Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Group Discussion: Books Series.

I think we all can say that we have a soft spot in our hearts for book series. After all, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Twilight, and so many other books have been enormous phenomenons in our generation. But are these sorts of reads holding us back from more mind-provoking titles? It's hard to say, but here are my thoughts on it and my inspiration for this post...

Today, October 4th, is the release of Son of Neptune, the second book of an extended series of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Thinking about all of this and my excitement for it, I realized exactly what I'm sure a lot of people realize:  I'm 18 and reading a book written for 8-12 year-olds. It gave me quite a shock for sure, especially because I was in the age range when the first book came out. Back then, it was fully encouraged that we read as much as we could, and Percy Jackson was right up our alley. Were these teachers expecting that we would be reading the same level books six years later? That's what caught me off guard.

So I've been thinking a lot about book series and the implications that they have. Obviously, they're good books. That's why they're so popular and have a permanent place on library shelves around the world. And obviously the stories that are so good and need to published in more than one book should. Who wants to carry around a thousand-page book, though? I wouldn't want to miss the rest of a story, and I'm sure none of us would if we really liked the first one! But am I short-selling myself? Are we all short-selling ourselves?

Another example is Harry Potter, which almost defines a generation. Given, I have never read these, and I haven't even seen the movies. However, they have been a significant part of the previous two decades. That's right. The initial publishing was in 1997, and the last book was published in 2007. The defined age range for these books are 9-11. Again, the people who the books were written for were between the ages of 19 and 21 when the last book of the series was published.

From 18 to 25, we're expected to read the classics, build a strong base of literature under our belts to apply to life. We're suppose to educate ourselves with those books that have lived for two hundred plus years and have changed so many lives in order to better our lives for the future. In replacing books like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights or Count of Monte Cristo with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, are we hindering our opportunity to learn?

Just to be clear, the above titles are just examples, and this is not a personal attack or anything. I enjoy these books just as much as anybody and just want to know if anyone else feels the same way. So does anyone have thoughts on this matter? Should there be a time limit to when book series of a certain age range be published? 3 or 4 years tops?

I would thoroughly enjoy your comments, and I feel that we could all profit from this discussion.

'Til next time!

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