The BBC have started to show a series hosted by Sebastian Faulks on Saturday nights called Faulks on Fiction.  This comprises various talking heads holding forth on fictional characters, interspersed with lots and lots of clips from television adaptions of said books. It sounds as dry as dust, but it’s absolutely brilliant, helped by a webpage at the Beeb with a reading list to die for.

Part 1 -which is on the iPlayer for another 19 days- featured heroes, starting with Robinson Crusoe, moving swiftly through Tom Jones (no, not the singer!) and Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair.

Part 2, which brings me to the subject in my usual meandering way, is all about lovers, and asks the question, how much does fiction influence the way we perceive love? Think about it — how many stories feature what happens after the hero and heroine get togther?

You may argue that this is because what happens after boy/girl get boy/girl inherently boring, but maybe that’s the case because Shakespeare et al have so culturally hardwired us that most of us can’t imagine an alternative (most of us being the portion of society that turns books or films into bestsellers — in other words the audience) .

It’s quite ironic that I’ve heard so many singletons lately bitterly resenting the cards that those in relationships are supposedly exchanging, blithely ignoring the fact that people in relationships don’t need to anonymously send each other cards.  In fact, after over a quarter of a century Kate and I have adapted Valentine’s Day to an extent that the card-manufacturer’s target audience would have trouble recognizing it!

I bought Kate a card, but not of the traditional Valentine’s variety, while she bought me Brian Moore’s autobiography Beware of the Dog.  (Far more mentally nourishing and enjoyable)

How did you celebrate the day -if you did- while simultaneously subverting it?

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• February 15th, 2011 • Posted in Books, General • Comments: 0