I am happy to welcome author JL Bryan on my blog again today! He is going to talk more about what he thinks the real meaning of creating and reading a book. Keep in mind that your comment on this post will count towards the grand prize for this blog tour as well as the giveaway that will be posted tomorrow!
For today's post on The Bibliophile's Journal, I wanted to explore something about books in general, since The Haunted E-book delves into those issues—what is it to write and create a book? What is it to read a book? What do these activities mean to us as human beings?
In The Haunted E-book, a nineteenth-century “tramp printer” creates a certain book, with some inspiration from a treatise on the manufacture of black magic spell books. When anyone finds and reads this book, they find themselves stalked by his ghost. He threatens anyone who tries to stop reading the book without finishing it.
Reading the book awakens his ghost, bringing it back to “life.” He draws his strength psychically from the reader. When nobody's reading the book, his ghost becomes dormant until he gets another reader.
This is similar to what happens when we read a book by any deceased author. Reading Milton or Shakespeare or Mark Twain—or, lamentably, Kurt Vonnegut—brings a portion of that author's mind back to life. The reader's mind animates the recorded thoughts, ideas and imagination of the writer, a kind of mini-resurrection.
When the reader stops reading, it all becomes dormant again. When a book has been read for the last time, either because no remaining copies exist, or simply because nobody new ever chooses to read it, then this last bit of the author has finally died.
Reading a book can be a lot like getting possessed by a ghost. For a while we turn our mind and imagination over to another person, and let them shape our experience. The ghost of the writer might be thousands of years old, and from an entirely different part of the world.
In the comments, you might mention some of your favorite authors who are deceased, or books that have given you a window onto other times and places that you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.