I was browsing through this news article about John Irving and Stephen King urging J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame to not kill off Harry in the final book when I found the following quote by King amusing:
"I made that dog up, it was a fake dog, it was a fictional dog, but people get very, very involved," King said.
And I thought to myself, "What kind of idiot gets that involved in a book???" Followed a split second later by, "Wait a minute, that's me!"
Back in my youth I was quite a voracious reader. Unfortunately, as I got older, I discovered a tendency (which I don't think I had when I was younger) to get a little too invested emotionally in a book. Wasn't every book, depended on the story. The one book that I distinctly remember me realizing that this was happening with was Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. Very, very good by the way. But anyway, it was during my second time through it and things that happened in the book just started to bug me. Really, really bug me. Mostly it was when bad things happened to characters I liked. Or when I could sense that something really bad was about to happen. It got to the point where I couldn't continue it bugged me so much.
I had the same problem when re-reading Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy. It's not that I didn't like the path the author decided to take while telling the story, it was more like I empathized/sympathized way too much with some of the characters. So after awhile, I just stopped reading. Books at least. I still tore through magazines like tissue paper.
After a good number of years I eventually started reading novels again. And as far as I can tell, I'm no longer plagued by that particular problem. Guess it was just a phase. Or maybe I haven't found the right book yet. Although I no longer read as much as I used to, that's due more to lack of time and this silly thing we call the Internet. I just finished re-reading Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood for the third time and I was, once again, touched. For some reason I keep forgetting the plot of this book even though I know that I like it. So every now and then I re-read it, which isn't a bad thing because even though the coming-of-age lessons in the book can be of the simple run-of-the-mill variety, they're pretty much timeless, and it doesn't hurt to be reminded of them from time to time. My favorite line from this latest read through: