Friday, July 20, 2007

A Harry Potter confession

This will probably not do much for my street cred among writers, book lovers, and especially the folks chewing their nails waiting for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" to land in their hands at 12:01 Saturday morning.

But here goes anyway.

I haven't read a single Harry Potter book. Not one page. Not one line.

My wife loves them, and we've been to see the HP movies together, and I like those just fine. But I can't quite make myself crack open one of the books. Even though roughly 171,000 people have told me how great they are and how my life will not be complete without them.

I can't explain how a professional writer has managed to miss out entirely on the most popular books in the last 50 years. I have three lame excuses:

One, I tend to resist things that people tell me my life will not be complete without. (I've never watched "Lost," either.)

Two, we're always bringing home books -- from work, bookstores, the library -- and I always find something I want to read just a little bit more. (This week's diversion: "Can I Keep My Jersey?", a smart and funny tale of life on the fringes of pro basketball by journeyman Paul Shirley.)

And three, the Harry Potter books are so popular that they're floating around in the ether -- they're in the news all the time, part of the chatter at the office, etc. You know all the basics without even picking up the books. They're so much a part of daily conversation when a new one comes out that millions of readers spent this week trying to AVOID hearing about it, lest they hear spoilers.

(Where did that "lest" come from? I'd never use "lest" in a real conversation. But it seems right for wizardry chat.)

Anyway, we've got the books, and we'll be acquiring the new one this weekend, so I'll probably take a vacation sometime and tackle the whole series end-to-end. But this leads to a question:

Is there some cultural touchstone that you've just never gotten around to touching?

Never seen "The Wizard of Oz?" Never listened to "Sgt. Pepper" all the way through? Never read any of Oprah's picks?

'Fess up in the comments.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies at all.
I haven't seen any of the Star Wars movies end to end, only in bits and pieces when one is on a network station.
No Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy or 24.
I have seen one or two episodes of American Idol and Survivor but never by choice.

Anonymous said...

Haven't watched Lost
Haven't watched Alias
Haven't watched 24
Haven't watched the Sopranos

If I ever end up bedridden, I have a good long DVD-fest ahead of me.

Anonymous said...

Never watched "The Sopranos"
Never been to a NASCAR event of any kind (and I'm a native Charlottean)
Never watched "Lost" or "24"

Anonymous said...

I've never watched the Godfather movies. I want to, but just never have.

Anonymous said...

Never read Harry Potter books
Never seen Lost
Better yet -- never seen Roots

Anonymous said...

No Harry Potter books for me either, I just never got around to them

Martina said...

for years, my confession of never having seen "E.T." was met with a mix of disbelief, indignation and just a smidgen of pity. feeling like i had missed out on the single most important film ever, i sat down to watch it, ready to be impressed.

now, my confession of hating "E.T." is met with a similar mix of disbelief, indignation and pity, with just a little sprinkling of "well, @&$% you!" mixed in.

:-)

Anonymous said...

I've never read the books either, but have aced many a Harry Potter "quiz". Who needs to read 700+ pages when you can carry on a short conversation with someone who has....and is MORE than willing to share vital info that can make you appear "in-the-loop" when you decide to pass it along.

Other "never-haves":
Seen Lost
" Ally McBeal
" 24
" American Idol
" Sopranos
" Sex and the City
" A NASCAR Race
Listened to Judas Priest backwards
Eaten Octopus

Stephanie said...

Never watched a "reality" show, Lost, Alias, 24, Weeds, Roots, Star Wars III (the last one to come out I believe), or any or the Godfather trilogy.
Never read the Lord of the Rings books, The Hobbit, Anna Karenina, or anything by Stephen King.

christina said...

I haven't read Harry Potter, either. But I read the plot summary for the last book on Wikipedia.

I've never watched more than an episode of "24," "The Sopranos," "Lost," "Alias," "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," any of the "Survivor"s, "American Idol," "America's Got Talent," or any game show.

I've never seen the whole "Godfather" series. I fell asleep during "Goodfellas." I also fell asleep during "Apollo 13" - all three times at the same point in the movie.

And I hate "Forrest Gump."

Anonymous said...

Okay Christina - it's official: I'm not the only person on Earth who hates Forrest Gump! Whenever people find out that I hate that movie, they look aghast! appalled! as though they're wondering "what is WRONG with you?!" Meanwhile, I'm aghast, appalled, etc. at how so many people love it. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone : )

Anonymous said...

Never read or seen Harry Potter
Never seen:
Lord of the Rings
Lost
24
Seinfeld
Raymond
ER
Frazier
Cheers
Sopranos
Law and Order
Alias
Desperate Housewives
Grey's Anatomy
Survivor
Ellen
Friends
Beverly Hills 90210
Hated Forest Gump
Love B/W Andy Griffith
yet still manage to live a rich and full life.

J. M. Shepherd said...

My TV caught on fire and burned up in 1983. I never got another one until recently, it was a gift. Came with a dvd player. I've bought all the Northern Exposure episodes, but still don't watch TV.

I've never read Harry Potter, but adore Beatrix Potter no end. Also just finished reading 3 Nancy Drew mysteries - oh my gawd.

Tommy, I'm glad to see you are having "issues" with blogs too. It's enough to make me wonder about renting a teenager. Argh! What am I saying?!