To This Great Stage of Fools: Born July 31st

Joanne K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Rowling, who was born in 1965 which makes her younger than my baby sister(!), gave her character, Harry, the same birthday as her own. Am I the only reader in the English-speaking world who has has read none of the Harry Potter books and nothing by Dan Brown, especially not The Da Vinci Code? And I’m proud of my potterless, codeless mind. It has become a matter of stubborness and noncomformity for me not to read any of these books: I do not disrespect those who are Harry Potter fans or who loved Mr. Brown’s opus. I’ve already heard enough about all of them to know excatly what I’m missing, and I have too many other books on The List.

Are there any books that you do not want to read just because everyone else has read them?

Oh, I forgot to say that I’ve not read any of the Left Behind books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins either. Now do I win whatever this contest is?

10 thoughts on “To This Great Stage of Fools: Born July 31st

  1. I haven’t read the Da Vinci Code (on purpose, not interested) or any of the Left Behind books, either (though my son did read them all and loved them). But I have read the first Harry Potter and Dan Brown’s _Digital Fortress_.

    How about a different code: _The Code of the Woosters_, by P.G.Wodehouse? 😉 My husband giggles right the way through all the Jeeves books.

  2. I haven’t read any of the above either, and don’t want to, for the same reason. However, DH is curious about what causes books to become popular, so we might wind up reading HP at some point. Pretty much anything new and popular is not on my list to read. Same with music. I figure someone has to read and listen to the old things, or they’ll feel neglected.

  3. Theresa

    I have never read either. The DVC because I’m Catholic & know all this boring old conspiracy stuff from years back. Nothing new or original there. Also, I find it beyond belief that anyone would take a pulp novel seriously. Oh well. Also, have never read any of the HPs. I own one but have never felt the urge to open it. Have read all kinds of commentary (i.e., Buried Treasure, Michael O’ Brian, etc.) on the subject both pro and con from people I generally trust. Probably comes down to the fact that I am not much of a fantasy fan. As an elementary school teacher, however, I do not ban them mostly because they are successful at getting nonreaders interested in not just reading but meaty reading.

    I did have the experience this last year while teaching a 5/6 combo of having a student come up to me and tell me that she couldn’t finish the HP she was in the middle of because that would make her a devil worshipper. That was a stunner & I had a hard time keeping calm & not showing any surprise. She was upset for the next couple of days & another teacher & I talked to her about it. This other teacher had read the first 4 and elected to stop for religious reasons. It turned out that this was something that was said in her Sunday school class. After assuring her that she was not a devil worshipper, she felt better. ( I am moving down to 3rd grade so hopefully this won’t be repeated.)

  4. Read some of the Left Behind books and wish I hadn’t. Not only do I have big problems with the theology, I take issue with books that are sold at $25 bucks a pop hardcover but are double-spaced with two-inch margins. Two books could have easily been fit into the size of one. But that would mean half the money, wouldn’t it?

    Haven’t read Da Vinci Code – not from any protest point of view, but because I heard it was very poorly written and predictable. I HATE predictable books, espeically mysteries.

    Harry Potter is another story. I read the first one aloud to my daughter earlier in the year and am hooked. Last night I gave up watching a George Clooney movie with my husband to finish book 5, sobbing my way through part of the ending. I really enjoy them and the idea that my 9 year old daughter is excited to read a book that is well-written and 800 pages long is wonderful.

  5. Guess I lost the prize! I read the first HP book just last month. It was entertaining, but certainly not the best thing I have read this year. Not worthy of all the fuss.

    No Left Behind or DVC here either. Or the whole Christian historical romance genre. And I haven’t read any book “just because” Oprah said so. Oh, except for Night, but I had it on good authority that it was worthy of the read even w/o Oprah’s recommendation. 🙂

  6. Emily

    My mother failed to mention that her children have tried to get her to read the books numerous times. But she wont. And she HAS watched half of the first movie. So it kind of counts. : D

  7. I’m curious as to why you avoid books that are too popular. I am a pretty independent thinker also, but when certain books become really popular, it is generally a sign to me that there is something in them that have universal and mass appeal… and anybody who can write something that has universal mass appeal has my admiration!

    Perhaps there is a reason why Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code is so popular. I’ve read Potter, plan to read Da Vinci soon, if nothing else, to learn how to be a writer with more universal appeal myself. I mean, some day if I ever wrote a book, I’d like it to be so good that it’s a big hit, know what I mean? If I have something to say to the world, I’d like to give my best shot that the world will listen.

    🙂 Just my 2 cents. I enjoy your blog!

  8. I think I have a perverse gene that signals me to be rebellious and uncooperative whenever I hear about a wildly popular,contemporary piece of fiction. Old stuff that becomes popular doesn’t give me the same reaction. For instance, I love Jane Austen.
    Also stuff that I discover for myself before it becomes the rage or before I know that lots of other people are reading, too, is OK. I found a book called The Hobbit on the one YA shelf in my library when I was 13 years old (about 1970 before Elijah Wood was even a gleam in his parents’ eyes). I read it and fell in love with Middle Earth.

    So, you’re probably right, Sarah, and JKR and even Dan Brown do have something that might be worth my while to investigate. I’m not really an independent thinker, just rebellious and bandwagon-averse.

  9. I’ve not read those three series either, and for the same reasons.

    I’ve not read any Tolkien or the Narnia Series, although I’ve seen the earlier PBS shows and have read almost all of C.S. Lewis’ other stuff.

  10. If it’s popular and has any spiritual overtones or issues, people are always asking me and my husband (a priest) what we think. So I often do end up reading popular stuff, to be able to give an informed opinion. (Only read the first Left Behind book–which gives you my opinion on that; have read all the Harry Potter books, which also indicates my opinion of them!)

    Other than that, I rarely choose or avoid books just because they’re popular. I just read what’s in my field of interest, even if it’s just an obscure novel I picked up at a garage sale.

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