When JK Rowling (whose name, by the way, is mightily close to mine. My maiden name, at least. Look: Joanne K. Rowling / Janiel Rowley. See? And if I had a middle name it would probably be Kate or something, which would make it all pretty much the same as hers: JK Rowl(ey)ing. It probably IS my name. I'm probably really JK Rowling and you just don't know it. OOPS. SPOILER.)
So anyway. What was I saying?
Oh yes. When JK's Pottermore went live (Go look at her picture. We're practically twins), I freaked out and bought the entire series for Kindle. And I dove in and have been reading and listening almost non-stop. (Oh yes. You can listen on your Kindle. Just push Shift and Sym simultaneously and you'll get a dulcet robot-voice, programmed with inflection and everything, and it will read the book to you. Cheaper than Jim Dale. Not as nice, but cheaper.)
What a great little blast from the past! Been having a ball. I've been listening at the doctor's office, at games, at rehearsals, in the W.C., at the gym. Heck, I can even listen to it in my car, using one of those little adapters for iPods. I'm so Potterized I've been waving spatulas at my pots and pans and waiting for them to fill up with dinner. (It'll happen one of these times.)
And then I came to book 5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Now honeys, I don't know if you're like me, but I get INTO my books. I live them. I breathe them. I look up from them and am completely shocked to find myself vacuuming the living room with my free hand instead of walking around Honeydukes trying to decide between the Cockroach Clusters and the Fizzing Whizbees. If its a good story and a wonderfully built world it imbues me with it's story-ness. It's NESS-ness, if you will.
Well a weird thing started happening with Phoenix. I started feeling, I don't know, crabby. Stressed. Like great injustices were being perpetrated around me. I started telling my kids off if they forgot to tell me something. Began glaring at perfect strangers for acting as if they simply didn't care about how I felt. Noticing every. single. injustice. printed in the newspaper. And it took all of my fortitude to refrain from going to the newspaper office and burning it down.
What the hinkypunk? I don't walk around crabby all the time! I don't tell strangers off! I know the media rarely sends unbiased news out there, and is sometimes not completely accurate! I don't usually care about this stuff. What was going on?
Well. I'll tell you. I was Psycho-Potter-Phoenix-ized. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry is a crab-face. He's recently been traumatized and no one has sent him to the wizarding-therapist (Dr. Myldewy H. Thalamus) (I just made that up. JK Rowling can borrow it if she wants) (Read: I can borrow it if I want). Plus, he's fifteen and his hormones are in an uproar. Not to mention, JK herself was preggo with her son and had hydrant-loads of testosterone coursing through her body for the little dude. I'm pretty sure we saw the results of that in this book. And for whatever reason, I was reflecting it all and sending it back out.
Now, I know I'm not alone in this. My daughter has been reading the book too, and she's been complaining of feeling just as psycho-crabby as I am. She's been just as psycho-crabby as I am.
It kind of makes me nervous. I mean, is it just us? Are we weak-willed people who pick up the mood of whatever we're reading until we actually feel like the characters do? Well, I guess Mr. Dan Wells can kiss our readership of his book I Am Not A Serial Killer goodbye! Not to mention The Hunger Games. Can you imagine? Although I guess it would take care of the problems with my daughter . . .
Right. I don't think there's any help for it. Letting my Kindle read Phoenix to me all robot-like makes it less jarring. I feel things much less viscerally with that goofy, stilted voice telling the story. But I think after this I'm going to have to limit myself to more innocuous plots and characters. Things like Roget's Thesaurus, and Mrs. Fields' Cookie Book. I mean, I'll be boring. But at least there'll be cookies.
How 'bout you? Do you live your books, or can you just enter the world for a bit and then walk away?