April's Giggle Squad Book Club book (as chosen by yours truly) is Bram Stoker's Dracula. I am loving it so far (I'm about 10 chapters in). Last night, as I finished chapter 8, I read the name Jack Shephard (it may have been spelled Sheppard, but I don't have the book with me to verify). Of course, I immediately got all excited, called Matt to tell him, and then sat there thinking about what possible ties there could be between the criminal and the Lost character. Both Matt and Steven were kind enough to remind me that Lostpedia has just about all of the character references already listed on there, so I will admit that it could very well be coincidence (after all, Wikipedia mentioned another Jack Shephard, who was a cave diver). However, whether or not there is any coincidence between them, the mere fact that the parallel can be drawn speaks highly to me of the intelligence of those who created and write Lost. They have set a precedent of parallels between history and fiction, and the characters of the show.
What is the point of all of this? I guess I don't exactly know, but I am intrigued with the notion of references and allusions to other works (whether fictional or not). I just finished reading Eliot's The Wasteland and although the book was a difficult read (especially for anyone's first time through it), our class discussion about the abundance of allusions, references, quotes, and almost plagiarisms of and to other texts was fascinating to me. The Wasteland received (and may still receive) criticism for how much it "borrows" from other forms of literature. The thing is riddled with it. I actually found that to be one of the most interesting parts about the book. It carries a notion of layering new meaning over old meaning and conjuring thick images with a simple word. I feel like that is one of the things that Lost is accomplishing very well--they reference real and fictional sources of meaning, wisdom, and fun. It builds layers for those obsessive fans that want to dig deeper and drench themselves in the world that has been created for them. Kudos to you J.J. Abrams, David Lindeloff, and all others who help contribute (not least of all, the actors).