When people attack literature altogether, the act almost always fails to show any remote signs of intelligence.
But yesterday, a writer at BuzzFeed decided to take on the world of literature by naming "28 'Favorite' Books That Are Huge Red Flags."
The article comes with a sub-heading as the author attempts a small caveat: "These books are harmless. Until a friend or loved one tells you that one of them is their favorite." The article continues that the books on this geniusly compiled list are "also indicative of deep and abiding potential character flaws in you and your loved ones."
Well, gee! Our very own Dr. Phil of the book world is here to rescue you and your loved ones from the perils of choosing a bad book as your favorite. Nevermind worrying about those on the Banned Book List; fear those that are indicative of a flawed personality!
At its very core, an article such as this is offensive, unintelligent, and critically problematic. Sure, we may not all love the same books. We may even strongly dislike some novels, whether through forced reading in school or the fandoms that develop. That's perfectly fine. What is not okay, is taking a broad jab at a long list of books and linking them to deep, human problems.
I find it terribly tragic to imply that there is something wrong with a person for choosing a favorite book. Instead, let's celebrate that people are reading, period. Let's celebrate that old adults, young adults, teenagers, children, and anyone else in between can come together, cherish a story with one another, and learn from the deeper meanings hidden through the pages.
This brings up the unbelievably ridiculous claim this article specifically makes on the Harry Potter series.
Apparenly, if you, as I do, name the Harry Potter books as your favorite books, the following is true for you:
These are diverting but if your FAVORITE book is a glorified television show about a boy wizard written for 5-year-olds I’m going to wonder if you know where Afghanistan is.
The level of absurdity found in the above statement is completely jarring. So jarring, it makes you worry about the future of humanity on some level.
Clearly, the author of this article does not understand the true magic behind the Potter series: that no matter the original target audience of J.K. Rowling (which was certainly older than 5-year-olds), her rich and magnificent story can be loved and appreciated by all ages, over and over again (as evidenced by our Alohomora podcast).
Then there is the completely ridiculous remark of Potter fans not knowing where Afghanistan is. I cannot speak for all Potterheads, but I'm willing to bet this is a pretty flawed statement. I can speak for myself, however, and would love to find out just how much this author knows about the world.
Moreover, the implication that huge Potter fans are unintelligent compared to the rest of the world is downright laughable. I've had the pleasure of joining in and listening to some of the most solid academic discussions surrounding Harry Potter (we do it all the time on our MuggleNet Academia podcast).
I realize I do not need to defend the Potter series here, but it is way too important and way too personal to ignore.
The Potter books were the books that made me fall in love with reading as an 11-year-old boy. This love led me to read other books, to broaden my literary landscape, and to become a writer myself.
Aside from insulting the genius of J.K. Rowling, the BuzzFeed article goes on to slam other wonderful literary works, including The Great Gatsby, The Metamorphisis, The Giver, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The Chronicles of Narnia (I'm pairing this article with one over at BiblioFiend, if you want to discuss the merit of them further).
It also names a few books of which I am not a huge fan, such as Twilight. But again, it's one thing to dislike a book and explain (intelligently) why you do not, but it is something completely different to slam a book as someone's favorite and simultaneously point the finger to diagnose them with a personality flaw.
So yes, the Harry Potter books are my favorite books. And no, I do not have a personality flaw because of it; my family can sleep peacefully at night. And I defintely know where Afghanistan is on a map.
One of my burning questions: what is this guy's favorite book? If he has one.
Posted by Caleb
07-10-2013 at 2:30 PM