Monday, July 18, 2005

Potter Schmotter

I am proud to say I have never read a Harry Potter book or seen a Harry Potter movie. Why am I proud? Because I think the writing is rubbish. I don't think Rowling cares about word selection or sentence structure one iota, and I can't bear a writer who takes her craft so lightly. (My mom had the first book, I read the first chapter, that is the extent of my knowledge of the topic.) Yes, it is supposed to be for children, and yes, everyone in America loves it so it must be good. I am just disappointed that people have such low thresholds for literature these days. It's all about the plot – nothing else matters as long as you can keep people on the edge of their seats, right? Plot plot plot. And will it make a good movie? Can I sell the screenplay? Will Americans salivate and line up to buy the sequel?

I feel the same way about the book "Wicked". When did we become so lackadaisical about books? We just devour all the junk in the world without a care. I hate to sound like a snob, but I just wish that people would take a step back and think while they are reading.

On the knitting front, I have to rip out my second blue sock. For some reason I have a disease that makes me forget what type of cast-on method I used for the first sock and apply it to the second. So I will be ripping out and restarting. But for now I'm doing a little more work on Ribby Shell. The pattern measurements seem a little long – for the size I'm knitting you are supposed to knit 14 inches from the cast-on edge. I don't think I want it to be that long so I'm probably one going to knit 12 ½. I know I am short so this might be part of the problem. I even measure some shirts I like to see how long they are from armhole to waist and they all came out at 12 inches.

I don't usually cross post my pictures from my baby blog, but this shot is worth sharing. It is my six year old nephew who lives in Colorado.


Blogger Lizzi said...

I want to make it clear I'm not flaming you--you're allowed your opinion about HP.

But if you've only read the first chapter of the first book, you really can't say the whole thing is crap and expect anyone to take you seriously.

JK Rowling's writing style has improved greatly over the course of the six existing books. And I'm not the only one who thinks so--any number of reviews I've read agree with me, though many have also said book 6 isn't the best of the lot. Fair enough. But saying that she's total crap from the limited experience you had is like saying all of the state of Michigan is a sketchy place when you've only been to Detroit. (My corner of MI is much nicer than Detroit, so I know.)

If you're not interested in reading HP or seeing the movies, that's your business. But trashing the works without having read/seen them, and using that to be "disappointed" in people who enjoy them, is narrow-minded and elitist.

I read and enjoyed HP; I also am quite fond of Tolkien, Lovecraft, Victor Hugo, Robert Louis Stevenson, and modern translations of Japanese folklore and myths. Good enough?

Even if you never give HP a second chance, can you at least admit that it spurred a renewed interest in children for reading? You may not dislike the popularity of the series, but kids are reading it in droves, and most of them are clamoring for something else to read while they wait for the next one. That's a good thing, if nothing else is.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Lizzi said...

I apologize--in the last paragraph I meant to write "You may dislike" not "You may not dislike", which makes no sense.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Mac and Caden said...

Cool haircut, Vince!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Berly's Blog said...

I cannot believe you do not like Harry Potter.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I agree with lizzi. How can you make an informed judgment on 6 books based on one chapter? Low threshold for literature? My goodness. Jeeze, Brooke. I didn't know that all reading material had to be on some master list of what you consider good literature. I believe the series has brought a love of reading to millions of children. How can that be a bad thing?

You are right, you are entitled to your opinion. And if we don't like it, we don't have to read your blog. You said you hated to sound like a snob, but you do.

Add my lack of apparent intelligence in reading material to my divorce from my children's father and well...then perhaps I shouldn't be allowed to read your blog. Seems as though I don't pass your judgment.

9:45 PM  
Blogger potusol said...

I've never read any of the Harry Potter books because I've never had an interest. But I think it's great that the series has brought an interest in reading to a lot of children who otherwise would have spent their time playing video games.

That being said I doubt that ANYONE would ever put the Harry Potter books in the same category as great literature. These books are a product just like books by Stephen King, Sidney Sheldon, Anne Rice and Danielle Steele. That's not to say that these authors don't work hard and have something to offer with their creativity. They are what they are.

What I find interesting is how strongly people have reacted to this post. Brooke relates personal observations on her blog and it almost never fails to provoke some type of negative reaction. Why I don't know.

Even if I was a rabid Harry Potter maniac I wouldn't have taken this post as a personal attack. I wouldn't feel like I was being judged by Brooke. It's her blog and her opinion, it's no sweat off my back. And frankly her opinion is nothing new, it's shared by quite a few people.

I guess I have a thicker skin or something. Brooke's standards or opinions have never made me feel judged or any less worthy of her friendship, let alone the "allowance" of being able to read her blog.

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make it clear that you prefer other books and authors in place of HP and J.K. Rowlings, and that's fine. But you don't offer any suggestions as to what those other books and authors are, aside from a vague reference to "literature". So, what are the books you prefer?
Mrs. R.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Oh its been a while and you just wanted to post something controversial :-). Apparantely a perfectly ok disdain for HP is controversial. I've read a couple of them, they are entertaining but I've also read almost every single one of Stephen King's early books. I think the movies are much more entertaining and have been satisfied just to see them, usually on DVD.

However, just as I would not mix the Farley Brothers with Coppola, or Kincaid, with Van Gogh, OR Calmer with Cotton Ease, I would not mix Rowling with Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Fitzgerald, Woolf..etc, etc, etc.

Although, anything that makes people more interested in reading than watching stupid reality TV shows is a good in my book. The Apprentice and American Idol, now THAT's serious rubbish. ;-)

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

You wrote, "...and yes, everyone in America loves it so it must be good. " Actually, I'm the other way. I assumed for a long time that if everyone loved it, it must be crap. After a while, though, I noticed that quite a few people whose opinions I respected liked the books, so I tried the first two and fell in love. A lot of those were people I knew from a Dorothy L. Sayers discussion group; many lit'ry types sniff at the mystery genre, but I dare enyone to read DLS, especially her later books, and not come out feeling undereducated. At any rate, those people also include devotees of Austen, Melville, Yeats, Davies, Byatt, Shakespeare of course, and so on, yet many still love Harry Potter. Granted even the most erudite readers need mind-candy once in a while; granted also that if the books rub you wrong, then they do and there's nothing more to be said. I have certainly put books down for the crime of being so badly written that I kept being distracted from the story. However, I respectfully submit that there may be a bit more to them than is evident from the very Roald Dahl-esque first chapter of the first book.

P.S. I admit, though, I have a certain disdain for those writers who become so caught up in the beauty of their own prose that they forget their first duty is to tell a story. You may want to bear that in mind when weighing my opinion.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

I have no objection to anyone voicing their own opinion, especially on a personal blog, for after all...this country was based on freedom, speech being one of them. As a parent, an educator and a reader, I would like to concur with Lizzi and others who pointed out that not every book needs to be a literary classic. I (hopefully) teach my students to love reading all types of books. To be well rounded you need to read many genres, and novels for pure entertainment are part of what I encourage. Harry Potter books have brought about a resurgence of reading among young and old alike. I would definitely prefer seeing people reading than watching TV for hours on end (I am still bothered by the fact that almost every physician's office and business have TV's in their waiting rooms...whatever happened to READING while waiting?). I do not put down TV as a whole, but many in today's society have chosen that over books, and I feel that it stifles imagination and creativity. I have read 5 Harry Potter books and have just begun to read # 6. I enjoy them, I let the pages take me to a world that I will never see (I am a Muggle, afterall), and I encourage anyone interested in some entertaining reading to do the same.

2:33 PM  
Blogger .: Raven :. said...

i guess i'm a little late on this ... but am like you. i have never read a Harry Potter book ... nor do i plan to. ever.

yes i'm glad that kids are reading. yay! that's amazing. but i wonder if these books are really good for them as it seems that they are now "not eating and sleeping and are depressed" because of the end of this latest book of *fiction* .... (i read an article on MSNBC) ...

Harry Potter aside ....

this is your blog ... you are entitled to write whatever you want .. whenever you want ... and if people don't like what you have to say, they are surely free to press the "next blog" button and/or not read here again.

in reading this blog i often skipped the knitting part (other than to look at the pictures ... LOL) because it was so over my head. i have never knitted a stitch in my life ... and most of the time have no idea what you were talking about. this certainly didn't make me feel stupid ...

i certainly do not find you judgmental or a snob ... geez .. who knew HP fans could be so emotional? :)

and gotta love mohawks! they rule!

1:57 AM  

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