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message 1: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
Fighting about the quality of books. I simply don't understand. I think I started thinking about this with the new release of Harry Potter movie. My teenage son was talking about it and suddenly it became this debate with him and another which was better Harry Potter or Twilight.
What the What?! I've seen this so many time especially with Potter and Twilight fans or Lord of the Rings vs Narnia or Oprah books vs everything else or Pop reads and classics or the new release and whatever someone wants to complain about.
I was so discouraged with my son for even taking part of it. He knows how I feel about books and their worth regardless of personal likes or dislikes.
Why does one book have to be better than an other? What is gained by debating a books value with someone who does value it.
My poor boy he had to hear all this and more but I just don't understand talking down to someone because they like or don't like a book.
If you love to read I think you rock. After that it's not worth debating.


message 2: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (UrbanFae) | 206 comments I totally agree!! Personal taste isn't something that can be right or wrong.

Maybe it's a teenage boy thing? My son (17 yo) will argue about anything! Even completely useless things like what flavor of Mountain Dew is the best. Lol.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Tera, I think the worth of the person reading is never in question. The worth of the book? Well, that might be different. I read stuff that I know isn't worth as much as other stuff I read. But I know it, and I need that lesser stuff. Eating cookies doesn't give me the same reward as eating my vegetables, but I do them both.


message 4: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
True my teenager can argue anything!

I get what you're saying Elizabeth I read books that are not great literarily speaking but they are great for me at the time. So their worth is relative and that's what I was trying to get him to see.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Perhaps he needs to be enrolled in a debate class!


message 6: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (UrbanFae) | 206 comments Mountain Dew comes in flavors?

Yes, quite a few in fact. There's MD Black and MD Code Red, and MD Baja Blast... The only reason I know this is because I live with three teenagers, lol. I can't stomach the stuff myself.


message 7: by Louise (new)

Louise | 59 comments If I encounter a teen or an adult, who hasn't read a lot, but is going crazy about a book that I see as "a dime a dusin" - meaning that there are SOOO many better/more original stories in that genre etc (in my opinion), I might write them down a few sheets of recommendations. Not that they are not entitled to their opinions(!), but because I want them to sample some of the REALLY good stuff (like a Mars bar just isn't the same as hand-made super quality chocolate).


message 8: by Mary (new)

Mary (MaryBT) | 336 comments I don't get the love affair with Cormac McCarthy, but I wouldn't make fun of people who like him. lol.

I remember when Harry Potter first came out. My mother is a pastor (as well as a book LOVER - with capital letters) and a couple people griped to her about the magic aspect. My mom just looked at them and said, "If JK Rowling can get kids to read, then good for her!" And she had a point.

Of course, then you have Mark Twain (full disclosure: one of my all time favorite authors) who said, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."


message 9: by Viola (new)

Viola | 979 comments If your son just likes to argue and debate, well, I think that's just a part of his personality, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. Just like it's a part of my personality to avoid confrontation. I think the more important thing is to remind him to always be respectful of the other person, to be sure that he isn't hurting their feelings. And if the two are close, some light teasing can even be fun.


message 10: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (UrbanFae) | 206 comments I don't get the love affair with Cormac McCarthy, but I wouldn't make fun of people who like him. lol.

Agreed! I didn't care for The Road at all. Although, I did like what the Cohen brothers did with, "No Country for Old Men." I have a friend who keeps telling me to read All the Pretty Horses.


message 11: by Mary (new)

Mary (MaryBT) | 336 comments Don't do it, Michelle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(haha. I'm kidding. You can read whatever you want.)


message 12: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 191 comments I agree with this. I meet so few people that read actively (that's why I love this site!). Most of the time when discussing what they read it's mostly stuff I never pick up (like James Patterson), but I never tell them I think it's a poor choice. It's just nice talking to someone about the joys of reading.


message 13: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (UrbanFae) | 206 comments Don't do it, Michelle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(haha. I'm kidding. You can read whatever you want.)


Lol. I think I'll create a new bookshelf: books that I plan to read but probably never will.

In fact, I think I'll just go rent the movie...


Elizabeth (Alaska) Michelle wrote: "Lol. I think I'll create a new bookshelf: books that I plan to read but probably never will."

My wishlist should be renamed Books I'll Read If I Live To Be 125.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

As a high school teacher, I totally am thrilled when my students read. I will say that teens, and even some adults, have a desperate need to feel apart of others. This is done by debating opinions on music, movies, books, etc. Teens connect on the basis of what others like and dislike, it is how they grow.


message 16: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
I didn't mean to single out my teen. He just sparked it. I see adults do this constantly. I've even seen it here and much more rabid on other GR sites. It becomes a sport almost like comparing football teams. "My team is better than yours because of ...." "If you're not a fan of my team then you are a fan of a losing team"
You get the drift. It's the need not to debate the merits of a book but a need to tear a part a book or a person for liking a book over another or not liking a particular book.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, I didn't think you were singling out your teen, just an observation that I've made with most teens and some adults. People can take it very personal when another doesn't appreciate their taste in books, etc. And, living in the south, people really get tied in a knot about their football teams ;)
You're right people aren't debating the merits of a book and to me this reflects that people haven't learned how to properly debate.


message 18: by Mary (new)

Mary (MaryBT) | 336 comments Tera wrote: "I didn't mean to single out my teen. He just sparked it. I see adults do this constantly. I've even seen it here and much more rabid on other GR sites. It becomes a sport almost like comparing ..."

I was looking at a private book club on here and the description said something to the effect of, "...No stupid books. No romance. No Nicholas Sparks..." I'm guessing that's the attitude you're talking about?


Elizabeth (Alaska) Mary wrote: "I was looking at a private book club on here and the description said something to the effect of, "...No stupid books. No romance. No Nicholas Sparks..." I'm guessing that's the attitude you're talking about? "

But why shouldn't people be allowed to think that way? I wouldn't be interested in that group, but neither am I interested in romance or Nicholas Sparks.

I am not debating whether any of us should or should not read a particular book, but that doesn't negate my right to have an opinion about my wanting or not wanting to read it for any reason and to be able to say so.

This is a very diverse group with very diverse tastes. It seems to me there is room for all of us.


message 20: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
i agree and i agree - confusing huh?

it's not that people shouldnt have opinions and even passions about books. I do. I think anyone who read does. there are entire genres that I have yet to find joy in reading (not saying there never will be but as of yet not happening).
It's not about that it's about taking that to almost a level of prejudice. For example No Nicholas Sparks because people who read him are clueless. And maybe thats the thing about text is I think some people take that meaning or similiar even when it's not meant because they initially are so passionate about Nicholas Sparks or Harry Potter or whatever.
The debate between Potter and Twilight as my original example; If you like Twilight your a silly romantic who finds value in poorly written dribble. If you like Potter you're dressing up with your wand and following the sheep. It's not liking or disliking something its liking or disliking something so much you cast judgement on anyone who doesn't agree with your pov.


message 21: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Jul 25, 2011 01:42PM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) Since this is following closely on the heels of my saying I wouldn't pick up Beautiful Girl because of its appearing to have an ungrammatical title, I feel like saying something about whence I come.

One of the funniest moments with my mother, when she was getting quite elderly, was accompanying her to the grocery store. As we wheeled down the cereal aisle, she stopped, backed up, and turned right side up a box of cereal - a brand she would never have purchased had she lived to 100. But it was upside down, and that was wrong and she couldn't stand it.

My mother corrected typos in the margins of books. I only once or twice saw her penciled corrections of the author's grammar. I do neither. But I am her daughter.


message 22: by Sheila (new)

Sheila  | 2598 comments Mod
Tera wrote: "The debate between Potter and Twilight as my original example; If you like Twilight your a silly romantic who finds value in poorly written dribble. If you like Potter you're dressing up with your wand and following the sheep...."

And don't forget those that then say if you like either Twilight or Harry Potter (either or both) then you are flirting with the devil!

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/do-twilight...


message 23: by Allison (new)

Allison (The Book Wheel) (thebookwheel) The Twilight v Potter debate is such a huge issue! I read both series, enjoyed both, and saw the movies for both. Naturally, there are people (and not just my teenaged sisters, but grown adults) who find this to be despicable.

As far as I'm concerned, most kids don't read at all, so as long as they are reading it's a good thing. Unfortunately, most of those "debating" between Harry and Twilight have only read one series and refuse to read the other. And that bugs me even more than arguing about something they had actually read.


message 24: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Since this is following closely on the heels of my saying I wouldn't pick up Beautiful Girl because of its appearing to have an ungrammatical title, I feel like saying something about whence I come..."

actually Elizabeth that one I kinda get. I've tried to read David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day three times and I can't get past the title. It took me almost that many times to get past These Is My Words. I did finally make it through These is my Words and really liked that series. I just recently put down Me Talk Pretty One Day again still could't do it.
Oh Sheila I forgot about the "youll go to hell if you like either" group. If I'm going to hell I have a laundry list worth of stuff that is taking me there far before any book.
So True Allison.


Elizabeth (Alaska) LOL, Tera - I had forgotten about those. Not reading them either. ;-)

I have no idea whether Harry Potter or Twilight are good books/series. I just know they were written for younger minds than mine. I have a hard time when anyone says "oh, but you should read them - they're good." Well, I don't care whether or not they're good, they're not for me. Anyone who would suggest I might want to spend time with them isn't someone whose opinion I could respect because they haven't a clue about the kind of books I like.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

I haven't read the Twilight series, not much interest, and did enjoy the HP series, 1-4 by far were the best. There will always be praises and critiques for these books. For instance, I never felt Rowling developed the relationship between Ginny and Harry; in addition, I also didn't think there was a strong transition between the lighter earlier books and the darker later books.


message 27: by Allison (new)

Allison (The Book Wheel) (thebookwheel) "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."

- Stephen King


message 28: by Regine (new)

Regine lol Allison I love the quote. And Tera, I would have been the person to back up Harry Potter all the way.

I'm the type of person who will argue a book's merit with other people-- and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It makes for interesting discussion. There's a fine line to cross. It's very easy for readers, especially younger readers, to get carried away and start insulting each other instead of having a sound discussion about something..


message 29: by Mary (new)

Mary (MaryBT) | 336 comments @Elizabeth ... I think you misunderstood me. I don't care if someone wants to have a no Nicholas Sparks book group. I was referring to the "no stupid books" part of it. "Stupid" is pretty subjective.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Mary wrote: "@Elizabeth ... I think you misunderstood me. I don't care if someone wants to have a no Nicholas Sparks book group. I was referring to the "no stupid books" part of it. "Stupid" is pretty subjec..."

I don't think I did. I got the stupid part. I got that the moderators think romance and Nicholas Sparks are stupid books. I'm sure they have several members who would agree.

Trust me, I see books members here read, and I just roll my eyes and think "why?" (As I'm sure they and others think the same of some of the books I read.) I've even thought "that sounds like just such a stupid book." But my opinion only holds water for my being able to filter what I read because in no way can I read everything written. And I'm sure I've read a stupid book or two in my lifetime.


message 31: by Mary (new)

Mary (MaryBT) | 336 comments I thought Garden Spells was stupid, but everyone else on earth seems to have really liked it, so maybe I'm stupid! haha. (In case anyone can't read my "tone", I'm being tongue in cheek here.)


message 32: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 1563 comments I agree with what many other people have already said. If young people (especially young men) want to read, then don't give them a hard time about what they choose to read! (I don't think any of us are doing that, but in general) If they find enjoyment in it, they're doing better than 90% of adults (I read someplace that only 1 in 10 adults read for fun, so 90% don't).

I have read, and loved, the Harry Potter books. I haven't read, or seen the movies of, the Twilight books, but I intend to. Knowing what I do about those books, my inner 14 year old self squeals with delight, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Which brings me to my next point. While not all books or genres will appeal to all people, sometimes, not all genres appeal to me at a given point in time. Sometimes I need a good trashy romance (yes, I call them trashy, but I can still get enjoyment out of them) and sometimes I need a 200 year old door stopper. If I try to read the romance when I'm in the mood for the classic, it's going to seem "stupid" to me, and if I try to read the classic when I want romance, the classic is going to bore me to tears.

Finally, Brenda, I encourage different opinions about my group reads' books. Discussions where everyone says nothing more than "This book was AMAZING" drive me batty. My last 2 books that were selected for group reads, I nominated without having read them myself (though I of course read them before the discussion started). I loved The Handmaid's Tale, but was only lukewarm to Water For Elephants. I try to encourage people to comment to "change my mind" about a book, as it were. "Why can't you stand this book?" "Why is this book so well-loved?" You will always be welcome in my group reads, whatever your opinion.

OK, I think I've said my fair share. ;)


message 33: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
I think people get so attached to books they love it's hard for them to understand how anyone couldn't love it as much as them. I mean there have been books I've loved longer than my husband and children. There are book that have carried me through emotional times and the characters seem like close friends. When you love a book that much I think people often have a hard time taking critisim of it even though rationally they know not everyone will love it like them. Because it is like someone is trashing one of your friends.

Brenda I hope you always feel welcome in discussions. I think we can voice disagreements about books and respect those different opinions. Some of the best discussions I have been a part of are when there are different opinions.

I read books I know darn well are never going to be considered good literature but for whatever reason they make me happy. Everyone can call them trash or fluff or poorly written or a sad excuse to kill a tree you just can't call me poor fluffly trash ;).


Elizabeth (Alaska) Tera wrote: "I read books I know darn well are never going to be considered good literature but for whatever reason they make me happy. Everyone can call them trash or fluff or poorly written or a sad excuse to kill a tree you just can't call me poor fluffy trash ;). "

And this is exactly why I love this group so much. Some of us can get a bit prickly on occasion and we're all still so welcome and have such respect for each other. Sometimes because of ourselves, but, yes, sometimes in spite of ourselves.

Brenda, I thought of you this week when I came across this book: Jakob the Liar, which if you haven't read, I thought might interest you. I have not read it, but have added it my ever-expanding wish list.


message 35: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (UrbanFae) | 206 comments I think people get so attached to books they love it's hard for them to understand how anyone couldn't love it as much as them.

That is so true! I belong to a 'real' (as in face-to-face) book club where all of the members have been friends for years, and yet we fight at times over certain books that some of us love and others of us don't love.

I honestly think it boils down to personality. Some books will resonate with me while other will not. A previous poster mentioned that HP and Twilight were written for younger readers. So true! Sometimes, I think I am simply too old for certain books. It's nothing against the book or author or fans, but I'm 46 not 16, lol.


message 36: by Mary (new)

Mary (MaryBT) | 336 comments Whatever, Michelle. We all know you're really reading Sweet Valley High books every day!

haha. Totally kidding.


message 37: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (UrbanFae) | 206 comments Whatever, Michelle. We all know you're really reading Sweet Valley High books every day!

Gosh, how did you know! Lol.

Actually, I'm more of a Pretty Little Liars girl myself ; )


message 38: by Priya (new)

Priya (Priyavasudevan) | 108 comments I read very erratically- from fiction to law , philosophy and science, politics. I have a heart list of faves, a head list and a heart & head list. But my comfort reads are the Chalet School series I grew up with and Angela Brazil, the Anne books,Daddy Long Legs .... you get the drift.Priya vasudevanMiddle Time


message 39: by Priya (last edited Jul 28, 2011 08:03PM) (new)

Priya (Priyavasudevan) | 108 comments Oh and I've read the Harry Potter books and the Twilight series but prefer Potter! We're off to see the last movie this weekend.


message 40: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (UrbanFae) | 206 comments We're off to see the last movie this weekend.

I think this was the best movie of them all! Enjoy it :)


message 41: by Moose (new)

Moose | 3 comments There are some books that have more literary and historical worth; these are the books that become timeless and classics and are re-read by generation after generation. I enjoy discussions and debates that center around the literary merits of books and why or why not someone thinks people will be reading the book in a hundred years. Most of the time these debates are academic with a respectful tone. It's when debates like these become squabbles over "the best" and sound more like kids fighting over who is more "superior" that it becomes annoying.

Reading is such a personal matter. Books have the power to change a person or strike a deep emotion. Robert Frost once said "The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken an immortal wound––that he will never get over it." I believe this "immortal wound" transcends more than just poetry but the entire reading process in general. When that strike has happened and we know we have a read a book that has left it's imprint it's hard to hear others dismissing it as if it has no value when it has immense value to ourselves. I think this is where a lot of book discussions can tumble into book squabbles which is unfortunate.

I also think there is great worth in these debates. In my opinion it's not enough to just read a book if it doesn't make you think. Thinking and contemplation is not just restricted to when a person reads the classic cannon. There have been plenty of romance and so-called fluff books that have had me thinking about issues. When these books are attacked by others or at the very least questioned, I find it satisfying to explain why I find worth in them and give examples.

Just my two cents; debate and discussion is good when the name calling and tantrums are left behind.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 4239 comments I don't understand how you could compare Harry Potter to Twilight. Other than being fantasy and they have a werewolf character. They don't have anything in common with each other. I do like both series.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Brenda, that sounds sort of silly. It would be much more reasonable that the store would simply go out of business.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Well, every store owner gets to decide what he/she sells. That person can decide to turn it over to a committee. But in the end, if the store doesn't sell what the buyers want, it will go out of business. Yes, that's the way it works in the US, but it's also why the black market functions in other areas.


Elizabeth (Alaska) And I don't mean to be hooking into the argument that starts Tera's thread here. I don't know whether that is a good book or not. I was simply speaking to the premise of the book, which seems nonsensical to me.


message 46: by Viola (new)

Viola | 979 comments On a very different note (but your post, Brenda, made me think of it), there is an independent bookstore here in DC called Politics and Prose. They have something called a Book a Month Gift Program. Basically, a staff member chooses a book for the gift receiver once a month. I've never tried it, but I thought it was a really novel idea as a way to be exposed to some quality books that you might not otherwise read.


message 47: by Irene (new)

Irene | 1788 comments Viola, Thank you for bringing back the memory of that wonderful store. I loved that place when I lived in DC 25 years ago. Of course, I was a poor student who could not afford to buy books for pleasure back then. But, I loved just walking around that place.


message 48: by Christine (new)

Christine | 1300 comments Priya wrote: "Oh and I've read the Harry Potter books and the Twilight series but prefer Potter! We're off to see the last movie this weekend."

love the Harry Potter series books and most of the movies. The last one was done perfectly in my opinion.. almost just as good as the book. and that's not an easy feat. I enjoy the Twilight Books and to me the movies are ok.. I ll watch them but don't run to the theatre when they are out. We had 14 of our family at HP last weekend!! FUN Stuff. :)


message 49: by Viola (new)

Viola | 979 comments @Irene - They have recently changed owners, but otherwise, they are very much alive and appear to be doing well! They have a lot of author events, which is the main draw for me.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (JaymeILtheghostreader) | 4239 comments Brenda (Lansdowne) wrote: "Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Brenda, that sounds sort of silly. It would be much more reasonable that the store would simply go out of business."

It was really a very interesting book. Well written..."


I have heard of that book. It looked interesting.


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All the Pretty Horses (other topics)
The Road (other topics)
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