Sometimes I'm reading something, and I'm engrossed and engaged and in the story. This can be very disarming when something extraordinary happens, or magical, or (more often, these days) - something extremely and terrifying violent or batsh!t crazy.
When you're watching TV and something WILD happens, you can just check the internet and read pages on pages on pages of reactions, critiques, tinfoil-y theories. This is especially true for shows with dedicated monster-rabid fanbases, like Game of Thrones (r/asoiaf FOREVER [R+L=J]) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and anything by David Simon or Friday Night Lights or Mad Men or The Bachelor or...Murder She Wrote, I'm sure. It's great! You pause the TV (or finish an episode) and find an entire community that dissects every scene, move by move. The fun doesn't end when the episode does.
Now I'm reading a book (this one) and its huge and sprawling and so worth it already. But I'll be in the middle of a plane and there's a grotesque murder. Or limbs or lost or a drugbender told from the first-person perspective or maybe an allusion to a song I loved in seventh grade and I have an immediate desire to process this with other people. To break down an insane chapter step by step.
Maybe my (obsessive )community-driven TV habits have trickled over to my reading habits. But without reading at the same time as someone else, I find myself lost. Looking on the internet is too risky - what if there's a spoiler? Without chapter-by-chapter divisions, I'm too afraid to check online posts. Also, internet chatrooms (message boards?) are scary unless previously vetted by trusted advisors (my brother).
So, a brilliant idea for the powers that be: communal reading breakdowns and shakedowns. Let's have online insta-forums where readers can vibe on sophisticated chapter-by-chapter recaps. Criticisms, allusions, cited references - a veritable Wasteland of cultural influences (or more of a mixtape).
Or, I suppose....bookclubs. Let's make a bookclub.