Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong-- Reopening the Case of The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Pierre Bayard
This book was soooo interesting. A fascinating philosophical debate about writers, writing, characters, etc.
Awesome line-- "Failing to grasp his characters independence, Conan Doyle did not realize that one of them had entirely escaped his control and was amusing himself by misleading his detective."
I love the idea of the characters doing things that the author isn't aware of. I have often contended, regarding my own writing, that I just create characters and then follow them to see what they do. (Totally not comparing myself to Doyle here.)
Anyway, I'm sure it would have been better if I'd actually read Baskervilles before now, but it was still really interesting. The details Bayard point out seem like they should be amazingly obvious, and yet millions of readers have ignored them.
Bayard also has a great way of explaining the relationship between readers and the books they read-- declaring that the reader and the characters inhabit an "intermediate world" in between reality and fiction. This idea of interaction and subjective experience really resonated with my own feelings about reading.
I just wish my Analysis and Criticism professor would have read this book....