Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Lazy Update On The Lazy Person's Reading Group

It's been four months since I launched The Lazy Person's Reading Group, summer edition. (For those of you not familiar with it, LPRG is a choose-your-own-adventure style book group, with no membership requirements and no reading list. Find more info here; it's never too late to join.)

In those four months, I have read some, though not all, of my ten LPRG selections. (I've been reading plenty of other things over the last four months, but just haven't made it to all the reading group selections yet.)

I'm too lazy to give you a full update on all of the ones I have read so far, but I figure I should probably touch base about Book Option #7, "A book you figure you probably should read, even though you don't really want to."

As many of you know, I ran a poll in my sidebar to determine if my "don't-wanna-but-should" book would be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The poll question was: "Should I, Debbie Diesen, who has never cracked the spine of nor even read a dust jacket of a Harry Potter novel, add Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to my summer "To Be Read" pile?" The votes were as follows:
  • 26 Yes. The Harry Potter novels are great, and you really should read at least one of them:
  • 12 Yes. Even if you don't end up enjoying the books, they have enough significance to our popular culture, you need a passing familiarity with them.
  • 6 Yes. I don't have some fancy-schmancy reason, but definitely Yes! Read the book!
  • 8 No. If the book is not screaming to you, "Read me!", there are plenty of other options you'd probably prefer.
  • 1 No. Stand firm! Anything that popular can't be good!
  • 6 No. Do I have to have a reason? Just No!

Adding up the yeses and the noes, that came to 44 Yes and 15 No. And even though I was a bit disappointed that there weren't more votes in the category "No - Anything that popular can't be good!" (I think mine was the only one), I accepted the results and this week got down to work reading the first of the Harry Potter books.

And did I like it?

At first, yes. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, as we got to know Harry and his pre-Hogwarts life. Not knowing anything about the novel's plot (having done my best over the years to ignore the whole Harry Potter phenomenon), I found myself pulled in by the characters and the plot development. As I rode the train to Hogwarts with Harry and his newfound friends, I began to think, "Perhaps I've been wrong to avoid these books! And, furthermore, based on having been so wrong, I am now forced to examine all my other irrational dislikes of the popular, including, but not limited to, Ben Franklin, Michael Pollan, and Power Point presentations!"

But then, after we got to Hogwarts, my interest level took a dive. I think it was just a matter of the boarding school setting. When I was a kid, the idea of a boarding school was fascinating. I would have eaten that aspect of the story line up. As a 42-year old? Not so much.

Then came Quidditch, descriptions of which I found to be capital-t Tedious. My interest level flatlined.

But I stuck with the book, and read it to the end. Having done so, my honest assessment is that it's an absorbing and well-written book -- but it's just not for me. I don't regret having read it, if only for the fact that I now know what a Muggle is and what Hogwarts is, etc., but I probably won't read any of the others.

That chore now out of the way, I will periodically post updates on some of my other Lazy Person's Book Group selections . And eventually I'll have a second round list (maybe the winter edition of the Book Group.)

(But rest assured, it won't include this, this, or these!)


Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I love this reading group idea. I actually read three books this summer that would fit into your categories...including the SIXTH Harry Potter book. I must admit that I am a fan, though it takes me awhile to get around to reading the books. The seventh one has been sitting on my end table for the last 2 months, still unread.

I understand what you mean about the Quidditch details. I usually skim over those parts. I definitely agree that J.K Rowling is a very talented writer. The imagination this woman has is amazing.

The HP books really do warrant the hype...unlike some other series (aka Twilight. Don't even get me started on those). :P

Kim said...

Bravo for trying it! Personally, I enjoyed them, but I think they are the type of books you read in a day, fast without too much thinking, as much for the plot driven experience as anything else. If you should fall victim to the Twilight series (such as having a tweener daughter reading them), they should be approached the same way.