The Biblical writer states “of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). The purpose for this website is to help ease the burden that comes with reading and studying.
Several times a week we will be posting either a book review or an article dealing with book related topics such as the place of objectionable elements in writing. Comments may be posted by a registered user after they have been approved by a moderator. For each new review or article we will create an area in our forum where it can be discussed. Other topics may also be discussed in the forum. We hope to create a lively intellectual atmosphere where people from all backgrounds and interests can intelligently discuss books of every genre. One note though, this forum is not for making personal attacks or pushing a particular view or ideology. For example, it is one thing to criticize an author for misrepresenting a position. It is an entirely different matter for criticizing the position he espouses. This site is the perfect place to discuss anything you’ve ever read about. Perhaps you have a hard time understanding the Briticisms in Harry Potter or P. G. Wodehouse’s books featuring Jeeves and Wooster. Ask about them here. Maybe you think Louisa May Alcott ruined Little Women because Jo ends up marrying some old German guy instead of Laurie. Perhaps you think David McCullough presents an overly romanticized view of the American Revolution in John Adams and 1776. One of my pet peeves is the misrepresentation of Reformed theology in Charles Ryrie’s Basic Theology. This site will provide people with a place to discuss, debate, and defend their views on every tasteful subject.
Now to transition here, I would like to begin what will be a multi-part series that will integrate reviews of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling with discussions on the use of objectionable elements in literature and also a comparison of the uses of magic by Rowling, Lewis, and Tolkien. The series will culminate with a review of the latest Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) which is scheduled to be released on Saturday July 16. Now there are many good and intelligent people who disagree about the merits and value of Rowling’s books.
The main issues seem to be the prominence of magic, moral ambiguity, graphic violence and occasional crude language, and also the lack of a clear distinction between fantasy and reality. Now I’m not going to say right off what I think about each of these issues. You’ll have to read the series to find that out. I just thought I would outline the main issues that I will be discussing and also establish my credibility as I write about these books. I don’t claim to be an expert on Harry Potter and I first read the books with great incredulity. Since my initial reading through the series (now almost two years ago) I have read the first five books all the way through at least five times. While that may sound like a lot, I have read other works that I really like such as the Silmarillion and Descartes’ Meditations many more times. Still I think reading a series through several times allows you to understand how the whole story works together and allows you to see the threads of the subplots more clearly.
I will attempt to be fair and objective and will be open to any criticism or comments that you may have. One final note before I finish for the evening. Though I am writing this initial series on works of fiction, many of my future posts will be concerned with historical works (both classical and modern) as well as a few other select topics. I am a historian by training (though I am still in grad school) and I must agree with my advisor Dr. Linda Hayner when she said that “history is the queen of the humanities.” Currently I will be the main writer, though we soon hope to have some additional writers who have expertise in other areas such as literature, theology, science, etc. For the time being you will have to put up with my ramblings and pseudo-intellectualism. Regardless, have a nice evening and a reflective Independence Day.