A Confession

I have a confession to make.

For all my ‘well-read-ness,’ I haven’t read the first word of any (and I don’t even know how many there are) of the Harry Potter series. I know, shoot me dead.
First, my defense. I don’t ‘do’ science fiction, fantasy or any of the witch genres. I don’t typically like it in literature; I don’t watch it on big screen or small screen. I did read the Narnia series and The Hobbit when I was young, and I did really like those then, but part of what I really like about them was the Christian allegory. (And yes, when you’re raised by my mom you know what allegory is when you’re ten. Someday I’ll tell you how/where I learned to read.)
But here’s where my guilt lies. The Potter books are a cultural icon… of READING. Did I not spend 5 1/2 years getting the education and another 5 years in an actual classroom trying to inspire kids to love the act of reading? If these books can encourage hundreds, thousands of kids to camp out waiting for a midnight release and then stay up all night reading straight through to the end, how can I not have at least tasted the supposed elixir? A related and equally guilt-inducing fact: my nephew was reading one of them last Christmas. It was a big book – like 600+ pages, I’m thinking. And he was 7.

I’ve read some – mostly early on – criticism of the books because evidently they were being compared with Lewis’ Narnia series, but in the Potter books Harry uses some less than ethical methods to achieve his means – lying, cheating, stealing, that sort of thing. I really can’t comment on that because I haven’t read them. However, in these later years, I haven’t heard any of that…and maybe that’s because the critics realize the end justifies the means. If we can get a whole generation of kids reading, can we maybe handle the content with good parental discussions?
Well, I’ve decided to rectify my lack of exposure by picking up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a book on tape. I figure this is as good a way as any to get me started. I’m on disk three of eight, and so far, not so bad. I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, and just for the record, I haven’t read any of the Twilight series either.

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8 Replies to “A Confession

  1. I was late coming to Harry Potter–I think I came on board when the fourth book was being released–but I caught up quick. Then I was camping out at midnight with the children.

    I LOVE the Harry Potter series. To me, the criticisms are silly. I don't think reading about witchcraft will lead people to it, nor did I think Harry did anything that any other child/young adult would do as far as pranks, telling fibs, etc. I mean, when I think back on other fictional characters such as Nancy Drew–heck, even the March sisters–they sometimes did not so nice things.

    The wonderful thing to me about Harry Potter is the JK Rowling has an intensive imagination that defies belief. That she could create a whole world full of new words, ways and customs, is quite amazing. That take a truly talented writer. I just got lost in the fantasy and really enjoyed it.

    Oh, and just for the record, I haven't read any of the Twilight series either. Nor do I intend to. But I did LOVE Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  2. I am not a Harry Potter convert. I made a fuss to delay even trying to read them and when I finally did read the first one, I was disappointed. But you are so right, it's motivated an entire generation. And so has Twilight. Which I have read and loved. In the literary world, Twilight doesn't stand a chance, but I've enjoyed every book of the series anyway.

    And Bunny – I LOVED Buffy, too!

  3. What to do about reading Harry Potter? My husband & sister-in-law are HUGE fans. Huge. I am thrilled with all that Rowling has done for reading & kids. And yet, and yet I just can't get into HP. I read the first book, which was fine. People tell me that book one is good but that the series gets better & better as you go on. I don't doubt this, but I just can't commit to reading it when that TBR pile of mine just grows & grows by the week. I assume/hope my daughter will be a reader, so I assume some HP is in my future.

    As for Twilight, I'm happy that it's gotten people to read. I know of at least two people who have become voracious readers (of vampire fiction at least) because of Twilight. I doubt I'll ever read those books, but I'll be darned if I didn't find myself watching the movie last weekend. I fell asleep, of course, but I do that in most movies if we start later than 9:00 PM.

    Bunny's shout out to Buffy made me so happy. Since this is a book blog, I'll say no more than this: what a show, what a storyteller, and what amazing character arcs.

  4. @Stacie – The predicament you described in the first paragraph is exactly why I'm doing this as book on tape. I want to know what all the fuss is about, but I just can't sacrifice space in my TBR pile for them. I've been knowing I 'needed' to read them for year…and Bunny is probably mostly to blame for that. So, I finally got to where I said – "I've put this off long enough – and I've got to do something about it."

  5. Don't point the finger at me! 🙂 My feeling is you will think it is ok, and not go any further. One either likes these kinds of books or not.

    Thanks, Stacie and Rebecca, for acknowledging the AWESOMNESS that was BTVS! I don't think I missed an episode for seven years.

  6. @Bunny – I'm actually really enjoying the story…and her creativity is amazing. They are working well for me as BOT… and I only meant that your passion for them inspired me. 😉

  7. I really enjoyed the whole series (except the ending, but that's a blog post all its own). I actually picked up the series when my hubby was at Bible college and got some strange looks while reading them at my job at the library there.

    I hope you like it. Let us know!!!

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