Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows discussion

Suitable reading for adults?

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Old-Barbarossa Should adults be reading this? Should we pay attention to genre classification?

message 2: by Cindy (new)

Cindy I tend to ignore classifications although I'll admit I was sort of embarrassed walking into the "juvenile fiction" section of my local library. Although the first two (or perhaps the first three) books in this series were very much children's books, as the story went on and the characters developed they were more and more appropriate to adults.
Rowling's characters were dealing with grief, loss, and right vs wrong decisions that any adult can relate to. I think any book that deals so directly and honestly with the feelings of loss that Harry Potter faces can be worth reading as an adult.

Maria I think age is inmaterial, its down to individual taste what we choose to read and the age/level an author writes for is just a guide - similar to a film certificate. One thing that disappointed as the books progressed was how they did become more focused towards adults, I felt this was wrong as they were initially geared to children and hooked them but then became 'adult' and it makes you wonder if she changed her focus to meet the adult demand. It almost feels like she cheated her original child fans by completing on a dark note that they may have struggled to enjoy. But having said that, it did follow the natural progression of Harry as he grew and matured in life experiences.

Old-Barbarossa The comments I have received over reading this series have ranged from: "Why would I read something a child would read?" to "There are too many other things to read."
Now the first came from someone who mainly reads (just in my opinion) trashy novels. So I feel I can fairly quickly discount their comment as our tastes obviously differ.
But the second comes from someone who is an omnivorous reader and makes me stop and think.
Yes, time can be short and we all read at different paces, so why spend hours going through 7 books aimed at kids when (as an adult) there are other more "worthy" books out there?
One reason for me is that I enjoyed them.
Yes, I admit it. I read for enjoyment. Does that make me a bad person?
I think if you fancy reading something then read it.
I may not touch your choice with a barge pole, but hey, it's your choice so enjoy.
There are plenty of books in genres that I would normally go for but do not interest me. Why? Because the genre is only part of what a book is about.
Some authors span many and I may choose to read the author rather than stick to one branch of their work.
Having just layed my cards on the table, it sets my hackles up when folk tell me what I should and shouldn't read. Especially when they justify it poorly.

message 5: by Pandora (new)

Pandora Barbarossa just read your comment and I agree people should be able to read what they want without judgements. However I would also plea that just because your a children's librarian doesn't mean that you love all children's books. What got me about Harry Potter was ever time I turned around some adult wanted to tell me how great the Harry Potter series is till I wanted to scream. It a book that some people love and that is okey but, after the frist one I want on to other things. I have found other children's book that I loved more.

I read children's book partly for pleasure but, also as part of my job. So, unless a series captures my attention (Cirque Du Freak) I will probably move on. There is so much to keep up with.

I thank you for your comments. It did give me some food for thought. Over time as the craze has died down I have become more mellow about the Harry Potter series. As my librarian professor once said, people who read Danielle Steele still pay taxes.

message 6: by Cindy (last edited Aug 15, 2008 06:54AM) (new)

Cindy I had to delete this out of embarrassment.
Barbarossa, I appreciate you clearing up my misunderstanding.

Old-Barbarossa Cindyjean: the people who made the comments I quote were not online. So neither comment was aimed at you. If I reference anyone's comment I tend to address the comment to them (like this).
Not all my interactions with other readers are limited to online discussions. Maybe I should preface any quotes by noting if they were real world or online.
Anyway, I can see little to disagree with on your initial post.
I agree with yourself and Maria over the fact that the books get more adult as they progress. I feel this is correct though as the characters age through some fairly important life changes (non-magical) throughout the 7 books. There is even drinking and swearing in the last book. Paradoxically, one of the most unrealistic things for me is not the magic (expected in a fantasy series) but the lack of drinking and swearing earlier in the books. Like all school based stories the reality of actual high school tends to be watered down a bit for younger readers.
Pandora"Kat": I too would be driven to distraction if I was continually exposed to folk being evangelical about the books. As I said, I enjoyed them...they weren't the best thing I've ever read though, and I'm in no way shouting from the rooftops that everyone should read them.

Old-Barbarossa There is a move in the UK whereby assorted publishers are trying to introduce an age specific banding for children’s books. Why?
It seems that Rowling and Pullman (amongst others) are telling them not to be daft, and hopefully their combined market value will make the industry see sense. How would you enforce it anyway? The idea seems to be to enable censorship of “non age appropriate material”…surely if kids are reading anything it’s good? By that I mean good that they’re reading, not that all kids’ books are good. Maybe I’m a bit naïve and think that a parent should be taking an interest in what their child is reading and encourage them in certain directions, rather than an industry body doing it to aid marketing.
Anyway, all those precocious wee readers will be avoiding the bans by getting into the carnage/crossdressing/bedhopping of Shakespeare (which we read at school).
Having said that, does age related banding of books work both ways? As Cindyjean notes above there is the stigma (OK, maybe not the right term) of going into the juv section to find a book. But many older classics (or books I consider so) can be found in such sections, though I wouldn’t necessary consider them to be shelved correctly (some Dumas or RLS)…I don’t think the decadence of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde is for children (just my thoughts).
But back to my initial question about genres.
I think that themes are more important. The fact that HP explores loss and an awakening to the sense of responsibility, along with the idea that people’s actions can have a multitude of roots (eg: Snape), and that even heroes can be flawed…I think these are worth exploring. The fact that the books are set in a fantasy world or aimed at children is for me coincidental.
I think that if someone only reads sci-fi or fantasy or YA or Russian classics etc they are missing out. I think that exploring similar themes approached from different angles, different authors, different genres is one of the many joys of reading.

message 9: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Barbarossa, I agree whole heartedly with something you mentioned...it should be up to the parents to monitor what their children are reading. I was brought up in a household where I was allowed to read whatever I put my hands on, there were books everywhere, but the key to this was the fact that at least one of my parents had read everything in the house at one point. Questions I had could be dealt with by them.
Perhaps the fact that I was reading adult-targeted books as a child influences the fact that I have little problem now reading a book targeted at a younger set.
I also agree that classification of some books as juvenile doesn't always make sense. Absolutely, one of the joys of reading comes from exploring the way different authors tackle the same topic. Lately I seem to be on a kick of reading books about the 'flawed hero' and I love reading the different versions of that idea.

message 10: by Pandora (new)

Pandora I also agree it is up to parnets to moitor their children's reading. Kids also matured at different rates. Some are ready for some things at an early age and others are not.

There is an excellent article about questioning how books get classified YA. You can find it by looking up the book Cures for Heartbreak. If you think it is tough reading younger fiction you should see what happens to authors when they work gets targeted as YA.

Ashley To your first question, yes I think so.

Adults need to be just as involved as teenagers and children, especially parents.

They need to know what their child or children are reading. And what to allow and not allow their child/children to read.

Frankly, even though this off topic, I think this also applies to television shows, as well as cartoons... that's where children are learning a lot of their bad habits.

message 12: by Harrington (last edited Aug 19, 2008 12:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Harrington "Suitable for adults?" Absolutely. I read the last two Harry Potter books after having them strongly recommended by a friend. We are both adults :)

They were a very fast but enjoyable read. It wasn't completely necessary, but it was helpful to have seen the movies. There are many characters so having a start on who's who, and ground that has been covered was useful.

"Should we pay attention to genre classification?" Well, it's often useful information. If I want to read a mystery, I start looking through the mystery section in the bookstore.

message 13: by Anthony (new)

Anthony I also agry but you cant always blame the book but maybe the reader because if they know that they cant read it then why cant they stop.

message 14: by Adam (last edited Aug 26, 2008 12:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Adam I think this book would be great book for adults i read it myself and it was great!!!

message 15: by Zack (new) - added it

Zack Rowe It's great escapism but that's it.

message 16: by Sandybeach (last edited Jul 27, 2011 04:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandybeach Harry Potter was my stepping stone into the YA genre. From there I moved onto John Marsden's Tomorrow series. It helps to have Nieces that are also avid readers as I started to read the books I was buying for them. It launched me into a whole new world of different ideas and concepts to what I was reading in books aimed at the Adult market and allowed for some great conversations with teenagers and young adults. These days I go to the YA section of book shops first before I even look at the general fiction section. YA Authors have come a long way from kiddie books with dumbed down plots and one dimentional characters.

What I absolutely detest are the book snobs out there who seem to want to dictate what you should and shouldn't be reading. I believe in reading anything I can get my hands on and if that is a classic or a crime fiction or romantic fluff or a family saga or Harry Potter or Enid Blyton .... what the hell does it matter. Reading for me is for enjoyment. I don't want it to be hard or a tedious chore, I want it to make me think and cry and laugh out loud and totally enjoy the ride.

Shriya Why not?

Lorraine I have to agree. I like to re-read some of the books I enjoyed as a child (like Enid Blyton). I recently got a copy of my first Nancy Drew book, and was delighted to see that the local library has a bunch of these as ebooks, so I can download to my Kobo. At a toy show I found an old Ginny Gordon book I read when I was about 12, and had to buy it. I re-read the Harry Potter series from time to time - reading is for fun.

Kerri The series is for children and adults. Although books 4-7 are for an older audience like 13+. It's just an awesome series, and everyone should read them!

message 20: by Tad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tad I think the YA classification is as much marketing as it is any indication of reading level. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books as well as other YA series. I can think of some books, Ender's Game for example, that I don't believe were originally marketed as YA, but can often be found in that section of the bookstore now.

Most telling to me, however, is that when some of these books, like Harry Potter, are turned into movies, they are marketed to adults as well as kids. If the film is good for adults, why shouldn't the source material be?

Jamie Wangen Many books tend to get classified based on the age of the protagonist - the thinking being, I guess, that readers close to that age will most identify with him or her.

As to the OP, "Should adults be reading this?" There are no rules, as far as I know, about what adults should and should not be reading. I would say that both the plot and characters of the Harry Potter books are sufficiently complex to engage the attention of adults. I've read them twice; once on my own and once out loud to my kids.

Ciara If a book is good, any-one can read it...especially when it comes to Harry Potter!
Every-one should experience the magic, give the books a try, in my opinion. I don't think adults should be restricted to books, if they enjoy the book, that's their own opinion and view.

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