a matter of taste

I enjoyed this post from Adventures in Editing:

Harry Potter Made Me Vomit

Well, not really. I just wanted to get your attention. I did become very ill once while reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but it wasn’t Harry’s fault. Actually, it was the chemotherapy. I had taken the book with me to a chemo treatment, thinking Harry and friends would distract me from the more unpleasant things going on that day. Unfortunately, the unpleasant things completely took over. Between the nausea and the drugs they gave me to allegedly relieve the nausea, I was unable to read more than a few pages. I put Harry Potter aside that day and couldn’t pick him up again until over a year later; every time I thought of Harry I became so queasy I would have to lie down.

Which brings me to my actual point. Sometimes people dislike or refuse to read certain books for reasons that have nothing at all to do with the books themselves. I love Harry Potter. I admit I was a late convert and didn’t begin reading the books until the first movie came out, but I love him just the same. For that one year though, I absolutely could not read or even think about him.

About 20 years earlier, I stopped reading Stephen King because of some interview he gave in which he said he was happy to settle for the gross-out when he couldn’t quite achieve a more disquieting sense of horror in his readers. I had enjoyed Stephen King until then, but I was idealistic and unforgiving in my youth and thought writers should be perfect all the time. Thank goodness those days are over. In the meantime, I’m sure I’ve missed some pretty good books. Now I wonder if my memory of that King quote is even remotely correct. Perhaps I got it all wrong and shunned a favorite writer for no reason at all.

Happily, I did eventually get back to Harry Potter and have eagerly read all seven books. I haven’t quite found my way back to Stephen King yet, but that’s mostly because I have so little time to read these days. I have forgiven him for that gross-out comment (which he may or may not have actually made)—or maybe I didn’t forgive him. Maybe what really happened was I realized what an arrogant nitwit I was being.



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