DISCUSSION: The Intrigue of Ideas


Like many, I'm obsessed with ideas. And there's nothing as ensnaring as a good idea, right?

Books, to me, are secrets wrapped in parcel paper, finalised with a ribbon; they begin as a vacancy, because – as far as I know – they're nothing more than an empty box, and yet they seek to astound and amaze. Good books, to me, are the boxes which aren't empty: they're occupied – full to the brim with thoughts and muses and figments of the imagination. They're occupied with ideas.

And, perhaps, it sounds like I'm not going anywhere with this post, but this is what I want to talk about – what fills the boxes. I want to talk about ideas as intricate as systems of Chinese boxes; ideas that fold in on themselves; ideas which, ultimately, have no end.

Sometimes one line, stolen from a book's blurb, is enough to enthral me – enough to get my mind ticking. In the build up to last Christmas, I spent hours browsing Goodreads intend on finding a novel which would do just this; in the end, it was this line that did it: "Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass" [The Girl With the Glass Feet]. Have you ever read a line which suggests such a combination of beauty and transcendence? I was completely and utterly ambushed by this idea.

And yet, other times, it's a breadcrumb trail of ideas that entices me. The Night Circus is just this; each tent is a wonderful and charming idea in its own right, and the amalgamation of all these ideas snowballs into one undeniably intriguing feat of the imagination.

And yet the intrigue of ideas doesn't end here. Deathless and The Snow Child are both reworkings of older ideas… and is there anything better than that? Ideas that have been reinterpreted and refined by different beings and their own, unique, different ideas? To me, that's simply beautiful.

How to Be Both is my current read and, again, my pure adoration of ideas has gotten the better of me here. Ali Smith's latest release completely encompasses the idea of art echoing art. It's written in a style which mirrors that of a fresco's double-take technique – how insanely wonderful is that?!

The Book of Lost Things won me over, once again, through a single line – "books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness" – and there is nothing about this image that doesn't intrigue me. In theory, it's the simplest of ideas, and yet it hints at so many more undiscovered ideas, waiting to be unwrapped. And, in the case of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, it's the ideas the title alone inspires that intrigue me.

So yes, I'm obsessed with ideas. I'm obsessed with the intrigue of the simplest of ideas.

So, what about you? Do you find yourself intrigued by ideas? Are you as obsessed as I am?

13 comments:

  1. I seriously love how creative you are ♥

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  2. I love this post!! And I completely agree, sometimes the simplest but most evocative lines draw you into a story and have you hooked so quick, sometimes even before you've read and experienced the book. Even the simplest plot ideas can quickly unravel into something so intricate and special, it's such an experience to be able to witness that done so well in certain books. I find myself wanting to master the talent of doing such things myself, haha. <3

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    1. Yes! I totally get what you mean! And sometimes a book will just have this one line that completely enthrals you. :') And I know what you mean – it's something I wish I could do. :D

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  3. This post is just so beautiful and I love the idea (getit?) that books are a box full of ideas. It's a beautiful thought.

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  4. Love this! This is exactly why I generally stick to sci-fi and fantasy but not the classic sort because I want to explore all the awesome new ideas and nuances that an author can weave into a completely new world with new rules. If the magic is unique and cool, I'm sold, but a five stars book is one where the characters or the writing itself pull at deeper parts of myself that I didn't even realize were there. I learn more about myself when I read an amazing book and words can't really describe how that feels. Thanks for reminding me of favorite feelings and the recommendations for books to check out :D

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    1. I totally know what you mean by "new ideas and nuances that an author can weave into a completely new world with new rules"! This is why I love series like Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – everything about the world and the system of magic was incredible! And aw you're welcome. :)

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  5. You've reminded me of something that I seem to think of a lot - when I read a book I often think "How on earth did the author come up with that idea?" Authors will never fail to mesmerise me with their wonderful minds

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    1. I'm always thinking that too! I recently read The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon and I swear I spent the entire book in AWE of Shannon's imagination. :)

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  6. I totally agree, books are a very real kind of magic and the possibilities really are endless. It's just pinning those possibilities down, isn't it?

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    1. I'm in love with your summary – "books are a very real kind of magic". They definitely are. And I think, sometimes this magic can get lost when the author's pinning those possibilities down, and sometimes the ideas can really flourish. :)

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  7. Its as if there is a whole world with lives and characters who live in paper!
    Loved this post :)

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