News about Ender’s Game: The Movie Interesting, as this book is one of the best ever in the Science Fiction genre. At least, I know for sure, it would be in my top five, and probably in my top ten favorite books I have ever read. I have probably turned ten or fifteen people onto that one book, and have never gotten a single bad response from the person. Almost everyone has gone on the read the entire series.
I got into an extended discussion about books Saturday night with a couple of friends. They were talking about the Harry Potter books, and I couldn’t help but think those books are overrated. I hear people compare them to the Lord of the Rings books, and it turns my stomach. I have to fight hard to keep back the book snob in me in conversations like this. I was told that the series gets a lot better in the third book, and that the quality of her writing really improved at that point. Since I have only read the first two, I guess I need to pick up the third one and read it to really be able to take part in this discussion actively. My initial impression was that they were good guilty pleasure books, but I wouldn’t put them up in the Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, L’Engle, Robert Jordan, territory. I guess, also, that I have probably read more fantasy genre stuff than the people making these claims, and so I have already formed an emotional attachment to other works. (I live here, and you are just visiting.) Finally, it’s art, and in my opinion, it should come down to what you enjoy, but making absolute claims requires perspective.
The conversation continued, with one of my friends offering up Tom Clancy as a “great” author because of his attention to detail, especially in the military realm. I’ve read almost all of Clancy’s books, but I cannot claim that he is a great author. I really enjoyed all of them, but they tend to be formulaic despite their attention to detail. I would however, buy any new book he writes. It reminded me, however, of another conversation during bloggers and beer earlier in the week where a friend claimed that the Beastie Boys section of the Kleptones night at the Hip Opera was superior to any of the Beastie Boys works because Queen’s music was sonically superior to anything that the Dust Brothers may have done on Paul’s Boutique. While it may be academically superior in a purely mathematical sort of way, that criteria seems, at least to me, a very narrow way of looking at music, which for me is all about the emotional reaction to the work. The innovation of Paul’s Boutique paved the way for the mashup culture we are now enjoying, and that should have some value beyond the sum of it’s sonic parts.
This has made me think more about books and music. The works I enjoy don’t always tend to be the most popular, but I stand by them from a quality perspective. Are these two areas of art analogous? Is Britney Spears the equivalent of J.K. Rowling? I tend to believe that I look for some level of innovation in the works that I enjoy. Not necessarily from an academic perspective, but from an “original” way of thinking perspective. It’s difficult for me to restrain my opinions, but they, at times, make me feel like a big snob, whether I have read more books or listened to more music or not.