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 Today’s Booking Through Thursday question has a 9/11 theme:

Today is the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I know that not all of you who read are in the U.S., but still, it’s vital that none of us who are decent people forget the scope of disaster that a few, evil people can cause–anywhere in the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.

So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since. And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news?

One thing that disheartened me greatly in the aftermath of 9/11 was the way some people were stereotyping and generalizing about Muslims and/or Arabs. I am not a Muslim but my husband is one.  After 9/11 I had to listen to coworkers, acquaintances and even family say things like “we should bomb that whole part of the world to oblivion” or “all Muslims should pay for what happened.”  The lumping together of people of a certain culture, religion, or ethnicity has always disturbed me. But, after 9/11 some of the backlash affected my life.  Since 9/11, my husband or I have been stopped for a random security check on every single flight that we have taken together. I also worry about my husband’s family that live overseas in an area with much political turmoil and where bombings and terrorist attacks are a much more common occurance than they are here in the States.  

The villainy and evil in the real world doesn’t really effect what I think about villains or evil in books. I read a good mix of light-hearted books and more serious topics. I read most literary fiction and non-fiction and I dislike one-dimensional characters. Villain or hero, I like to understand the motivation of why characters do what they do.  I always loved reading world literature about life in different parts of the world, or lives of people of different cultures or religions. I like learning more about the world.  If anything, 9/11 made me want to read even more books about other cultures to get a deeper understanding of the world we live in and the people that inhabit it.  Reading books about various cultures does help widen my view on the real world. For me, the most rewarding reading experiences are the ones where I learn something new about the world.

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Comments on: "Booking Through Thursday: Villainy" (2)

  1. This is one perspective that too needs to be known to all.

  2. Very well said! I get very affected when foreigners (sorry if I have to use that term, but then, anyone outside my country is one, as much as I am in theirs hehe) immediately tack stereotypes about a particular group or race based on what they see or hear in the media. Granted, it isn’t easy, and it also happens inside my own country amongst the peopel themselves, which is whole lot more sad. I had a Muslim classmate, a Korean, a Chinese and an American. Being with them taught me that despite our skin color, we’re all the same deep down.

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