Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead, it's been in my head.
Today's post is actually about something I am calling intertextuality although the word is so big and encompasses so many meanings that I am only skimming the surface. For the purposes of this post, I am defining intertextuality as using a secondary text to highlight something about a primary text. I was thinking about this in the context of my reviews and specifically my recent review of Seraphina. I know that I often reference other books and media to highlight my feelings and this review is no exception.
I compared main character Seraphina to Tamora Pierce's Alanna, her mentor Orma to Star Trek's Mr. Spock, and dreamy Kiggs to Richard Armitage's portrayal of John Thornton in North and South. If you are familiar with any of those works, you have a great insight in to *my* views of the characters.
And I think that tends to be the way I approach my reviews, the way I find simplest for conveying how I think of them. I read a lot as well as being very immersed in (American) television, movies, music, and general celebrity gossip. I'm very impressed by those bloggers who write these beautiful paragraphs and incisively critique the book. But that's not my style. For me, almost always a character in a book will read me of something else in culture I'm familiar with and I will rely on that when preparing my review. I don't always, of course, but I sometimes think my reviews are the better for it when I can use those points in explaining how they affected my reading experience.
However this can be isolating to the reader. I don't think these references are too obscure because I think most people have heard of Spock and Alanna is a pretty popular character, especially formative to a lot of us bookish ladies, I know. Meanwhile I sourced Richard Armitage so you could do your own search (if you didn't, I highly suggest that you do because he's gorgeous.) But obviously I'm speaking from my own experiences and it may have served as a turn-off to people who found it confusing.
So what do you think? Do you like when bloggers reference other books/movies/TV/etc. to explain their feelings about a character? Has it ever caused you great confusion? Do you ever incorporate such references into your reviews?