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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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Location: Spokane, Washington, United States

"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Do You Recognize the 7 Early Signs of Manchegan Madness?

One of the biggest risks facing readers today is the danger of falling prey to Manchegan Madness. Manchegan Madness is an obsessive compulsive desire to act out the events of a fictional story and/or become a fictional character. The first known manifestation of Manchegan Madness was documented by Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote. If you are a habitual reader, you should learn to recognize these early signs of the onset of the disease:
  1. Naming your pets after literary characters: Our dog's name is Pippin, and we constantly have to explain to people that he is named not for the basketball player Scotti Pippen, but for Peregrin Took from The Lord of the Rings.
  2. Cooking and eating dishes that your favorite characters have eaten: After reading Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series I went to the store and bought a bottle of Madeira just to taste what they were drinking on board ship. It was delicious, and I have drunk many a bottle since. I haven't had the courage yet to try English pudding.
  3. Using lines of dialogue in daily conversation: Does saying "Oh bother," like Winnie the Pooh count?
  4. Owning (and wearing) clothes in imitation of a character: Harry Potter? Hercule Poirot? Once I dressed up as Doc Savage for Halloween, but no one knew who I was. I can't imagine why.
  5. Naming one (or more) of your children after your favorite characters: I personally have not done this (yet), but my parents told me just this year that I was named after the character Nick in The Big Valley TV series (thank you for not naming me Heath!). FYI, Atticus was the 704th most popular name in the U.S. in 2005, and Frodo was the 2772nd most popular name in Belgium in 2002.
  6. Purchasing or building a character's home: See this story of Dan Price's hobbit-hole.
  7. Quitting your job to take up the occupation of a fictional character you admire: Not yet, but going around the country with a sword trying to right wrongs is beginning to sound pretty good.
To date, the only known cure for MM (assuming a person wants to be cured) is to tell other people your symptoms. So if you have these or any other symptoms, be sure to let us know.

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posted by Nick Senger at 9:35 PM

Comments on "Do You Recognize the 7 Early Signs of Manchegan Madness?"


Anonymous charlotte cook said ... (Tuesday, March 20, 2007 11:27:00 AM) : 

Hi, Nick Senger,
You gave me a most entertaining read this morning. Your sense of humor and view of reading is just the kind of thing I love. So I am encouraged to send you this note and ask you to consider joining the folks at www.habitualreader.com. I would like to post this and/or a link to this. And if you have future writings that you would like to share with us, I'd be grateful.
Charlotte Cook


Blogger Nick Senger said ... (Tuesday, March 20, 2007 9:19:00 PM) : 

Thanks for your kind words, Charlotte. I'm very glad you liked it. I certainly had a lot of fun writing it. Please feel free to post this or link to it as you see fit. I will definitely look into joining you at habitualreader.com. At a quick glance it looks like my kind of community. Thanks again. Nick


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