Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reading Too Many Mysteries?

Is reading mysteries an influence on your daily life?

Am not asking if reading mysteries, especially murder mysteries, is driving you to commit unlawful acts of crime. What I’m asking is do you look at the world a little differently because of mysteries you read?

Let me give you an example. In my early 20s I would often to go a local state park late in the evening to relax, watch the ducks and unwind after a stressful day. There was a tree on the side of a hill overlooking a lake that was my favorite spot. It was the perfect place to sit and watch the moon come up over the lake. If I had to cover a fatality wreck, I would find myself going in the direction of the park afterwards. It was my comfort zone, of sorts.

You have to understand that this park is located in a rural country area, not in a city. Still, I never worried about going to the park at all hours. Granted, the park superintendent and his wife were my friends and they lived less than a half mile from my favorite tree.

Now, fast forward x-number of years and I live within a quarter mile of another park with three beautiful lakes. I have never been to the park alone, much less after dark. I can see one of the lakes from the end of my driveway.

This past weekend when the moon was so large I thought about walking to the lake to make some photos as the moon came up over the water. But, I didn’t go. Guess why?

I got to thinking about all the murder mysteries I’ve read and all the different things that could happen. I came up with at least five different plots in an hour’s time and once darkness fell, well my imagination really went into overdrive.

I decided it had to be reading all the mysteries and all the talk of plots that made me stop and think about running around in the country at night by myself. It couldn’t possible be that I’m older now and finally realize the risks involve. I think I’m also realizing why my mother’s hair turned gray as early as it did - she read too many mysteries.

Does reading mysteries have an impact on your daily life?


  1. A book can frighten me, but a movie sticks much longer. I think it's just our world. Last weekend my nephew came home from church to find the police parked out front. They'd taped off the alleyway behind his apartment. Some guy was murdered there. And this was in Billings, Montana. Not exactly a big city. It's the times we live in.

  2. Wasn't there a murder commited in that park recently? Is this blog your way of trying to cover yourself? Trying to establish that you don't go into the park? Where exactly were you on the night and question? Can anyone verify that? Isn't it true the victim was your long lost...

    Oops, I guess I've been reading too many mysteries.

  3. LOLOL! I think we all feel ten feet tall and bullet proof when we're younger. Age brings some wisdom--for some of us anyway. I don't read a lot of *mysteries* but I do enjoy suspense and thrillers and yes some of them disturbed me but I can't say I've let it affect my view of the world. The news does that much more effectively, lol!

    I tend to genre hop. I can only read so many of one style before I need something new to read or something to give a break from a favorite genre--yes I have one.

    Nice post Mason!

    Ps, you can always borrow one of my dogs. Not to many people approach a monster dog like a Great Dane taking it's owner for a walk. lolol!

  4. I know I look at things differently. Reading mysteries also made me more aware of my surroundings.

  5. I don't know if the books I read affect the way I see the world. I know watching the news does.

  6. Mason - Interesting question! I think reading mysteries has certainly affected the way I think. I wouldn't say I'm more fearful; I would say, though, that mysteries make me think more of all of the possible things that could happen. I also think that that kind of caution is a part of getting more mature and realising the risks of doing risky things (or even things we think are risky).

  7. I have a wild imagination and i love mysteries. I don't go into a lonely park or woods or night!

  8. Yikes! I think you do need to stop reading mysteries, Mason! I'd be too chicken to go to a park at night, though - and I don't read mysteries.

  9. Kathi, you're right - a movie does stick with you more. Just look at Psycho (the original) and I think everybody remembers the shower scene. It is a difficult time we live in.

    Linda, now I thought we had an agreement that we were together when that murder happened. LOL It is fun to see how life leads your imagination on such a ride.

    Sia, a Great Dane would tend to make a person think before they approached you. It's funny how bullet-proof we are when we're young and how quickly we realize how fragile we really are as we get older.

    Dru, I think you nailed it. We are more aware of our surroundings because of reading mysteries.

    Susanne, the news does make a big impact on us.

    Margot, reading mysteries does show us so many possibilities of bad things that could happen. Maturing also shows us the crazy things that our parents saw when we didn't.

    Harvee, reading mysteries helps my wild and vivid imagination too. I still tend to wander our woods but not at night.

    Talli, I'd had withdrawals if I stopped reading mysteries. I'll just make sure the doors are locked at night and the lights are on when I read. :)

  10. This is the reason I avoid ghost stories. LOL.

    But the world is a rougher place too. I remember when we were just little bitty kids, my mother taking us late at night to my father's workplace so we could walk home together.

    Today, I wouldn't go without an escort to that same location in broad daylight.

  11. Hey Mason I look at the world differently and like Dru said it does make me more aware of my surroundings and pay more attention to people and places.

    Today's world is more crazy then when we were all young. We could leave our doors unlocked etc. Now I would never dream of it.

  12. LOL! This is a great post! I don't read many mysteries, so I can't speak to that topic, but I do read a lot of romance... Hmm... I wonder if that's giving me a romantic view of the world~ :D <3

  13. Some books have scared the beejeezus out of me but I don't think about them when I do things like go to the park.
    The way I see things now is how a spot would make a great murder scene or a person a great murderer.

  14. I think whatever genre you read can affect you, be it Romance, Mystery, YA, Fantasy, etc. And if you write it ... most definitely it affects you!

  15. Sadly, I think a huge part of that is changing reality. There are so many places that really are more dangerous than they used to be.

    I think though, that reading, and more than that, writing murder mysteries has twisted me a bit more, but it's fun... I wander into situations and think "Oh! That would be an interesting way to kill someone!" Not sure what it says about me that I ENJOY that...

  16. Great thinking. Books if well crafted have a way of getting under my skin, and making more aware of my surroundings.

  17. Mason, hi - what a terrific post!

    My reading does, I think, affect my thinking in many areas, although not in the same way as you describe. The news, however, does. I'm old enough to remember when sitting in park along was nothing to even think about twice, but no longer. And that, I'm afraid, is the "new normal." Sadly.

    What reading has affected is how I'll not be more observant about the things around me. And I've become a terrible eavesdropper! LOL!

  18. I don't know if reading is as bad as writing. You wouldn't believe the scenarios that run through my head. I think I agree with a previous commenter, news freaks me out.

  19. Hi Mason. I'm glad I stopped by. I loved your thuoghtful post. We shouldn't let these things stop us from living our life. I was a bit upset that you felt you couldn't get out and enjoy your beautiful surroundings because you know the things that could happen. It is sad. I know we have to be careful but sometimes life is worth the risk.


  20. Mysteries don't bother me. I have always created scenarios about the people and situations I observe, which is why I am a writer.
    But horror book -- no way! I do NOT want to imagine some creepy something knocking on my bedroom window!

  21. hahaha yes!! They opeed my eyes to all sorts of nasty things that could happen so they make me a little more wary (a good thing when you think about it). They don't stop me from doing anything, they just makes me more cautious.

  22. Maria, ghosts stories are something I enjoy but not late at night. I can't help myself usually have dreams about the stories. LOL

    Babs, I know what you mean. I use to leave my purse and keys in my car and now I even drive with my doors locked. Never know when you stop at a red light what could happen.

    Leigh, maybe I need to read more romance. LOL I think reading romance does make one a little happier and carefree.

    Mary, that reminds me of a scene I saw the other day and was thinking now this would make a great spot for someone to be kidnapped. Then I looked around and wonder if anyone else around me was thinking the same thing. LOL

    Helen, I could see from a writer's point of view how reading could influence you to a degree.

    Hart, I'm afraid you're right and it is just our changing reality. As far as you thinking about 'killing someone' in different situations, I'd say you're in good company here. There tends to be a lot of us who are thinking the same way. LOL

    Glynis, getting under our skins is definitely a sign of a good book.

    Kaye, I tend to look at the 'eavesdropping' as learning. I'm not really 'listening' to their conversation, I'm studying their dialect. I can't help it if I have to listen close to get the full meaning of the dialect. :)

    Clarissa, if I sat and study the news I think I'd never go outside again. It seems there's something bad every way you turn.

    Denise, I do try to get out and enjoy the surroundings. I just tend to be a bit more careful than I did in my youth.

    Kathleen, I'm with you on horror books (and movies).

    Lynda, mysteries do make us stop and think about our surroundings and that is good in this day and time. You mentioned being more cautious because of reading. After reading THE BRIDE COLLECTOR, I make sure my curtains and drapes are completely closed before going to bed. LOL

  23. Yes!!!! I'm constantly thinking about those 'what ifs'.... Makes life much more interesting - but scarier too! :)

  24. What you read is going to have an influence on how you view the world, no doubt about it. Just as what we watch and what we listen too will. Different people will be influenced to a different level but there will be an influence for sure.


  25. It's being older. AND all the horrible things that are happening. AND the way the media lets us know all these things! And reading murder mysteries, also.

    I got spooked years ago when I read excerpts in our local newspaper from the book In Cold Blood. This was back in the late Sixties (a safer time?!). I would go outside in broad daylight to hang my clothes on the clothesline (yes, did that back then) and felt shivery, like someone was lurking somewhere in the bushes.

    I still get spooked when I read a creepy/murder story!

    (Loved this post. You're an excellent writer!)


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