Sunday, July 01, 2012

Harry Potter Novels are 'Children's Books'

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But they should not to be confused with 'Moby Dick' or 'Catcher in the Rye' or novels by Hemmingway or Jonathan Franzen. And yet, some people do and feel that just because they are well written and entertaining and clever that they are real books.

But as I said, there is nothing wrong with 'children's books'. Comic books, like the old 'Fantastic Four', are essentially for children. But they are still wonderful. And 'adventure' stories, like the James Bond books are also extremely well-written. Ian Fleming is one of my favorite authors.

But let's be clear, that the difference between serious literature and 'entertainment' is how it connects us to other human beings. Great novels make me feel more in touch with the human experience. 'Entertainment' novels distract us from the emotions that are often difficult and uncomfortable to deal with.

I just read a short novel 'A Sense of An Ending' by Julian Barnes. This little book made me feel and think and share feelings with the author that a thousand comics and James Bond stories never come close to.

There is plenty of room in the world for both. Many 'serious' readers I know find their 'escape' in movies and television and wouldn't even think of taking the time to read a 'Harry Potter' or 'James Bond' book. This may be a bit too extreme because there's a lot to be said for 'escapist' literature.

But don't tell me 'Harry Potter' is real literature. It's like saying The Beatles are as important as Mozart. They are not. The Beatles' story, the sociological phenomenon, now that is important. And their music is certainly a part of that story.


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