Confessions of an Avid Reader

Now that my own book is finished and copies are heading off to their various destinations, I finally have time to read again! (It’s been a while.) My “must read” list has been growing steadily over the past year and I’ve only managed to make it through a handful of titles. Many of them are circus themed books that people have been recommending, which I am always grateful for! I recently finished Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and was entirely spellbound from start to finish. I’m now midway through Game of Thrones and plan on reading Natania Baron’s Pilgrim of the Sky after that.

So, enough of the chit-chat. I have a confession to make. I have never read a single Harry Potter or Twilight book. Shocking, I know. For someone who loves fantasy, horror, and dark romantic drama as much as I do, it seems kind of strange that I haven’t gotten around to either of these series and I had to actually stop and think about why that is.

Reasons I’ve never read Harry Potter

In truth, part of me always wanted to. Unfortunately, these books first started appearing right at the time I started college when I found myself constantly overloaded with assigned reading. Also, as a newly self-proclaimed adult, the books looked a little too kiddish for me. Between the cute, whimsical cover illustrations and character names like “Dumbledore” it didn’t exactly seem like something I wanted to be investing my grown-up time on, so I took a pass. I watched as friends and family members a few years younger than me devoured the Potter universe and got hopelessly hooked. I felt the urge to join in, but kept telling myself,  “I’ll get around to reading this someday. When I don’t have so much going on.”  I decided to skip out on the movies as well, thinking it would be better to read the books first.

Years later, all of my Potter-crazed friends were raving about how great the most recent movie was. It was the third movie. So my husband and I rented the first two, then went to The Prisoner of Azkaban in theaters. We got invited along to each of the following movies as they came out.

Now knowing the story, I feel like reading the books might be a little after the fact. Plus, with all the hype, I feel burned out on the Potter world. Even when I do decide to finally read them, (and I probably will) I fear I won’t really get to enjoy them as literature, having already experienced Harry Potter as a piece of pop-cuture mass-hysteria.

Truth be told, I now regret not reading them earlier, before the movies each came out. Thankfully I started reading Tolkien in middle school when it was still nerdcore. Huzzah!

Reasons I’ve never read Twilight

First let me start off by saying, I’ve never been all that into vampires. There are a few vampire movies I like, but beyond that, vampire genre obsession is not something I “get.” After talking to other women my age who have read the Twilight series or even just gone to the movies, they all say the same thing: “You just have to put yourself in the mindset of a 14-year-old girl. If you can do that, it’s great.”

This is where I have a problem. I try to remember my own 14-year-old girlhood and I don’t recall having read a single piece of literature aimed at that age group. When I was 14, I was reading piles of Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen King books. I also read Tolkien and Michael Crichton. Then there was my non-fiction pleasure reading, mostly on the subjects of geology, paleontology, and art history. The summer of my 14th year, I went on a 2-week  fossil dig in Nebraska where I camped with other girl nerds and geeked out when I uncovered the leg bone of a three-toed horse. Evolution! Cool!

In short, I can’t get into the mindset of a 14-year-old girl because I don’t think I ever truly was one – at least not the kind that 14-year-old girl stuff is marketed toward.

So, between my lukewarm feelings for vampire fiction and my inability to channel the desires of a (more typical) middle school girl, I probably won’t ever bother with Twilight. I don’t negatively judge those who enjoy it (they probably are more normal than me), it’s just not my thing.

The Goonies factor

As a child of the 80’s, most of my friends and siblings ended up seeing The Goonies at some point and quoted it regularly. Due to various random circumstances, I never ended up seeing this movie. As I entered my 20’s, my friends (and my husband) were amazed when I didn’t know what the “truffle shuffle” was or what the “heeey you guuuuuuuuuuys!” line was from. At last, at the age of 26, my husband talked me in to watching it, insisting that “It’s such a great movie! You’re going to love it!”

When we got to the “truffle shuffle” scene, I didn’t laugh. I just sat there dumbfounded. It was a fat joke. A really stupid fat joke. After all those years of hearing about it like it was this amazing inside joke I wasn’t in on, to see the scene played out was beyond anti-climatic. In fact the whole film was… not at all what I thought it would be.

After relating this experience to one of my friends, he admitted that he still has not seen The Goonies and at this point in life enjoys it as a part of his identity. He likes being “That Guy Who’s Never Seen Goonies.”

Who knows. Perhaps one day I will proudly embrace my identity as “That Woman Who’s Never Read Twilight.” Or “She Who Has Not Read Harry Potter.” But for the time being, they wait at the very end of a very long list of “must read” books. Call them my “might read” books.

2 thoughts on “Confessions of an Avid Reader

  1. I guess I’m that guy no? If not, I’ll have to meet that guy. I’m glad to read from you post that it wasn’t worth it. I missed it for a good reason if not a intended one. I loves me some movies and I loves me some sci-fi and I loves me some 80’s. Had I seen it with my peers, it would probably be my most favoritest movie ever. Stand By Me is one of my favorites and as far as I can tell it’s like a weirder, stupider and less literary version of that movie. Now I’m old and can’t see it though kids eyes so don’t plan to see it. Not having seen it and only imagining what “heeeeey you guys!” is all about is probably more valuable to me than realizing that scene is you-had-to-be-there funny. I always tell people they have to see Big Trouble in Little China because it’s so awesome and they’re never impressed if they follow my suggestion despite their better judement. I’m thinking maybe reading Harry Potter to your kids might be a fun way to appreciate the story without actually having to force yourself to go appreciate the story. Good luck.

  2. Yup! You’d be that guy! Interestingly, Chuck and I both went back and watched a bunch our favorite childhood movies together a few years ago. I had never seen Stand By Me as a child, but loved it as an adult. Chuck had the same experience with Willie Wonka. Pete’s Dragon and Big Trouble in Little China… he didn’t get why I love those. It seems like some of these movies hold up and other ones are best left to the memories. Especially for the kid-venture kind of movies, if you see it at that pivotal time in your life, when you’re young and adventurous and want to believe kids can do anything, then it will probably reawaken those positive emotions for the rest of your life. If you don’t see it at the right age? It’s going to look a goofy and implausible. And the jokes in the Goonies are definitely age-specific and very 80’s PG.

    As for Potter, we probably will end up reading the books with our kids. That way we get to experience it as something new vicariously through them 😉

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