Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Harry Potter

With the newest Harry Potter book now on the shelves, I feel inclined to write down my thoughts about the series. I have only read one of the books so far, and that was not too long ago. Honestly, compared to some of the books I read when I fit the target age of the Potter books, this book was gold. I'm not quite sure exactly how to describe the book, but it definitely felt like many of the classic children's books out there. I suppose that shouldn't have really surprised me with all the kids hitting the bookstores at midnight to get their copy of a 650+ paged book, which seems almost mind boggling.

I have heard some people complain that there are other books that kids should be reading instead, but I look at Potter as a way to get kids to read other books too. I expect that many kids out there would be interested in finding other books that they enjoy just as much as Rowling's series. Most of the time it seems that the people making these claims either haven't read the books or are upset that their favorite children's book isn't being slobbered all over. Having read one of the books now, I would much rather see a kid reading Harry Potter than some of the utter crap out there among children's literature.

For a while, it seems like publishers and authors took one of two routes. Either they figured kids didn't care what they read as long as it had certain elements, or they underestimated the mental capacity of chilrden. I still have some books like that from when I was a kid (yeah, I'm a pack rat when it comes to books), and even when I originally read them, I thought they were, quite simply, weak. Sure there's nice little chracters with a cohesive little plot, but if you've read one of those books, you've read them all. I only wish more books like Potter existed when I was younger. I was always an avid reader, but near the end of my children's book phase I read fewer and fewer books until about seventh grade. It really is sad that I remember my reading history so clearly. Also, I think it is great that the books are aging with the audience that was first entranced by Harry. Each book covers the next year of life in the school.

I'm sure some kids don't like the books for various reasons, but I don't see any reason to discourage a child from reading the series. I realize some religious groups do not want their children reading the books, but the first book of the series clearly outlines each and every character as good or bad with emphasis on the necessity of good fighting evil. If that isn't something worth teaching our kids, I don't know what is. As for adults interested in the books, the first one is pretty short and shouldn't take more than a night to read, so you might as well give it a go just to see what all the fuss is about. If you're taking a stab at any of the other books (2-6), I haven't read them yet, so you'll just have to take a dive.


Blogger Brooks said...

Each book is better than the last. The new one and the book before it (Order of the Phoenix) are truly excellent. You should read them. Regardless of their length - you should be able to get through them in a few nights.

(nice blog, by the way!)

7/19/2005 4:17 PM  
Blogger TheRedNewt said...

I'll definitely check them out.

Thanks for the compliment

7/19/2005 8:19 PM  

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