‘Lost’ Encourages Americans to Rediscover Long Lost Art of Reading

There are a lot of terrible things about this final season of Lost. Terrible things like Kate Austen and the constipated way in which clues are crapped out. But the serial’s also having some sort of positive effect among its viewers–mostly the type that forces us to back away from our laptops and television sets and crack open a book. If only to make sense of what otherwise seems like an unending ziggurat of masturbatory symbolism. On Tuesday night, there was an episode where constantly-conflicted Jack Shephard Jack-faced his way through a scene where he teased a copy of Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition. Since then, that book has seen a sudden sales spike on Amazon.com. Other books featured this season enjoying similar relevance: Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories and Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling.

However, this isn’t the first time that Alice In Wonderland has been linked to the drama–you could probably make the case that as Oceanic Flight 815 was sinking through the clouds, in a way its passengers were falling into a rabbit hole of their own. But that’s too obvious. A more detailed history of the fairytale’s supporting role in the series, then.

Additionally, while the sales spikes might be new, the business of philosophy and literature on Lost is anything but. All sorts of literature–from Slaughterhouse-Five to Carrie–has made at least a fleeting cameo. Even the characters themselves embody Lost‘s love for the letters–at least in name. With John Locke mimicking the English philosopher, Kate Austen acting as a composite of Jane Austen heroines, and Sawyer channeling the iconic Mark Twain character. As for Jack Shephard, there’s no literary connection there–just an easy play on words.

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