Discussion Forums - Classic Literature

Topic: Audience responses

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Audience responses
Date Posted: 1/1/2014 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
Back To Top

When I finished Dombey and Son the other day, as I read the last paragraph, the last sentence, the last word of that 948-page melodrama, and closed the book, I felt like going to find the Old Man, book in hand, and crowing to him, "TA-DAH!"  And then a memory occurred to me of the time I was on board a "showboat" in the Mississippi River, at St. Louis, to see an old-time "meller-drammer" acted out on stage.  Before the show began, the audience was instructed in how to behave during the play.  We were shown how to cheer each time the "hero" appeared, how to boo or hiss each time the villain appeared, and how to place a hand upon one's bosom and sigh with pleasure each time the heroine appeared.  There was a brief rehearsal, as we practiced our "parts", before the play began.  It occurred to me that a response to a book one has just finished reading could be a kind of "coda" to the reading experience.  I know I've read a few books, in my time, to which the response would be "Whew!", or "Ugh!" or "YES", or "Oh, no!", perhaps even  a 'blown' "raspberry" . . . I wondered if I'm as crazy an old lady as my family sometimes wonders, or if other readers have similar reactions to works they've read?

Date Posted: 1/1/2014 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
Back To Top

I do what you describe virtually every time I finish a book. Some of my typical reactions are "YES" or "AWESOME", "YUK" OR "WELL THAT SUCKED", "YEAH RIGHT", "HUH?", "WHAT THE #$&% WAS THAT ABOUT", or perhaps the puzzled "HMMM".  I always have some profound exhalation when the book is done. I think it is pretty natural considering the time invested in completing a book don't you?!

Last Edited on: 1/1/14 4:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/2/2014 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
Back To Top

I have most definitely had that reaction to books, both positive and negative.  Positive going so far as actually clapping and negative going so far as to throw the book across the room.

Date Posted: 1/2/2014 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
Back To Top

I hear you Sevenspiders. On a couple occasions I either threw the book or walked over to the trash can and chucked the book in saying something like, "this is where garbage belongs" or "now at least nobody else will go brain dead reading this!"  Thankfully, I can't remember what those books were.


Date Posted: 4/13/2014 11:42 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2013
Posts: 3
Back To Top

I agree completely with you on this. I might add that I also have been so moved by a book as to be speechless. Sometimes when finishing such a book I am unable to immediately move on to a new book, I have to take a few hours to savor the feeling. By the same token I have finally come to a place in my life where I have given myself permission to NOT finish a book that is painful or boring. I used to slog thru them figuring I owed it to the author or that I started it now I HAD to finish it....... no more, life is too short to waste time on bad books!