Saturday, April 25, 2009

Imagining Others

I just finished reading Paper Towns by John Green this evening, which I really enjoyed. It was thoughtful, funny, and at some points, quite heartbreaking. Plus, it's by John Green, who, if you've ever seen his videos on YouTube, is totally hilarious. NERDFIGHTERS! DFTBA!

Erm, anyway...the book talks a lot about imagining other people, and if we're able to ever really fully imagine other people, and when we can imagine them best, and how sometimes we're just in love with the idea of a person rather than a person itself. All of this I find rather fascinating, by the way. The fact that we're all in our own shells and we'll always only ever be us, but at the same time, we rely so much on our connections with other people--that these are what make our life full. In fact, wanting to get into someone else's head is one of my main motivators for writing.

One of the scenes I liked in the book was when the main character, Quentin, and his friends were on a road trip. They were playing a game they made up called That Guy is a Gigolo (which is a great name for a game, by the way) where you basically see random people and imagine who they are...what their story is. I can't help but do this sometimes, especially when I see people walking alongside a highway or doing something otherwise strange. Usually my ideas of their lives are somewhat romanticized or melodramatic, and that comes into play in the book too: sometimes what you imagine about others shows more about you than it does about them.

Anyone else like thinking about the possible lives of strangers?

Oh, and speaking of Paper Towns, which cover did you prefer? I read the sad one, but I didn't have much choice in the matter, since I just got the library system to send me a copy. I really can't wait to see what they do cover-wise with the paperback version!


  1. I think all writers like thinking about the possible lives of strangers...Or at least I do.

    When I was a kid, I used to wonder what exactly 'I' was and whether if I closed my eyes and thought hard enough 'I' could become someone else. Like I could just create a mind swap on the spot. Recently, I've been taking a Philosophy course and a lot of these ideas about how we only ever have our firsthand experience have come up, it's really very interesting.

  2. John Green is an insanely good writer! I finished reading my first ever book of his, Looking For Alaska, a little while ago and really enjoyed it. As for covers, I think I like the one where the girl isn't smiling better.