I’m presupposing a few things in writing this post:
- You’re a fan of ABC’s simultaneously rewarding and infuriating show “Lost”.
- Like me, you’re sometimes unhealthily obsessed with its mythology and abundance of literary references.
- You’ve got time to kill.
Lost was truly designed for people like me. I mean, sure – normal people watch it, too, eagerly awaiting the next Kate/Sawyer hookup or mind blowing revelation (there’s a time machine! Jack and Claire are siblings! The Dharma Initiative is SkyNet!). They can follow without risking their marriages or sanity, just happily along for the ride. But what kind of way to watch television is that? Thankfully, the show has always catered primarily to its “hardcore” demographic, fans who aren’t satisfied with a meager hour per week and need additional sustenance to keep their addiction in check. There are sly references to previous episodes, clues that might lead to greater understanding of the island. Special videos premiere at Comic-Con, designed to whet fans’ appetites for the upcoming season. For the true nerds, though, the ones for whom Dungeons and Dragons “isn’t immersive enough” and most pants are “too constricting”, there’s the “Lost Book Club”.
No wine with this one (or Gabriel Garcia Márquez… yet), just countless texts that in big and small ways comment on or expand the storyline of TV’s most complicated drama. All of these books have been referenced, whether orally or visually, at some point in the show’s history. Sawyer quoting Steinbeck… Ben using an alias cribbed from On The Road… The Others even had their own book club (we see them discussing Carrie) before Jack & Co. showed up on the island. It’s a comprehensive list, to be sure. Of the 40-odd books profiled, I’ve read maybe 5-6 (three of which – Slaughterhouse Five, Of Mice and Men, and On The Road were for soon to be published author Matt Quick’s 10th grade English class. Did he know?). I’d be keen to tackle some of the more obscure ones on the list. Anyone read Aldous Huxley’s The Island? Or The Third Policeman?
The next season of Lost doesn’t start until at least January 2009, so there’s plenty of time to endlessly theorize on the four-toed-statue get some extra credit in. I plan on returning to the show a world champion viewer.