Welcome to the beginning of a new “series” for the blog. I’ve never wanted this blog to be solely book review-based and only recently have I finally figured out what to do to keep talking about books and my thoughts while not actually reviewing books directly. I’ve wanted to apply the knowledge I’ve gained from doing this blog and reading all these books for a while now, and this is one of the ways I can do that.
My “Why You Should…” blog posts will be discussing a book or a book series in light of whether or not they are good/beneficial to read, based solely on the messages within the books themselves. By messages, I mean themes, ideas, etc. If you’ve read some of my reviews, you’ll know that I usually mention some of the main ideas/themes that I got out of a book. These, then, will dictate whether or not the book falls in the “Why You Should Read This” category or the “Why You Should Not Read This” category. Basically, I will be taking my review/s and applying them more directly as a sort of guide.
There are several reasons for why I am doing this:
1.) In my conversations with people, I’ve noticed that they tend to view negatively books that have what they consider bad (as in “wrong,” not “poor”) plot devices (i.e., the use of violence in The Hunger Games or magic in Harry Potter.). This is my attempt to show the potentially good/bad messages/themes of a book, regardless of plot devices (in the case of The Hunger Games, violence is used as a plot device to talk about the theme of violence, among other things; in Harry Potter, magic is used as a plot device for messages of love, friendship, bravery, etc.). It’s also a way to show that plot devices ≠ messages, necessarily.
2.) I fully believe that we should celebrate the good that is found within books, and one way of celebrating that good is by highlighting or showing it. This is by no means dismissing or ignoring the bad; I also fully believe that the bad needs to be discussed and talked about and compared to the good, which is why there is also a “Why You Should Not Read” part of this series.
3.) This is something that I love to do, that I’m passionate about, and that I am very knowledgeable in (thanks to this blog). Simply put, I want to do this (well, duh). This is also a way to “stretch my wings,” so to speak, in practicing this type of analysis.
As a disclaimer, just because I believe that a book should be read doesn’t mean that I think it should be read by everybody, or more specifically, all ages. This is why I put a Recommended Age on my reviews. So, if I think that Harry Potter or the Hunger Games should be read (as I do), I don’t think they should be read at any age. In fact, I think age-related “censorship” is important, although parents should have the deciding vote as to whether or not their children can handle the plot devices and themes in a book. Here are three interesting articles on this subject (specifically about Harry Potter): the first talks about what the author calls “Pinkwashing,” which is basically changing/editing the book as you read it to your child; the second disagrees with the first, and the third disagrees with the second (and thus agrees with the first). They’re interesting reads; in my opinion, I lie somewhere in the middle: I don’t totally agree with the first article, but I don’t totally agree with the second article (I think 6 is too young to read Harry Potter, especially the later books). In any case, the point I’m trying to make is that age is an important consideration in deciding whether or not to read a book (or read a book to someone, etc.), and part of that includes considering the themes in a book.
This series also may touch on books that I haven’t reviewed (but I have read), but we’ll see what happens.
I still haven’t quite figured out the schedule, i.e. when these posts will be published. I’m still working out the details, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out. But for right now, the first post of these series will be up on Wednesday (hopefully. I’m giving myself a deadline this time because when I don’t the blog schedule goes kaput)!