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CuriousGeorgette

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About CuriousGeorgette

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  1. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    I did not say this, this is assumption some one made when they got their knickers in a twist when they misinterpreted the question I was raising. That person put words in my mouth and every one else has jumped on the assumption since then without actually stopping to think and read for a moment - hands up those who actually read the links I provided - no one? thought so. As I said in another thread a few minutes ago - I'm really fed up with not being to able to have an intellectually stimulating discussion around interesting questions with regard books without the conversation veering off into the bushes because some one or the other fails to understand some statement or the other and jumps to conclusions and gets their knickers in a twist and reactions with an emotional offended outburst. This not only completely derails any further rational discussion, but usually ends up with other people jumping on the bandwagon and rallying around to attack the offending outsider who DARED to invade their sacred turf. Just so you know, its really hard making the effort to get involved in a new forum. I have just quit another forum where I was a moderator for a variety of reasons, not the least being it was just sold to new owners and I felt it was in their best interests to run their forum themselves. I am used to being able to have a challenging discussion without people getting all up in arms about irrelevant things and I was hoping, clearly highly optimistically, that I might be able to have discussions of a more challenging nature on a new forum. Well I'm done. You may all have your forum to yourselves. I'm not interested in being the target of all your insecurities and anxieties and cliquey dislike of a newcomer who dares to disagree with your precious opinions.
  2. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    except that whenever the conversation just starts to get intellectually interesting it manages to get veered off into the bushes because some one or the other reacts emotionally, this thread isn't the first time its happened either on this forum or on forums in general and I'm a weeny bit fed up with never being able to actually have a proper intellectually interesting and more in depth discussion about a book.
  3. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    And I am now done. All I know is that I am entirely fed up with attempting to have an interesting discussion about various things without emotionalism.
  4. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    sorry but that is just your perception. As I have said more than once now ... I'm not the only person to think these books are bad - it is a widely held opinion by people who should be considered capable judges of these things - I have stated my opinon when asked but I did not use my opinion as the basis of the discussion I was raising. I'm fed up now with trying to explain it to people who refuse to discuss anything further than attacking my opinion.
  5. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    Isn't Pearl Harbour located in Hawaii... and while yes technically that is US territory it isn't quite the same as the continental US is it? It is also a military base which is also not the same as bombs dropping on civilian targets. I did not marginalize the US's contribution of help, and I thought I made a point of saying that I was not trivialising it - but you can't dismiss the fact that the US did not experience the war in the same way that Europe and the UK did. It is also true to say that none of us experienced it in the same way that the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima did either. And I'm quite sure that the people in those cities perceptions of the bomb is shaped differently by that experience as well. Certainly that experience must have played a role in the fact that the first world conference protesting nuclear weapons was held in Japan. You can't just dismiss the differences in experiences by being defensive about what you perceive as an attack. Facts are facts and different experiences create different perceptions and have different psychological effects etc. As for 9-11 I'm sorry you lost family - truly that must be a pain in your heart that will never go. I am absolutely NOT marginalising or trivialising that loss and devastation, but in terms of the discussion between the US experience of war and the European experience it is relevant to say that until that horrible day on 9-11 - the average person in the US had not had that experience and when it did happen (as much I fervently wish it had not) the profundity of the impact illustrates the difference that personally experiencing bombs dropping on innocents and not having that experience does create a whole different mind-set / experience / impact etc etc etc etc ie all the ways in which that impacts a person physically, psychologically, emotionally etc. I am really sorry that you see that as trivialising anything - wow - if you only knew how deeply and profoundly anti-war/anti-violence I am because of all the ways in which it so utterly messes people up and the long term effects it has from generation to generation you would not for one minute think that I am disrespectful of or minimalising the impact of any participation or contribution or effect. Let's not forget we are discussing a book about war, and attempting to discuss the impact it may or may not have had in forming a broader anti-nuclear protest movement. Discussing the times in which the book was written and the experiences that contributed to both the author's point of view and the perception of readers is relevant. The book was written by a British author who had an up close and personal experience of two world wars and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is a British organisation - discussing the psychology, experience, etc of Britain during the war is entirely relevant. And the fact that it is different to the US experience has to be mentioned, if only, to realise that there was a different experience and that may be why I and other readers perception of the book may not be the same as readers in the UK in 1957 / 1958. I am acknowledging that my own experience was already sufficiently different not to immediately perceive this book as anti-nuclear or even anti-war. I first read it in the early 1980's. I can't remember exactly when I read it (this is the problem with devouring books at the speed I do LOL) but during those years I was deeply impacted by the construction of the first (and so far only) nuclear power station here. I was profoundly impacted by movies such as Ghandi, Gallipoli, Apocolypse Now, Dr Strangelove and others and reading books like Heart of Darkness, Lord of the Flies, Catch 22, as well as any number of post-apocalyptic sci-fi books (too many to mention) that created in me a profoundly deep and abiding hatred for war, violence and anything starting with 'nuclear'. And yet even in that context and rereading the book now - I do not experience it as primarily anti-nuclear war / weapons. So trying to ascertain how and if the book was a part of forming an anti-nuclear movement as claimed is both interesting and challenging. ******* Actually just thinking about it in these terms makes me realise that the book reflects the British 'stiff upper lip' attitude and behaviour during the war more than I think it accurately reflects the Australian character it is supposed to.
  6. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    I think perhaps you are out of touch with the age groups that are / were reading the books. My daughter was in grade 2 when all her friends were reading the books. Perhaps there were teens who were reading the books, but from what I remember of the photos of the queues etc for the books the readers were all largely younger. The Kids Family and Reading Report of 2006 reports that the average age for children to start reading Harry Potter is 9 with readers as young as 5 starting on the series. No that is just the perception of how I express myself. I'm in the minority here and I'm upsetting the apple cart by not falling in with the prevailing opinion that the books are the best thing next to sliced bread, combined with a certain amount of pre-existing tension because of the fact that adult readers think they shouldn't be reading kids books and many of you probably have already come under some criticism or been aware of the criticism of adult readers of the series. Now you can't know this but that is the very last thing I would object to - I am a regular reader of children's books myself. I'm of the opinion that GOOD writing for children works for adults as well. I'm just not of the opinion that Harry Potter stands in the same league as recognisably good children's classics despite its popularity. What you also don't know is that this current train of thought with me started with reading a review of Ursala Le Guin's Earthsea series which started with: To understand A Wizard of Earthsea, we have to start by imagining what the world was like before the Harry Potter books (we know, tough to imagine). which absolutely horrified me. IF Harry Potter does do all the wonderful things for reading that people claim - why do we have to 'IMAGINE' a world in which the books do not exist - surely these avid readers Harry Potter has created will be reading widely enough outside the books, not to have to IMAGINE such a thing? Any way that got me wondering just why the heck the books were so popular, what factors contributed and that is what led to the discovery of the article and dissertation that I shared which I thought was interesting when read in juxtaposition - IF the books are considered bad by people who should know the difference between good and bad (an opinion I just coincidentally share, but I would find the phenomenon just as interesting if my opinion of the books was different. In fact my negative opinion of the books is secondary to my interest in looking at how the marketing worked.) then the whole dissertation on the marketing behind the book becomes both relevant and interesting, particularly when you take note of the fact that the initial print run on the book was 5 000 copies. What changed between that and the 30 000 copies it had sold by the end of year 1? How did it change? Why did it change - if the quality of the writing was such that not even the publisher had that much faith in it from the get go (5000 copies remember) .... how did it become a best seller ... and while part of that is certainly that for some reason people liked it one can't dismiss the impact of the marketing machine and how that all works. I'm not insulting any one by saying you were had by the marketing - the forces at work in how these things influence people are powerful and subtle. We are a generation defined by marketing, from what we eat, wear, think, and vote and to think or say otherwise is to be deliberately naive. However, when one becomes aware of it, one can try to be a little more autonomous in our choices and thinking, to look beyond what the media tell us, to find more opinions, to seek out divergent opinions, or as much of the truth as we can, to form an informed opinion rather than the one fed through the media. It isn't just about Harry Potter - the books are just an illustration of a much wider reality in our society today.
  7. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    I'm sorry, but America had not directly experienced the impact of an attack on the nation until 9-11 which is one of the reasons the attack had the profound effect it did. I'm not trying to play down the loss of lives during WW2 and the impact that had, nor am I trying to belittle the horror of 9-11 but there is still a difference in perception, impact and psychological effect when the bombs aren't landing on your head, in your streets, on your houses, and when it did happen in America with 9-11 the shock to the nation was profound. It changed many perceptions, changed attitudes, changed the people, changed the nation. I also have not directly experienced what that feels like but I am perceptive enough to realise that there is a difference, must be a difference. How can we know what it felt like to have to hear the air-raid sirens go off and sit in cellars and bomb-shelters and basements listening to the planes go over head and straining to hear the whistle of the bombs falling? To sit and feel the explosion near or far and to come out and find your house, your neighbour's house, the street flattened to rubble? We can not.... but I don't think I'm so far off in saying that some one or a nation who has experienced that may well be a little less inclined to be enthusiastic about making war and collecting the accouterments of war than people who have not. There was a small scale protest in the US in 1946, followed by the first large scale protests in Japan in 1954 / 1955. The first Aldermaston March by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was in the UK in 1958 while the first large scale anti-nuclear protest in the US was only 3 years later in 1961. The first marches were held in Australia in 1964. So the publication date for On The Beach in 1957 slots in right between the first meeting of the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs held in Japan in 1955 and the first protests organised by the CND in 1958. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-nuclear_protests_in_the_United_States http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-nuclear_protests And yes we are in a way discussing the difference between the US and the UK's experience etc. You can not separate the experiences from the author because it is those experiences that shaped what and how he wrote. Nevil Shute was British. He served in both World Wars - in weapons development during WW2 - and emigrated to Australia in 1950. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevil_Shute
  8. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    Yes perhaps - certainly Britain and Europe were slow to recover, in some places still recovering, as buildings destroyed in the war are only now being rebuilt. Of course the US was not directly touched by the direct effects of the war as most of the rest of the world was. Perhaps one of the contributing factors to the willingness to engage in the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
  9. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    Question - why should I have to read something that I have already attempted and failed to finish reading because I found the writing to be so uncaptivating, irritating and just plain bad just so people like you, who in all likelihood still would not accept my opinion as valid, won't dismiss it as invalid. FYI my porn analogy was not so strange, by your criteria, one would have to read the magazine cover to cover with a magnifying glass before being able to venture any opinion on whether or not you a. liked it b. thought it appropriate or c. thought it was any good. Personally I have read enough, experienced enough, trust my judgement enough to know what I like and don't like, and can determine from a small sample if something is of interest to me, worth reading further, reasonably good or not, and worth spending time on. Life is too short to force myself to read stuff I know I won't like just so some one can't say "but you didn't read it" when I express my opinion. Edited to fix typos.
  10. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    In a sort of jumbled reply to both points - Nevil Shute was an aviation engineer - I'm darn sure he was quite possibly more aware than the average person in the street about things like the effects of a nuclear bomb, radiation, nuclear winter etc. I think we can see that awareness quite clearly in his subdued but nonetheless fairly technical explanations in the book of what happened and how the radioactive fallout is spreading around the globe through the jet stream and the symptoms of radiation sickness. However that doesn't give us any indication of how that information was received and perceived. It is, as I said, subdued. For me that doesn't read as an overt anti-nuclear message, but I'm reading it from a different perspective and awareness of the issues to some one in the 1950's. It may well have had a completely different impact on a significant number of readers at that time. Having said that though ideas don't occur in a vacuum and the whole reason we have those generational labels is because there are clear defining characteristics of that time. My Dad was also from the silent generation and I can remember him saying how much growing up in the austere post-war years defined his generation. I think in many ways there is something of that silence and austerity in this book. There is no wild debauched lets make hay while the sun shines type behaviour. There is just a quiet sort of desperation and a very understated railing against fate.f you think how much people were expected to follow the roles society set for them, this book reflects that, right down to keeping the lights on right to the bitter end. We, who have seen the protests of the last 40 / 50 years don't perceive this book as a protest but that doesn't mean it wasn't if only in that it didn't justify, support, condone or support the use of nuclear weapons. It is quite clear that Shute considered the reasons for the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons as farcical and something of a comedy of errors which definitely would not have been in keeping with the common belief at the time about the necessity for the arms race.
  11. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    I think that you should refrain from making statements like 'you can't understand' - you have no idea beyond the opinion I have stated here as to what I can and can't understand.
  12. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    Because it does matter. Junk does not stimulate the imagination, or encourage young readers to appreciate books, or teach them the good use of language or new words. Junk does not stimulate a life long passion for reading, for language, for books, for the world of the imagination. Lets not forget we are talking about CHILDREN'S books here, not escapist literature for adults. What adults choose to read in order to escape the daily drudge is their choice - but children's books are another matter entirely. Yes we can. It is a matter of opinion, but quite a widely held one. I'm not the first person to think it and a great many other people with far more qualification than I (if you discount a lifetime of reading) have agreed - these books are badly written. Some even on this forum, in this thread to boot. Children ARE taught through literature, and they want to be heard in real life, not so much in books, and it is the responsibility of children's authors to ensure some level of social responsibility in their writing. Particularly in todays' complex world that children have to navigate. This does not mean 'lecture', or speak down to, but the values espoused need to be clear moral choices. Children do not live in the grey world of adults - their moral world is far more black and white, right and wrong, good and bad. Confusing these things for them does not educate, does not help, does not give them a good grounding - it confuses them and loosens the soil beneath their feet. They need to know that right is right and wrong is wrong, and that the good guys win. Moral ambiguity comes later, but first it needs a solid grounding in what is clearly right and what is clearly wrong. Aah yes the you-can't-know-what-you-like if you haven't read every word ... well when you look at the cover of a porn magazine do you have to examine every photo inside to know whether or not it is porn? If you pick up a book with a lurid cover with some demonic thing from some one's worst nightmare standing over a disemboweled corpse with blood on its fangs on the cover do you need to read every word to know what it is about and whether or not you will like it? Can you read a large number of opinion pieces, quotes, extracts, reviews on a book, to get a feel what it is about and the values it has? Yes/No/maybe? I don't like the books, and the way they are written, but they have sparked a huge amount of controversy for various different reasons and I have followed a great many of the saner debates on the books. (emphasis on saner as some are just totally froth-at-the-mouth ridiculous).
  13. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    most of the first one - by which I mean I suffered through the first few pages, skimmed the rest to see if it got better - it didn't. Seen bits of one or two the movies - didn't grab me any more than the books did. I found the writing to be condescendingly simple, lacking in good construction, short on creativity - it is SOOOOOO derivative - uninspiring, and appallingly insulting prejudiced against 'muggles' <- ie the reader that I'm surprised it has not come under more criticism for inciting hatred against any one who is different. Any one who has read Enid Blyton will recognise the hankering after this ridiculously outdated and idealised concept of the private boarding school - only Enid Blyton could actually write (but I can't stand any of the school books she wrote either) - where we are all jolly hockey sticks what ho! (Puke!). Harry Potter himself came across as hugely disrespectful of authority and I thought the lines between right and wrong are entirely too blurred to be appropriate for kids - the end NEVER justifies the means! The adults in the books are either stupidly authoritative - do as I say without question and I won't listen to you - or the enemy. Again not something one wants to be promoting for kids. Whilst SOME adults are like this (sadly) - one also wants to create the impression that there are adults who will listen if you have a problem and who will be supportive etc. Too many issues kids have go unreported and unnoticed because kids do not see the adults in their world as being the solution to their problems.
  14. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    Well I don't think it was sour grapes - and I think her points are pertinent to the discussion - 1500 copies indicates that the book was not that great, not that well received etc on its own merits. Put the 'name' behind it + the publicity = sales .... popular does mean good and good does not mean popular. A book can be really awful and still be popular (Mills and Boon and the ilk any one?). She is also right that it is very hard to get published. I was reading a blog written by an editors assistant who said she rejects 95% of the manuscripts that cross her desk ... NINETY FIVE PERCENT - now I would be inclined to accept that figure as being a slightly high assessment of the ratio of good publishable books to the drek if it were not for a few posts in which she wrote about why some had been rejected. Sadly it was not because the writing was bad or didn't fit into the genre of books the company published - no it was some arbitrary objection to phrasing, or a word, on the first or second page! So potentially publishable books (with the help of an editor which is expected) are rejected on some whim. I don't agree that the solution is for the big names to stop writing in order to allow others to have a chance - no I think that the industry needs a revolution, as well as readers who are more discerning and don't just go for the 'Top Sellers' in the bookstore. Fight the marketing - it isn't always right about the quality of the book - be more discerning ie read more and cultivate your personal tastes - demand quality over quantity.
  15. Harry Potter - good or bad? (split from original HP thread)

    oops sorry I misread ... too early in the am, lack of sleep to blame - apologies, but my comment about being happy to have a proper debate on the subject still stands.
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