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Old 01-23-2008, 08:17 PM   #15
SpiderMatt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
I wonder if it's worth considering whether you "had to" defend your literary tastes. Sometimes it is an exercise in frustration and pointlessness to defend yourself against someone who is launching their attack from an immovable position (especially when their position may seem irrational and untenable ). It's also worthwhile considering whether you might be similarly staged. I am thinking (from experience of doing the same) that "irksome" might be an intentional understatement on your part, yes?
Debate is actually one of my few addictions. I couldn't stop arguing to save my life. In that sense, I absolutely had to defend my literary tastes. I get pretty passionate about my tastes in literature, music, and politics. As soon as I find someone I disagree with (and I have to admit, I will sometimes seek them out--whether it be consciously or subconsciously), I explode (verbally). It's a terrible habit. From time to time I try to break it, but I enjoy it too much. I'm certainly not immovable, but it takes considerable force. Harry Potter didn't pack enough punch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
...and, hey, that's fair enough. It is completely abhorrent and your friend should be beaten about the head with a large, hardback tome of the combined Lord of the Rings books (with The Silmarillion and The Hobbit jammed in each nasal orifice for good measure)...you know, just by way of offering a convincing contrary argument. I feel the blasphemy, I do!


Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
...I would tend to agree. It's how I felt too - I actually resisted for some time, being a LotR "purist", but I'm glad I let my "purity" (ie. snobbery) go, as I did enjoy them. My only view that might contest my agreement is that HP's "greatness" may show in what it did. Never in my life have I seen so many (so young!) children reading such large books everywhere, with parents lining up for a new release and buying each of their children, and themselves, a copy, and then watching coffee shops fill up with these people as they couldn't wait to get it home to start. Add that to the rest of the "mania", and, well, it's pretty impressive...great even. See, Harry Potter is mostly over, but the kids, started in on this, will want more. For me, this has lead them into great things, and perhaps they'll get around to some of the greatest (LotR? ).
I never considered myself a purist. I mean, I loved fantasy authors like Terry Brooks, who is a far cry from greatness, himself. I also loved R.A. Salvatore, who's worse than Brooks (not that either of them are bad, of course). As much as I loved their works, though, they never knocked me on my ass, so to speak. Harry Potter was the same way (I'd say I actually enjoy Brooks more than Rowling--Brooks is actually pretty good and I may have underrated him above). The thing about something like LOTR is that it is such an achievement, with such great depth, that it kind of overwhelms the reader. That's the kind of greatness that I think will always elude Rowling, and I don't know that most of the people she brought into the world of literature will ever realize it (sure, I can be a bit of pessimist at times). Rowling is a very good writer, though. I don't want to deny her that. It's great that she's introduced reading to a whole new audience, no doubt. What really bothered me about the the hype was that her books read like a comic book plot or even other well-written fantasy series before her. I'm a big comic book fan, as well. I love that stuff. I eat it up. And when I read a story about a school of "gifted youngsters" who have to hide their identity from the outside world, what else would I think of? Suddenly, the type of material I've been reading for years is popular due to one author (who didn't really do a whole lot to improve upon the genre) because people were too lazy or bought into the steriotypes about what kind of literature they should be reading. I think I really wanted people to educate themselves rather than just blindly follow the Harry Potter bandwaggon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
As for your "literary snobbery", just so's long as your lack of "reason to change" isn't because "it's just how [you've] always been". That way lies stagnation, and you don't seem to me at all to be the stagnant type.
Nah, I was being facetious. I actually enjoy being a bit of snob. I don't think I could really be classified as a snob, though. I mean, I do read comic books and R.A. Salvatore. At best, I'm a quasi-snob.

Quote:
Originally Posted by montsnmags View Post
Oh, that's an easy one. If you go into a book store, you'll see some shelves are marked "Literature", and some are marked "Fiction". It's good that way, so you don't waste your time on the inconsequential stuff.
Ha! Not all the stuff in the literature section is necessarily great, though. Barbara Kingsolver comes to mind.

For what it's worth, I usually use the word literature to mean the basic "printed material." Although I typically limit myself at books and articles and would never call, say, a cereal box "literature."
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