Sunday, November 23, 2008

Musing Mondays


How do you feel about wide-spread reading phenomena - Harry Potter, for instance, or the more current Twilight Saga? Are these books so widely read for a reason, or merely fads or crazes? Do you feel compelled to read - or NOT to read - these books because everyone else is?

I tend to believe cultural phenomena lack quality and substance. I have not read any Harry Potter or the Twilight series. I once attempted to watch a Harry Potter movie but drifted off to sleep. However, I bought the Potter series for my 10 yr old (at the time) nephew at the recommendation of a school librarian -- he devoured them! I suspect I would have liked them as well when I was 8 - 9 years old.

The only book I've read that would qualify as a reading phenomenon is The Da Vinci Code. I read it purposefully to be a part of the world-wide popular culture. We actually kicked off our book club with Da Vinci Code for this reason: it was almost certain to be the book most of us had already read and for anyone who hadn't read it yet, we could get a copy to them pronto. Plus, it was an easy, quick, entertaining read.

So, I have a mixed response to reading, film and TV phenomena. I usually resist them but I can understand the rationale that it is a way to have a connection with the broader culture (community).

Your thoughts?

* [Monday Musings brought to you via Just One More Page.]


Bluestocking said...

Actually I read all the Harry Potte books. I reviewed them. Unfortunately I crashed my website so I have to repost it.

Tonya said...

If you start with the first Harry Potter book you might feel it is solely a children's series but it gets progressively older as Harry ages. I don't generally like children's literature so I was surprised by how addicted I became to it.

Lisa said...

Your first sentence says it all for me. That's how I feel. I've never read an HP or Twilight book. I read books because they appeal to me, not the masses.

gautami tripathy said...

After the third one, Harry Potter is not, only meant for children.

I read all but liked 3 and 4.

My Musings

Beth F said...

I agree -- and Da Vinci Code, which my mom talked me into reading -- was also poorly written, but the puzzles were fun.

Sherry said...

Bluestocking - hope you're able to restore your website - yikes!

Tonya - you're right, many adults have enjoyed the HP series and many have read the books to connect with their kids who are reading them.

Lisa - I like nonfiction and memoirs a lot and maybe that's why I've been immune to fad books. They tend to be young adult fantasy.

gautami tripathy - interesting how the HP series evolved to appeal to both kids and adults.

Beth F. - I found some unintended humor in Da Vinci Code in the way it was written (so many references to the female protagonist's eye color -- hello, editor!) but I agree with you that the puzzles were fun.

Thanks everyone for stopping by and sharing your musings.

Book Lover Lisa said...

yes, your first sentence says it all.

Michael said...

The Da Vinci Code was the worst of the Dan Brown novels!

Angels and Demons was ingenious and Digital Fortress and Deception Point were miles more more compelling than The Da Vinci Code.

I know of there are plenty of socio-cultural and religious connotations to the book, but it's not as big of a masterpiece the world deems it to be.


P.S. Blindness and all the rest of Saramago's books are masterpieces.

yolanda said...

i used to have this attitude until recently, when i read three books that i had previously regarded as 'summertime books for girls'. These books were "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden, "Atomised" by Michel Houellebecq. and "The time traveller's wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. i found each of these books to be amazing and realized that my resistance to reading them was tantamount to judging a book by its cover.

Sherry said...

yolanda - thanks for stopping by our blog. More than it being a case of judging books by their covers (although covers are important!), it's more the case that fantasy and sci fi are not genres I enjoy (or sadly, appreciate, although I'm working on it). Our book club read "The Time Travelers Wife" and while most really found it to be a wonderful read, I could not read it. I tend to like what some pejoratively label "misery memoirs." Maybe "The Glass Castle" is a good example of this type of book that has acheived mainstream popularity. Of course, I loved it and could not put it down.