Friday, February 4, 2011

My deep dark secret

Posted by: Eleri Stone
I have a confession to make and it’s a pretty big confession for someone who writes fantasy and paranormal fiction so prepare to be shocked.

I’ve never read Harry Potter.

It’s horrible I know and I’ve always felt a sort of vague niggling guilt about it. I’ve picked up the first book a few times and I’ll get maybe a chapter or two in before setting it aside. Not for any reason. I get distracted by something and just never come back to it. It’s the same with Ulysses by James Joyce. Except with that book I guess I do know what it is. I get to a point where he says something about an outhouse and a loosening of his bowels and I’m out. Sorry James, TMI, even if that’s the point.

But Harry Potter. It’s adventure and wizards! Right up my alley. There’s no bowel sliding going on there (I don’t think). So I have trouble explaining this reluctance even to myself.
My kids love the books. We have two complete sets of the series in the house. I’ve had to watch all the movies and I know strange facts about the HP world like the basic rules of quidditch and that Harry’s birthday is on July 31st.

So why then haven’t I read Harry Potter?

I think that some of it’s the hype. Is it really possible for any book to live up to it? I mean, c'mon, they built a frickin' theme park. Some of it’s my aversion to young adult literature in general. And yes maybe some of it’s a perverse sort of stubbornness that makes me want to resist giving in to the crowd.

Anyway, I’m thinking about taking the plunge into the big bubbling cauldron of Kool-aid. So tell me now if I shouldn’t bother or if you think the books really are as wonderful and cracktastic as everyone says.

Are there any books out there that everyone raves about and you’re afraid to pick up because of it?

16 comments:

  1. I haven't had that issue with books, and I <3 Harry Potter, but I have it with movies. My biggest one,... Titanic!! Don't know why, just the hype, I guess!

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  2. My son was the same age as Harry Potter when the first book came out. He grew up with Harry, and it was an opportunity for me and my son to share something special each year as the new books and movies came out. HP created really good memories for me and my son. My daughter has absolutely no attraction or patience for anything in the realm of fantasy. Sigh. Good thing she and I found other things to bond with.

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  3. I LOVED the first Harry Potter but had difficulty warming up to the rest in the series, despite the clever world-building. At the moment, I'm less inclined to pick up anything with vampires.

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  4. Hi Kim! That's so funny you've never seen Titanic. My sister's never seen that one or Star Wars either. Every once in awhile I'll try to talk her into it.
    @Barbara-my kids love HP too. My teen read this post and said, "Want me to go get you the first book? I'll do it right now." When I do read them, I think it will just be so I can share a little of that enthusiasm. Although they do enjoy teasing me a lot w/ my lack of knowledge so maybe I shouldn't take that away from them.
    @Liz-Maybe you can read the rest of the series w/ me? We'll have our own 2 person HP bookclub.

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  5. The first book has a lot of exposition, which can be boring anyway, but particularly so if you've already seen the movies. They get darker and more complex the deeper in you go.

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  6. Well, I do like dark so I'd probably like the series if I stuck with it.

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  7. Books we should read -- and probably never will -- I'll stick my hand up and admit I don't read literary classics. I've tried (I still shudder at the memory of an Intro to English Lit course at uni -- even the prof said the books were hideous -- obviously he hadn't chosen them). I guess I just prefer genre books.

    Eleri -- I haven't read the HP books, either. Though I think I sat through the first movie. I say, "think" because it made no impact.

    For British children's fantasy I remain a Diana Wynne Jones fan.

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  8. Bought them, read most of them once, and ended up donating them to the library because they were too heavy to move. I do like the movies and will buy the last two when they come out. I don't go for hype for movies either. . .Like Kim, I've never seen Titanic (at least, not the whole way through) and I'm not running out to see Social Network, and I haven't seen any movies in 3-D. . .yeah.

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  9. Hmmm, well. Not sure I'd put Harry Potter ad Ulysses on the same Nimbus 2000. I've finishedHarry Potter and seen most of the movies and despite several stabs at Ulysses...never once completed a stroll through Dublin.

    But I think that's sort of how I feel about Twilight. And American Idol. And all the other reality shows Tweeterers are constantly tweeting about.

    No telling why things will hang us up (hello, anything to do with math). Sometimes it's just a gut thing, no rhyme or reason.

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  10. My dad brought home a copy of Harry Potter the year the first book was released. Someone at work had mentioned it, so he swung by the bookstore and grabbed a copy. He liked the premise, so he read it before he passed it on to me.

    I was hooked from page one. It became something my dad and I did every year--read HP and compared notes. LOL

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  11. @Jenny-Love some classics, hate others. But, wow, if not even your professor likes the books on the syllabus there's really no hope.
    @Evey-I'm w/ you on Social Network no matter how many people tell me how great it is.
    @Taryn-I have trouble getting into reality shows too. I get stuck w/ AI because everyone else in the house still likes it:(
    @Hailey-That's so sweet. It's kind of like what Barbara said too. I do feel like I might be missing an opportunity with my kids.

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  12. Evey mentioned how heavy books are to move . . .
    I recently bought my first Kindle. I love it! I have about 20 books downloaded now, and my Kindle still weighs next to nothing. MAGIC. Hah!

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  13. I LOVE HARRY POTTER! I have my own wand and a Slytherin scarf that I wear every day. I LOVED the books, and Goblet of Fire is one of the best books I've ever read. The world building is just astonishing and I think the books deserve every bit of praise they get. My kids, hubby and I totally bond over those books, from going to the store at midnight for the newest release, to going to the first midnight show when the movies come out to even spending our vacation this year at the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando. We make little inside geeky jokes etc. My kids grew up on Harry Potter and it has definitely added a bit of magic to their childhood. Read em. 4 realz.

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  14. Me too, me too! I want a wand . . . and wings.

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  15. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books, but they were never crack to me, just a fun read. A guy I used to work with described them (from an adult perspective) as "like watching a really great cartoon"

    I don't shy away from things that are popular, but I do think they have to be phenomenal to live up to the hype. And sometimes...they just aren't.

    If you approach the books as a FUN read rather than a great read, you'll probably enjoy them. But the hype for me is more that they got a lot of kids to really start reading, and that's a wonderful thing :)

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