t start until the show had actually ended. I adored every minute of watching it, cried every tear in my body when it was finished, and loved it for itself without engaging this love in anything beyond the show.

I started to miss the show, and created a Tumblr account just to reblog Merlin related things, and made friends who love the show as much as I do. And then I started writing fanfic, and my friends read the fanfic, and I forced persuaded them to then go and watch the show. (I also purchased a ridiculous amount of beautiful fanart.)

So I think in this case the boundary between ‘the source’ and ‘me’, was clearer. My intense love for the show required nothing but what it gave me. This love only grew once I started adding to this love myself.

example #3: movie

p and p

When this movie released on DVD I rented it from my local DVD rental store, and returned it before watching it. And then, about two years later, my best friend was talking about how much she loved it, and then we watched it. We had to pause the movie every five minutes for her to explain exactly what the hell the characters were actually saying, and I naively thought that Mr Wickham was a slighted poor soul (oh how I was wrong), but I loved every second of it.

From then on, it became one of our traditions. We’d watch it regularly and flail about Mr Darcy (especially the hand flex), and swoon along to the soundtrack. It was one of our most precious ~things~.

I think it’s pretty clear from the fact that I didn’t watch it when I had the chance that as beautiful and gorgeous as this movie is, it was the happiness and measure of closeness that it brought to my best friend and I that made it so special to me. Without that, I think it would have probably remained unwatched, or at best a movie I thought was lovely. It would never have become one of my favourite movies that I somehow manage to watch without much time passing at all. It was me, in this case. I am sure of it.

But there are other cases when I’m really not sure if it is the source or me that makes something special. Perhaps it is some magical mesh of the two of them. Because no matter how much outside love I bring to something, if the source didn’t exist, the love wouldn’t either. But I also think that outside love can make something infinitely more special, because it becomes more than just a book, or a TV show, or a movie. It becomes the thing that gives you inspiration, or happiness, or a beloved tradition.

Let me know your thoughts! Is it the source, or you? Or a mix between the two?

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8 Responses to is it the book, or is it you?

  1. What a fascinating topic to discuss, Chiara! I’ve thought about this for awhile, in quite a few different contexts – I think there is a special sort of magic about falling in love with a book on its own, but then, there is another (equally lovely) kind when that love is mixed with one’s own outside experience.

    That is something I just adore about fandom – it’s a group of people with nothing else in common who come together out of immense, overflowing love for a book/film/television show. Isn’t that utterly beautiful?

    (PS: How much would you like to bet that your spam filter will eat this comment? I’ll bet my dog, my guitar, my toothbrush, and all of my books.)

    • Chiara says:

      Thank you, lovely! :D

      Falling in love with a book on its own is just as wonderful as falling in love with it because of things that add to the book. It’s kind of awesome to see the difference between those kinds of love, as well.

      YES. Fandom is so awesome because we all have that ONE thing in common, and we band together over it, and love it so much. Very beautiful.

      (You know, I don’t think this one went to spam? But it was a while ago, so my memory could be forgiving, haha XD)

  2. I think it is definitely a mix! I mean, the book itself has to be good. But it’s really the 24 hours after finishing when my mind goes crazy that really cements a really good book. And fanon is always fun for developing my views and spotting things I’ve missed. I’ve been known to re-rate books after discovering something really neat on Tumblr :)

    • Chiara says:

      Oh yes, of course! The book definitely has to be good for both kinds of love (otherwise where would the love stem from?).

      Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever done that. But I am not a very frequent re-rater, unless I re-read a book and feel very different, but then I rate it separately on another edition, haha!

  3. Tasya says:

    i think it’s a mix. also same with merlin, i loved that show after it ended. after that painful last episode that makes me feels and yearn for more and just re-watched some episodes. as for the raven cycle, the tumblr aesthetics make me want to read it. but the beauty of the relationships between the characters also made me loved it. and as for pride and prejudice… it’s like the first classic i’ve read and let’s just admit it, mr. darcy is just so precious. that hand flex? I REPEAT IT SO MANY TIMES XD

    • Chiara says:

      I think it’s a mix, too! I think when you share a love for something with someone (or a lot of someones, like Tumblr), you get to explore that love in a different way had you just loved it all by yourself. I’m so glad you love Merlin and TRC and Pride & Prejudice :D They are all such lovely things to fall in love with. OMG I repeat the hand flex like A HUNDRED TIMES every time I watch that movie XD

  4. Romi says:

    This is such a lovely post, like a sweet monument to things one loves and cares about with a passion. It is perfectly glorious and I enjoyed it enormously, and I just have to say, YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED P&P. I’d have made sure of that. *nods*
    I’ve wondered about this, too, because after I read Fahrenheit 451 a couple years back I couldn’t stop thinking about the world and it inspired me and impassioned me (in different ways than you write about here, mostly, but along a similar vein of passion and love) and I didn’t necessarily feel those things FOR the book. I felt them because of the book, about the world and the creativity and imagination and all of that, but the story isn’t one I love itself. I just love the things I got from it. Which confused me and mystified me and made me love all of it a little more. So obviously I am no help here, because I don’t really know the answer here, or even know if there *is* an answer. I suppose it could be that sometimes we love things so much more, and our love makes us search out other things, other people, so we can keep on loving even after the thing that started it all ends or stops giving us new content. It’s the level of passion and adoration we have that sends us out looking for more, not necessarily the source itself.

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you liked it, lovely <3 LOL, I know I would have loved it but it would have taken so much longer to find it :O

      I love what you have written here, and I 100% agree with you. I think it is the source that spurs the love, and it's what we do with that love that determines what comes next. I'm grateful for the people I've met who have indulged my love for things, because it makes it so much more special, and last that much longer.

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