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I can’t stand roller coasters, but I guess I have a similar craving for experiencing fear and suffering from a safe position, because I have been reading books that make me writhe with anxiety. Right now I’m reading The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. The only people in danger are creations of Collins’s imagination, but I’m gripping my seat and occasionally yelping “Oh no!” and “Don’t do that!”

Is this bad for my blood pressure, do you think, or is vicarious terror good for us?

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