Sunday, January 22, 2012

Old Literature, Interrupted

This afternoon, I was reading a book (The Sense of an Ending) that is set in mondern-day England. The section I read today ended with a mention of the narrator using Google Earth to search for a childhood home. While this was not out of place in the story, it took me out of the book for a moment. Current technology, to me, rarely fits into my escapist fiction.

To me, literature is old. In high school, I didn't have progressive teachers or trendy syllabi, so I think the most modern author I read was Faulkner. In college, despite my love of English classes, I only took two: one honors seminar on Nabokov and a British Literature class (i.e. Shakespeare & Austen). After college, I went crazy reading current novels. I was rather shocked to learn that novelists who are still alive can still write really well. Who knew?

Still, even with my more contemporary taste, I crave books to take me outside my world. I escape into the worlds I read about. As such, I find it disconcerting to be reminded of everyday things, like technology. I mean, as much time as I spend daily on my computer, I don't want to read a book about a person perusing Facebook several times a day.

As a sidenote, movies rarely embrace technology basics either. Items like cell phones - especially smart phones - would solve movie problems too quickly, so now they have to establish reasons to not have phones (lost, out of range, etc.) in order to continue that world. And for some reason, we all accept that characters don't have the same tools that we do to navigate their worlds.

I guess I'm saying that maybe the mention of Google Earth threw me because I've never read of such a contemporary technology being used by a character. But then again, in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth regularly uses the Internet, but that wasn't so disruptive because her character was a techie. I accept those.

Am I being weird here? Does this bother you too?

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