Fat Books & Thin Women


30 Day Book Meme, Day 3
August 3, 2011, 5:18 pm
Filed under: 30 Day Book Meme | Tags: , , , , ,

Your favorite series:

Dude, is this a question that even needs asking? Is there a single person in her mid-twenties who wouldn’t choose Harry Potter? Because while there may be a few other options – I have fond memories of Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins, if I take series to mean “trilogy” Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games and Pullman’s His Dark Materials become serious contenders – there is not a series that I’ve turned to so many times over the years as Harry Potter. Yes, I am predictable; but I would like to hear an argument for why Harry Potter shouldn’t be the choice of any teen who grew up with the series like I did.

Harry Potter has its faults. Especially in the early books the writing is rough, the dialogue stilted. As The Reading Ape has pointed out, house elves are kind of the Jar Jar Binks of the Harry Potter world (at least in the movies), and Hermione’s misguided efforts to liberate house elves still frustrate me so much that I can hardly bring myself to read those chapters. Harry can be a sort of male Mary Sue, imperfect only in that he is able only to see the world in black and white where his counterparts are able to see more complexity. The way quidditch is scored still doesn’t make sense to me.

But, come on: the triwizard tournament! Hermione’s booksmarts, which time and time again save Harry. Plus, gosh, the whole idea of Hermione: how often do we see a female heroine, or any character we’re meant to identify with, as dedicated to her studies as Hermione is? That moment when Harry realizes that magic can’t do everything, that he can’t bring Sirius back from the dead – that he is truly lost to Harry, apart from memory. Because her readers were meant to grow up along with the books, Rowling doesn’t shy from making them as dark as they need to be in the later books, with her only failure being, at the last minute, pulling back to show us our heroes’ children, to say, “It all turned out okay in the end.”

Still, that’s a message of hope that isn’t all bad, false as it may ring at times. Rowling’s world is so complete that to see that it hasn’t ended, not for wizardkind as a whole nor, more importantly, for Harry, Ron and Hermione, is the sort of relief we needed as her readers. Rowling somehow made generations of readers want nothing more than to have a drink of butter beer, which is a sort of magic most writers can only dream of creating.

30 Day Book Meme:
Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than three times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

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17 Comments

I have to agree, you have a point..

Comment by Jeyna Grace

Good choice. I read em all, saw all the movies too. I keep trying to put my finger on why the series worked so well but I can’t. It just did!

May we be so lucky in our work heh.

Comment by Mayowa

Quidditch’s scoring is insane! I’m not very sporty, but come on! Ending the game on a move, not a time? Having one move that undermines everything everyone else has done? Insane.

Comment by Jennifer Maurer

When I was younger I just kind of accepted the quidditch scoring..like, “awesome! Harry can save the game, every game!” but it seemed weirder and weirder as I got older. So glad I’m not the only one who thinks the scoring is kind of…odd.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

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“Is there a single person in her mid-twenties who wouldn’t choose Harry Potter?”

*raises hand sheepishly* Umm, that would be me. I’ve been pondering why I feel so little emotional attachment to the Harry Potter world (and it’s an attachment that has waned over the years.) I’ve only read each of the books once, my favourites being the fourth and the last. Don’t get me wrong…I deeply respect Harry Potter for the impact it’s had on juvenile and young adult (even adult) reading, worldwide. I think no one could dispute that. I also deeply respect Harry Potter for being everything that ‘Twilight’ isn’t. I just never fell in love with it, which I think is the crucial thing. Maybe a reread will sort me out!

I have a hard time thinking of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as a series (given that it was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two volume set, coupled with ‘The Silmarillion’), but if I did, it would always, always, always be at the tiptop of such a list. I’m also falling in love with the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George R. R. Martin. No doubt I’ll love the Discworld books when I get ’round to reading them. Oh, and the Chronicles of Narnia books were, of course, a cornerstone of my childhood reading. :)

Comment by Shivanee @ Novel Niche

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Yes yes yes!! I feel like I grew up with Harry Potter. I started reading the series when I was in 4th grade and the 7th book came out when I was in college. I’m 23 and reread the entire series a few months ago :)

Comment by Hannah

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Nice post, Ellen! Interestingly, I loved the early Harry Potter books more than the later ones. I know of only one reading friend of mine who hasn’t read Harry Potter and she doesn’t plan to read it anytime soon. Harry Potter was definitely a phenomenon of the age.

Comment by Vishy

Glad to hear I’m not the only one who counts some of the earlier books among her favorites… as much as I love the later books, it’s the fun parts of the series (the wedding in book 7, the triwizard tournament [before anyone dies], riding the hippogriffs) that i always want to return to.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

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