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Not Stupid

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  • David Lenander
    Why, because of a different reaction or reading experience would one think another person stupid? Digression that may be marginally relevant: I am not a big
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2005
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      Why, because of a different reaction or reading experience would one
      think another person "stupid?"

      Digression that may be marginally relevant:
      I am not a big Harry Potter fan, so even though I stood around for
      HOURS in a bookstore (well, you can probably guess that I wasn't
      literally standing around, I did find myself able to occupy the hours
      with browsing), including well over an hour in a line with my daughter,
      to obtain the new HP book, I still haven't read it (well, except for
      the first two chapters, when it jumped on my lap the other day and I
      was too lazy to get up and get one of the books I should have been
      reading). Cat, of course, read it over the next few hours that night
      before she went to bed, and upon encountering me the next day proceeded
      to loudly complain about all of the plot events to which she
      objected--but I don't care, I'm not really reading books, I realized,
      to find out what happens so much as to enjoy how the story is told.
      So, I'm not especially worried about encountering "spoilers," except,
      perhaps, in cases like _The Sixth Sense_, where Chuck had probably
      spoiled me for the movie anyhow. (Last digressive point from the
      bookstore experience: has anyone seen a fantasy novel called _Lord of
      the Librarians_? Anybody read it? )

      I've never been especially impressed by the HP books, but the fact that
      so many people liked them so well (including, as I recalled it, David B
      & Berni in Once Upon a Time), made me reread one or two to see if I
      could find what people liked so well. I'm even more astonished that
      many people like the _Amber Spyglass_ book, which seems to me a
      literary disaster in many ways. But I worry more about my own failure
      to grasp what these other intelligent and well-read readers seem to
      find. I do think Grace is a good reader and, while I'm not able to
      bring a specific example to mind for this purpose, I'm pretty sure that
      she's seen things in texts that we've read in common that I had missed,
      and I'm glad to have learned from her insight.

      I will tell one more incident that reflects my own inexperience or
      ignorance, not stupidity, inspired by Grace's comment that she's met
      people who were able to quit reading LotR after finishing _Fellowship_.
      When I first read FotR at age 11, I thought that the ending was the
      end of the story. I was anxious to obtain the other books about
      hobbits, that is TT and RotK, but I was expecting them to be new
      stories about, I don't know, Bilbo's other nephews or something. I
      was, therefore, pleased to discover that the story I'd enjoyed so much
      was continued when I obtained the other volumes. I do like pleasant
      surprises in reading, and one of the best is to reread a book after
      having it "explained" to me by someone who got it the first time, and
      realizing that I had missed something. I have frequently talked about
      my experience with Moorcock's "Dancers at the end of Time" trilogy,
      after some other members of Rivendell urged me to go on after an
      initial distaste for _An Alien Heat_. I was similarly astonished to
      find Le Guin's _Lathe of Heaven_ a brilliant book, after reading it
      years earlier and judging it a derivative and uninspired early effort
      when I read it at --maybe age 16 or 18 or so. I think Eleanor Arnason's
      work, especially some of her more comic and ironic pastiches, like "The
      House by the Sea," and _To the Resurrection Station_ are especially
      easy to misread, in the sense that if you don't "get it" there isn't
      much to appreciate in the text. For me, in the latter case, it was
      having the title explained, which proved to be a key that made the book
      suddenly much more enjoyable. I've sometimes had the sense that I was
      just missing something that would similarly unlock some text, and it's
      truly a delight when another reader on this list, or in Butterbur's
      Woodshed, or in a paper at Mythcon, gives me that key.

      On Aug 2, 2005, Grace wrote:

      > I am perfectly
      > willing to allow everyone on this board to 1) not like HP6, and 2)
      > think I'm
      > stupid to like it. I won't tell them they should like it and I'm
      > willing to
      > state why I do. With no hard feelings, but rather interest in their
      > p.o.v.
      >
      > Grace Monk
      David Lenander, Library Manager
      University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library Access Services
      Diehl Hall / 505 Essex SE, / Mpls., MN 55455

      Phone: work: (612) 626-3375 fax: (612) 626-2454 home: (651) 292-8887;
      (651) 697-1807
      e-mail: d-lena@... web-page:
      http://umn.edu/~d-lena/OnceUponATime.html
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