View Poll Results: Which author's works have you read so far? (PICK AS MANY AS APPLICABLE, PLEASE)

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  • JK Rowling

    19 65.52%
  • Faulkner

    25 86.21%
  • AS Byatt

    10 34.48%
  • None of them

    1 3.45%
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Thread: J K Rowling VS Faulkner and A S Byatt

  1. #31
    Registered User Granny5's Avatar
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    "This thread is silly. The majority of people who don't read many books will read something like Dan Brown, or J.k. Rowling, or Steven King's works. The people who tend to read more books (25+ a year I would say) are more likely to read something intellectual. You can try to dispute this, but although I have no statistics in front of me, this seems basically logical."

    I guess I just don't see the logic in your statement. I read Dan Brown and Steven King, Joyce, Faulkner, and endless other works by endless other writers. I read at least 25 books a year and most years during my adult have read many more than that. Just because I enjoy many different styles doesn't mean I don't read "intellectual" works. Variety is important in order to keep an open mind. There is something to be learned in just about any work.
    Just because it's popular doesn't mean it's worthless. Wasn't Joyce popular during his time?
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  2. #32
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granny5 View Post
    "This thread is silly. The majority of people who don't read many books will read something like Dan Brown, or J.k. Rowling, or Steven King's works. The people who tend to read more books (25+ a year I would say) are more likely to read something intellectual. You can try to dispute this, but although I have no statistics in front of me, this seems basically logical."

    I guess I just don't see the logic in your statement. I read Dan Brown and Steven King, Joyce, Faulkner, and endless other works by endless other writers. I read at least 25 books a year and most years during my adult have read many more than that. Just because I enjoy many different styles doesn't mean I don't read "intellectual" works. Variety is important in order to keep an open mind. There is something to be learned in just about any work.
    Just because it's popular doesn't mean it's worthless. Wasn't Joyce popular during his time?
    That isn't what I meant. I meant that if a reader is reading one book a year, chances are it isn't going to be As I lay dying, but will be something along the lines of Dan Brown, Grisham, etc. Readers who generally read few books a year I would think are less likely to read "literary" books. Not to say that frequent readers don't read commercial fiction, I am just trying to say that small time readers don't likely read literary fiction.

  3. #33
    I haven't read anything by either Rowling or Byatt, but I love a good debate, so I thought I'd post some fodder.

    I think the original poster is reacting to opinions like those in "Harry Potter and the Childish Adult", by A. S. Byatt. In fact, Byatt's thoughts sound uncannily like a lot of the posts of certain members here.

    A counterpoint is given in "A. S. Byatt and the goblet of bile", by Charles Taylor. [I had a little bit of trouble accessing this article -- I had to temporarily allow "cookies" on my browser and search for "byatt rowling" on the main Salon page]

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  4. #34
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    That isn't what I meant. I meant that if a reader is reading one book a year, chances are it isn't going to be As I lay dying, but will be something along the lines of Dan Brown, Grisham, etc. Readers who generally read few books a year I would think are less likely to read "literary" books. Not to say that frequent readers don't read commercial fiction, I am just trying to say that small time readers don't likely read literary fiction.
    Hi JBL, Actually I have to disagree with that thought. I used to read only a few books a year but they were good literature. I don't even care for poor modern authors. I did read Dan Brown for fun but thought it was way below par and once I read one Grisham book - "Skipping Christmas" and got a kick out of it. However, normally, I choose a book that we would probably be more likely to read in this site, usually a classic author. I am a slow reader, but if I only had the time to read one book a year, I would choose wisely. So one cannot really generalise that fact, I believe.
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  5. #35
    Rather Bewildered brainstrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickAdams View Post
    Harry Potter is fresh to some, because they have not read enough to recognize regurgitation.
    Well then, I might pose this question - what's so terrible about regurgitation? Some of the greatest works of our time our remakes - take for example Hairspray. Compared to the comparatively 'original' High School Musical 2 - you can't even compare then. Hairspray is a triumphant, musical rendetion of the tearing down of racial barriers, yet has been told several times before, and amazingly filmed and nearly perfectly cast - High School Musical 2 is about high schoolers getting summer jobs, and is so cheesy that is hurts even those who love cheesy things. It's just badly done.

    Sure, it's predictable. Sure, it steals from many MANY things before it. But Harry Potter melts down and reforms all these older ideas into something new and distincly beautiful - the timeless tale of good vs. evil - and good winning.

    You don't have to like it. But you have to admit that Rowling is a brilliant storyteller - and that reading a book beats playing a video game any day! To suggest otherwise is to be blindfolded and let into a concentration camp by your arrogance!

    Or something like that

    one last comment -

    "Some of us are book whores, we'll read anything"

    Aha! Amazing! That quite accurately describes me - I read the last of the Harry Potter books in less than 24 hours - and then read four more books that week.
    Last edited by brainstrain; 09-24-2007 at 10:54 PM.
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  6. #36
    Good art rarely sells. Harry Potter's financial success is hardly a proof for its artistic merit; in fact it may be evidence against it. More people listen to Britney Spears than Tchakovsky.

    Take The Da Vinci Code for example. I read it and enjoyed it, but for very different reasons than I enjoy literature. It's light entertainment when I don't want to think too much. Also, I read it in Chinese, and it was still freaking awesome: an engaging, compulsively readable page-turner. I don't think there was much, if anything, lost in translation. I don't think we can say that about most literary works (that nothing was lost in translation).

  7. #37
    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkenKOALA View Post
    Good art rarely sells. Harry Potter's financial success is hardly a proof for its artistic merit; in fact it may be evidence against it. More people listen to Britney Spears than Tchakovsky.
    I suppose that no one ever bought or read anything by Mark Twain. then there is art that doesn't sell, because the owner won't sell, The Mona Lisa for example. Lack of financial success is not evidence that something is good art, and it is often evidence that something isn't good art, or plain bad.

  8. #38
    And just because you can't understand someone's writing doesn't mean that he's a snob. I am sure he's not purposely trying to write overly complicated stuff that is not intelligent to the masses just to make them feel stupid.

    I believe good writers write to serve their readers, rather than to impress them. It just happens that different readers demand different types of "service", and different writers offers different types of "service". I think what people meant by Harry Potter being less "demanding", is that it provides a "fluffier, more inconsequential" (as someone said in this thread) type of reading. But Faulkner's works serves its readers in another way. Rowling's and Dan Brown's service is fluffy entertainment. Literature's service is art, whatever that means...you know it when you see it, like porn.

  9. #39
    Registered User metal134's Avatar
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    I would never so much as entertain a theortical argument that Rowling is better than Faulkner

  10. #40
    A ist der Affe NickAdams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brainstrain View Post
    Well then, I might pose this question - what's so terrible about regurgitation? Some of the greatest works of our time our remakes - take for example Hairspray. Compared to the comparatively 'original' High School Musical 2 - you can't even compare then. Hairspray is a triumphant, musical rendetion of the tearing down of racial barriers, yet has been told several times before, and amazingly filmed and nearly perfectly cast - High School Musical 2 is about high schoolers getting summer jobs, and is so cheesy that is hurts even those who love cheesy things. It's just badly done.

    Sure, it's predictable. Sure, it steals from many MANY things before it. But Harry Potter melts down and reforms all these older ideas into something new and distincly beautiful - the timeless tale of good vs. evil - and good winning.

    You don't have to like it. But you have to admit that Rowling is a brilliant storyteller - and that reading a book beats playing a video game any day! To suggest otherwise is to be blindfolded and let into a concentration camp by your arrogance!
    Book and film are very different mediums. Hairspray has been reprised not ripped off. There is nothing original about television shows like High School.

    Reading a good book beats video games.

    I would admit it if it was true. She is a storyteller, but I'll let you call her brilliant. If I think Beckett and Faulkner a brilliant, I would lose all validity of the work to include Rowling.

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  11. #41
    Registered User Granny5's Avatar
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    I've never read a Harry Potter book but I have bought the books for my grandchildren. I have seen the movies with my grandson and they seemed ok. I do think that the books serve a purpose in that they get children to read. My oldest grand daughter, browneyedbailey, read the first Harry Potter book the summer between kindergarden and 1st grade. It took her all summer but she finished it and has continued to read. So they are worth what was paid for them.
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  12. #42
    Booze Hound Noisms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluevictim View Post
    I think the original poster is reacting to opinions like those in "Harry Potter and the Childish Adult", by A. S. Byatt. In fact, Byatt's thoughts sound uncannily like a lot of the posts of certain members here.
    I actually find a lot to agree with in the Byatt article, because it's inarguably the case that Harry Potter is highly derivative and full of utterly banal messages. But that doesn't make the books necessarily bad. I didn't much like the first one and lost interest, but that doesn't mean much - lots of people obviously love the series, and fair play to them. I just think that it's important that they read the books and see them for what they are - fluff, albeit very well told and entertaining fluff.

    Being derivative isn't necessarily bad, after all. I love genre fiction of all descriptions, be it crime, SF, fantasy or historical fiction, and all have their tropes and conventions that 99% of the writers within them follow. I just recognise that the majority of it is escapist entertainment and enjoy it for what it is.

    As for adults 'reverting' to being children, again I'm moved to comment: So what? Sometimes I read through my old Roald Dahl books, because they're a nostalgic guilty pleasure and I love them. I'm fully aware that this is like reverting to childhood, but where's the harm in that?

  13. #43
    The Word is Serendipitous Lote-Tree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noisms View Post
    I actually find a lot to agree with in the Byatt article, because it's inarguably the case that Harry Potter is highly derivative and full of utterly banal messages.
    How is it Banal. It is the Ancient Tale of Good and Evil.

    How can the message of Love as an engine of redemption be Banal?

    And of friendship and betrayal be Banal?

    Is it because she has not obscured this message in Intellectual Mind games?
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  14. #44
    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    Quote Originally Posted by metal134 View Post
    I would never so much as entertain a theortical argument that Rowling is better than Faulkner
    I would, and it is very easy to prove that argument.

  15. #45
    Booze Hound Noisms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lote-Tree View Post
    How is it Banal. It is the Ancient Tale of Good and Evil.

    How can the message of Love as an engine of redemption be Banal?

    And of friendship and betrayal be Banal?

    Is it because she has not obscured this message in Intellectual Mind games?
    There are two reasons why the messages in Harry Potter books are banal:

    1. They've been around since prehistory.
    2. Everybody agrees with them and acknowledges them to be true: Good is good and Evil is bad; friendship is valuable; love is redemptive; betrayal is mean. There is nobody in the world who does not believe those truisms or has not heard about them.

    Anybody can bandy around messages like those, and hundreds of books do. To re-state my case: the Harry Potter books might be well-written and entertaining, and that's what they're supposed to be. They don't say anything new, or anything particularly interesting, but they're not really supposed to because they're escapist fluff.

    I quickly add that escapist fluff is no bad thing (see my post above). But just don't compare it to Faulkner.

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