Good books can be for both young and adult reading.
One thing I’ve been reminded of through reading (and enjoying) the Harry Potter books is that just because a book may be written with a young audience in mind doesn’t mean it’s not a good adult read.
Modern-day authors like Pullman and Paolini have written some hefty-sized ‘teenage’ books which I’ve found quite captivating. The Narnia series by C. S. Lewis seemed to me, when reading them during my childhood, as a good, fun, adventure story involving the fight of good and evil. However recently reading them again as an adult, although not a particularly intellectually demanding read, the interplay of the various characters can take on a far greater meaning when viewed from an adult perspective. (Now I think about it, I really must read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland again.)
Eoin Colfer’s Artmis Fowl books have always entertained me, though I do think his latest in the series, The Atlantis Complex, a little bit weak. I’ve also enjoyed following the adventures of Howl and his Moving Castle. (Diana Wynne Jones.) Another favourite has been the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve.
I suppose it all depends what you want from a book. Sometimes it’s nice to have something that taxes the brain and is a demanding or challenging read. Something that really makes you work and in turn can provide a tremendously rewarding reading experience.
Other times though, it is nice to be able to relax and allow yourself to flow into the story without too much effort, where it’s easy to allow ones imagination to head off into another world. Life without this bit of escapism would be a so much more stressful place.
At the time of writing this the final part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has just come out in the cinema. This brings to an end an amazing Harry Potter journey that started in 1997 with the publication of the first book of Harry and his adventure concerning the Philosopher’s Stone.
However my discovery of the world of Potter started at Christmas 2000 with a radio broadcast of the first book. (This was at a time when books 1 to 4 had been published.) This means for me Potter’s been around 11 years, or for those who got in at the start, 14 years.
Let’s look at it another way, as an adult it represents an 11 year chunk of my life, but it’s still just a chunk out of middle age. For someone who started at book 1 and at age 9, 10, 11 sort of area, then for them it’s been a 14 year period which now brings them up into their mid 20s, so their whole ‘growing up’ part of their life has involved Harry Potter (whether with book publication or film release). That’s puberty and adolescence, that’s teenage years and growing up, discovering girlfriends and boyfriends, that’s leaving school, college, university, finding work and becoming an adult. All with Harry Potter there growing up with them.
So I was not surprised to see some emotional people leaving the cinema after the midnight showing ended. It’s finished. Something that’s always been there for them now is not there. Emptiness.
I’ve uploaded a YouTube video commenting more on things:-
One thing about the books, they need re-reading. I don’t know how many times I’ve read them, but each time I see things I missed before. Until fairly recently I’d thought of book 2 as being one of the weaker ones, however a friend suggested I read it not for the story-line, but specifically to look to comments and references that have some significance in the future, and doing so totally changed the way I saw the book.
A few examples of things to look out for. Fairly early on in the book Harry hides in a cabinet – one end of a pair of vanishing cabinets, and later Peeves drops a cabinet (the other one) when Harry is in Filch’s office. (Is this how the link between them got damaged which then leads to Malfoy wanting Borgin & Burkes to repair the link.)
We meet Dobby and learn of house elves special magic, there’s a couple of light-hearted comments about Percy potentially being rather ambitious. We see our first Horcrux (though we don’t know it) and that Harry has the impression that Professor Snape can read minds. There are hints about Ginny and her future relationship to Harry… and so the list goes on. All the earlier books refer to future events, but book 2 has something on almost every other page!
Anyway, the books are done, the films finished, but then as they say, all good things must come to an end sometime. However it does leave me thinking, what to do now post-Harry Potter?