Extreme Reading

Fernando Aloisi, see post below, claimed he could produce blood blisters with the power of his prose. To the relief of many readers (you soft lot) this has not yet happened. In this post I will, however, put forth a handful of instances in which, regardless of the author’s intentions, readers have experienced extreme sensory reactions.

Let’s start with Siegfried Egtz, whose editorials in a leading Frankfurt newspaper have long caused involutary seizures across Northern Germany. Experts claim that it has something to do with Egtz’s excessive use of punctuation, especially exclamation marks. Others say that it is the content of his writing that rankles.

When moved, bodies will react in any manner of ways, some more extreme than others. I know of at least two people who fainted after reading the emotional closing scene of Alma Pedrova’s Another Form of Laughter. More recently, in Austria, a man’s hair was said to have changed colour after reading Goethe for the first time. Horror fiction often promises to make your hair ‘stand on end’. However, statistics show that hair is much more likely to stand on end after reading contemporary Macedonian fiction (see Goran Lded, The Static Poets of Strumica, 2010). An elderly resident of Kratovo currently holds the world record for ‘hair elevation’ after reading a particularly moving novel by Boban Direnevski.

Finally, I have been informed on several occasions of how certain writer’s have a tremendous knack of ‘moving their readers’ bowels’. People joke of ‘verbal diarrhoea’ – who knew that an actual form of it may exist? I, for one, have never got through a page of James Joyce without wanting to urinate into a large bucket.


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