Back when Rowling was still writing additional volumes of Harry Potter one of the guys who worked with me openly suggested that this Hogwarts saga was what literature was all about. I politely argued the point and introduced him to this website dedicated to reading. A few weeks later he conceded the argument but replaced it with a variation of the tired old suggestion that reading, reading anything, was valuable since it inevitably developed the habit: Harry Potter was the gateway to Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.
I’m not so sure about this.
I’ll concede that the physical act of reading provides some level of exercise for the brain but walking to the kitchen to get another beer from the fridge does not a marathon make. If you’re nine years old, read Harry Potter, but by the time you reach forty you should be ready for Ulysses
Or maybe something from this month’s reading list.
- The House of Twenty Thousand Books — Sasha Abramsky
- Petty Troubles of Married Life — Honoré de Balzac
- City — Alessandro Baricco
- The Biographer’s Tale — A. S. Byatt
- Manhattan Is My Beat — Jeffrey Deaver
- Colonel Jack — Daniel Defoe
- The Corsican Brothers — Alexander Dumas
- Wives and Daughters — Elizabeth Gaskell
- Gun Island — Amitav Ghosh
- Time Shelter — Georgi Gospodinov
- Barney’s Version — Mordecai Richler
- Captain Blood — Rafael Sabatini
- Farmerettes — Gisela Sherman
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich — William L. Shirer
- And Quiet Flows the Don — Mikhail Sholokhov
- The Murderer — Georges Simenon
- Scattered All Over the Earth — Yoko Tawada
- Burr: A Novel — Gore Vidal
- Dead Men’s Trousers — Irvine Welsh
- Maisie Dobbs — Jacqueline Winspear