Wednesday, August 08, 2007

13 Reasons to ignore Harry Potter

I read a lot. I've read all the Harry Potter books. This last book, however, made me realize that J.K. Rowling is....well, she is just not a very good writer. I know they are children's books, but for engaging, well written, and imaginative, try #1 on my list.

I've focused on books that I think have been overlooked by many, so there are few best-sellers here. Best-sellers are easy to find. These aren't, but they are worth looking for:

1) "Tithe" by Holly Black. Oh, how I love this book. Imaginative, compelling, and well written. She has also written "Valiant" and "Ironside", set in the same world, and of course the "Spiderwick Chronicles", which has been made into a movie coming out soon.

2) "Night Watch" by Sergei Lukyanenko. What's the difference between good and evil, freedom and responsibility? Also recently translated are Day Watch and Twilight Watch. If you are so inclined, do NOT bother with the awful American movie remake -- see the original Russian one.

3) "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson. I don't know why Hollywood is so gaga over Philip K. Dick. Maybe it's because they don't actually read? In book after book, Gibson takes the online culture, and extends it in some amazing way. Bonus trivia: Gibson coined the term "Cyberspace".

3) "Complications" by Atul Gawande. An honest appraisal of the medical residency program and how it affects patient care, both positively and negatively.

4) "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephensen. I won't even attempt to explain this book, but it's Cyberpunk and over 1000 pages, and about, er, gold and cryptography.

5) "The Eight" by Katherine Neville. Okay, Rowling-esque warning: this book blows the socks off of the "Da Vinci Code", but it's written....well, it was her first novel and it shows. Still, it has an amazing plot.

6) "Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog" by Vicki Hearne. Actually, I'll recommend anything by Vicki Hearne, she has an amazing affinity for animals and is an engaging writer. Jon Katz is more popular, but honest-to-god, he's had dogs for, what, 10 years and published six books already? How much can he possibly have to say? Try Hearne instead.

7) "For the Love of a Dog", by Patrica McConnell. Or anything by Pat, and if you get the chance to hear her speak, drop everything and just go.

8) "Education of a Wandering Man" by Louie L'Amour. His autobiography, and what an interesting life.

9) "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" by Charles Seife. Who would have thought a book about nothing could be so interesting? Did you know at various times zero has been worshiped, banned, considered demonic, and used to fend off Satan?

10) "The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood" by Sy Montgomery. Another engaging, empathetic writer. My dog Splash chewed up my copy when I was on the last chapter, so I had to go to the bookstore and read the last few pages there.

11) "The Coming Plague" by Laurie Garrett. Forget how it sounds, this book tells the story of amazing researchers at the CDC, who work in hazardous conditions for low pay, and protect us all. Plus, emerging infectious diseases rock!

12) "A Dog's Life", by Peter Mayle. Okay, almost a best-seller, but who can forget the line "The House of 1,000 bottles, most of them empty." Anyway, we approve of books about dogs.

13) "A Winter's Tale", by Mark Helprin. I missed this one when it came out, and I just recently discovered it. I haven't finished it yet, but it's already on my 13 list, and that is saying something.

I've purposely left dog training books off this list. That's a topic for another day. Happy Thursday!


Lori said...

Well....I still love Harry Potter but thanks for the info:)

Comedy + said...

I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, nor have I seen any of the movies, so...there you have it. Nice list. Have a great TT. :)

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I've only read the first HP book, but can appreciate how she's touched so many people's lives. The only one I've read on your list is #1. I liked it, but it was a little "hard" for me as far as YA topics.

Just Me said...

I read the first Harry Potter book and was not interested enough to read any of the others. Thanks for all the suggestions of great books to read. I have never read any of the titles you mentioned, but I am always on the lookout for another good book...

Hope you have a great Thursday!

Suprina said...

I haven't even bothered reading the Harry Potter books. I have seen two of the movies but that was just for my boys.

Now, my husband takes them to see Harry Potter in theaters.

I just don't care for it at all.

Great T13!

L^2 said...

Haha... Splash ate your book. That sounds like something a certain yellow Lab in my house would do! Stella has a fascination with my bookshelf.
I haven't read any of these, but they all sound interesting. I'll have to check them out.

The Crux said...

Thanks for the list! Though I don't dislike the Potter books, I might try a couple of yours.

Nicholas said...

If JK Rowling can get millions of people thirsting for her books, she can't be bad!

Heather Rae Scott said...

My daughter just read "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech and she absolutely adored it. One of the teachers recommended it as a summer read and she couldn't put it down. I'll have to show her your list in the morning because she's out of books to read and wanting to walk to the library. Great list.

pussreboots said...

I've added a bunch of books from your list to my wishlist. I agree with you on Harry Potter although it is nice to see publishers taking an interest again in books for kids after the success of HP.

But when it comes to Gibson vs. Dick, I'll take Dick any day. I love his books and Gibson makes my eyes glaze right over.

Happy TT.

Milan - zzz said...

I couldn't care less about HP. And I should come back when you post about dog training books (if I don’t pack my things and make blogging hiatus that is :))

Fence said...

I'm still a fan of the HP books :) but there are some interesting ones on your post too. I think I read that one about Zero, or maybe it was a different one, but it was surprisingly entertaining.

I didn't know that they remade the Night Watch film, I've seen the Russian one, with the cool subtitles and am looking forward to the release of Day Watch, but I haven't read any of the books yet.

Happy T13

MamaLee said...

i have yet to pick up one Harry Potter book! I probably shouldn't say that TOO loud.

Happy TT!

samulli said...

Ha! Finally somebody who shares my opinion about this little upstart of a wizard. LOL
I must admit, I am not much into books about dogs either, but some of the others on your list I will definitely check out.

Robin said...

She doesn't have to be a great writer, she's a great storyteller.

If you ask me, anything that's got kids (or adults for that matter) lining up for hours for a BOOK is a good thing.

I haven't heard of any on your list, but I'll keep my eye out for them.

Freda said...

Hey Splash and Adhull,

Thanks for signin' my Guestbook/Dogbook. I've rebarked it to "Dogbook". Cooools! You 1,2 1,2 two are just runnin' and runnin'! Is that like “Run aways! Run aways!” in “Monty Python's Holy Grails” film? Arf! Arf!

Harry who? Dad is readin' Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick to me nows. It's sooo excitin'! It's about a dog growin' up in South Africa a long times ago.

He finished The Sex Lives of Cannibals-Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost. The story is about a couple of peeps spendin' 1,2 1,2 two years on the island of Tarawa. Now Dads says he never wants to put his bodys in the big water again. Yuckys!

Dad says the skardyest reader he ever read was The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. It is the only reader that ever truly skardyed him. It was yuckys too. Dog, guess he likes skardy readers, coz the next 1,2 1,2 one is by Mr. Preston too, The Cobra Event. It is a novels based on reeelly things that could happen. It falls aparts at the end but like The Hot Zone, it wakes you ups.

Finallys, WHEW!, The Omnivore's Delimma: A Natural History of Four Meals. He didn't finish it yet, but so fars, corn and cows are bad. They just aren't good things.

Dads says thanks for the reader list. His favs
though are abouts Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff and Spots.



mama kelly said...

My daughter has read a couple on this list and I am anxious to pick up another couple for her to give a try.

Happy Th13

Mama Kelly

Damozel said...

I'd have to demur; some of the Potter books are better than the others...the final one was pretty disappointing.

I haven't read most of those on the list. I did read "The Eight." I'm not sure I agree that it's all that well-written, but it was an interesting and different plot (Didn't read The Da Vinci Code past the first ten pages, didn't care for the writing.)

erin said...

I agree with Robin; Rowling may not be the best writer, but she's a fantastic storyteller, and that's what keeps people of all ages interested. I haven't read any of the books on your list, so I'll have to check out some of them! Happy TT! My list is 13 words I love.

MamaLee said...

I will admit that I haven't read a line of the Harry Potter books. Perhaps one day.

Happy TT!