Friday, July 17, 2009

Wellreadkitty's take on recent literary powerhouses

The delightful Mrs Bookiemonster recently comprised a list with her take on some of the fads that have swept the reading world in the last few years ... and now it's time for me to throw my 10 cents about.

Those who have followed wellreadkitty for a while will know I am not a bookie snob in any way shape or form. I embrace the trashy with the top shelf - there's room in every literary diet for a bit of both I believe. And anything that gets people reading has got to be a good thing.

However for me, there is one exception, I refer of course to Lord of the Rings - love the movies, loathe the books. Well that's not entirely true because I haven't read the books. But I have tried very hard to. I just couldn't. But I loathed what I did managed - a meagre 50 pages of The Hobbit before I wanted to give my eyeballs papercuts from the pages of the book. I appreciate many may view Mr Tolkien as a genius. For me, that title is more deserved by the great cinematic God Peter Jackson* for making the films not only palatable - but engaging, enjoyable and a stunning showpiece of our country's stunning scenery. Oh and making Sean Astin a hot hobbit :P

*this title may be revoked if he makes a mess out of one of my favourite books of all time, The Lovely Bones, due for release in December this year.

In direct contrast, I love the Harry Potter books, loathe the movies - and will not be seeing HP6. I love the very unique and magical world JK Rowling created, one that reaches out to young and old alike and makes you wish you could be a student at Hogwarts too (I long to sit under the Sorting Hat and find out which house I belong to - but I think I would cry if I ended up in Slytherin!). Harry's world is a rich one, where anything can and does happen. I love how Harry has aged through the series - and readers grew up with him as the books were released. I'm looking forward to being able to share my views and passions for Harry with my nephews when they are a bit older.

However, while it's cool for adults to embrace Harry Potter it's almost a dirty little secret to admit to liking Dan Brown books. I'm all for escapism in what ever form it arrives in and I found The Da Vinci Code in particular to be a well thought out, twisty/turny exciting, strongly plot driven novel. Yep, I ENJOYED IT! There, said it. Do I believe it's true? Well no, that's taking it a bit far - it's a novel after all folks but a good, intriguing, thought provoking one. Now the movie on the other hand? Complete pants. The casting of Tom Hanks as Dr. Robert Langdon got the movie off on the wrong foot from the start so it never really had a hope of recovery. Yet it was good to see the artifacts and paintings for real, other than in my imagination or from google articles. And while I won't be cuing up at the bookstore on 15 September for the release of The Lost Symbol, I will be scanning Bookiemonster's Trademe listings for a second hand copy at some point in the future.

And Mr Brown must be doing something write - The Lost Symbol has an English language first edition print run of 6.5 million copies, the largest in his publisher, Random House's history.

And lastly, I shall boldly go where Mrs Bookiemonster dared not; Stephenie Meyers' Twilight Series. The four part series has whipped teenage girls and their mothers into a frenzy like no other series that I can recall, aligning themselves either Team Edward or Team Jacob. And between the Vampire and the Werewolf is the vulnerable human Bella. I'm really struggling to like these books. I read the first to see what all the fuss was about and that was enough for me...until my sister-in-law insisted I borrow her copies of the remaining three. Now if an intelligent, articulate woman such as my sil insists I read something, I generally listen but I am thinking it's her pregnancy hormones that have caused her to fall in love with these books. The writing is insipid and lacklustre, the themes nothing new or original. And Bella? Needs a short blast with a police taser in my opinion. Meanwhile forget Team Edward or Team Jacob - what about Team Mike?!? That's my pick (he's the dishiest one in the movie too).

So, now I've got that off my chest let me know your thoughts on this current popular giants of the book trade. Do you think people will still be reading these in 10/20/50/100 years? Will they stand the test of time and become true classics ala Shakespeare, Bronte or Austen?


Café Chick said...

OMG. I started reading your post and thought I'd see what you'd written then do one for myself. No need! I agree with every comment you have made except one: I didn't enjoy the LOTR movies (and couldn't stand the books). OK, truth be told I only saw the first one, but I was so bored that I didn't bother with the next two. I got to a chapter in The Hobbit called "Flies and Spiders" and just couldn't go further, even after several attempts. I eagerly await The Lovely Bones in December.

sarah said...

as for what's going to be read in 25/50/100 years, Tolkien yes (it's already achieved that milestone), the other two, probably not.