Thursday, July 19, 2007

It Goes Without Saying (So Why The Heck Does That Crazy Lady Always SAY So Much???)

...because I'm a girl, that's why.

Okay, on to the topic. It goes without saying that I love books. All kinds. I have read thousands of them and I finish (with the exception of the Left Behind book 3 and some trashy novels) every, single one. Why in the blue blazes would a person do that? Because I am a very hopeful kind of gal and I always hope that it will get better! Most of the time it does. Sometimes it doesn't. Anyway, it goes without saying that some books are good for your soul, some are bad, and some are "soul neutral". For instance, let's say...the BIBLE: GOOD for the soul! Ummmm, How To Build A Wiccan Altar: Definitely BAD for the soul! Now for the neutral ready?...The Da Vinci Code.

I know, I know, hold yer horses. I realize that the Da Vinci book caused all kinds of noise and outrage with us Catholics but if you really think about it, the noise probably made the book and movie much more popular than it would have otherwise been...standing all alone...all on it's own merit...without a bunch of people shouting, "HERESY!BLASPHEMY!SINSINSIN!CONSPIRACY!". I didn't read it, but I heard it kind of sucked. As a book. Full of made up stuff and goofiness. Even the author admits it was made up stuff and goofiness. Therefore, I say to you, "The book The Da Vinci Code is neutral for the soul because of the neutral impact (properly formed, soul-wise anyway) made by the silliness and nonsense that the book contains.".

So now I'm going to talk about my love of books some more because, of course, it goes without saying.

I read every book lining the parish school classroom's shelves by the 3rd month of the school year, every year. If you've ever been to the parish school (good ol' st. mike) you could see that every classroom has built in shelves (or at least they used to) lining the whole wall under the windows. True, I never really paid much attention in class because I had a book hidden and pretty much read the entire lesson long. I couldn't WAIT for a funeral (the boys didn't like that but I'm pretty sure the girls were all "yay for funerals!"...we were kind of sick) or bad weather because that meant we would have recess in the classroom and I could finish the latest book I was reading and not miss out on anything exciting on the playground (like break dancing move contests, gymnastics tricks, note passing and flirting)! I never minded detention because it meant I could read some more. I often got detention for reading during class or not doing my homework but, ironically, I would read during detention so: HA! I won!

Well...not really. I'm paying for my inattention then now in my homeschooling adventures with my own children. Like me, they have a penchant for reading and I have to keep them on task and help them find OTHER subjects just as interesting as reading the latest book (Little House, or Narnia, or Captain Underpants, or Junie B. Jones, or The Secret Garden, Treasure Island, True Stories of Spies, Shark Attack!, etc.). Oh well, I'm learning those lessons all over again (or for the first time!) and I love teaching them the stuff that I should have paid attention to in the first place!

Oh, and Harry Potter.

GASP...did she say...Harry Potter???
butbutbutsputter...isn't that EVIL? Isn't the author of those books some sort of satan worshipper?

I will now link you to a favorite blog of mine for more explanation as to why (and when) I do allow my children to enjoy Harry Potter books. I contend that Harry Potter books are at best Christian Themed (heavily on the Catholic side) and at worst "soul neutral" because they are made up. Everyone knows they are fantasy. Ridiculous things happen in them. Most children (especially OUR children) know that fiction means FICTION. Our children are not a gullible as most people think they are. Yes, they are sponges and yes, there is such a thing as evil that can seep into their lives despite our best efforts to protect them. BUT, when it comes to books? I can only think back to those grade school years when I read every kind of book and loved reading, even if I didn't love a particular book. I knew exactly which ones were absolute fiction and loved them. I knew which ones wanted to convince me that a certain way of life was reality (Judy Blume-should have been banned from all Catholic schools...what were those teachers thinking?). It wasn't my reality because I had good parents who raised me right and I stumbled, but I didn't fall because of those stupid books!

Oh, but before I link, I ought to tell you that the movies are a separate issue altogether. It goes without saying that the movies are a little different than the books (as most are) and do not have the same nuances or emotions, or lessons as the books. They, like the books, should be prudently judged for each individual child as to which age (if any) would be an appropriate viewing one. That was a weird sentence. I really liked English too, but evidently that didn't translate into a great ability to form a coherent sentence.

WEHHHLP, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Here's the link to my favorite-ist blog (winkwink)
please read the comments and follow the links if you are going to comment on this particular entry. It's good to be as fully informed about what you are discussing as possible.

Yes, people of good will can disagree on this subject, Serviam! On that, I surely agree! (But I'll win you over yet, I will bwahhhahahahaha!)


Leonidas said...

Couldn't agree with you more! I spent many gradeschool nights under the covers reading with a flashlight long after my bedtime. We had one 13" black and white T.V. until I was in highschool and then we upgraded to a color 13". We were only allowed to occasionally watch channel two and sports. We did go to the libray at least twice a week and I read non stop for hours and hours. I love fantasy books and I have really might want to get your holy water ready... Harry Potter! They are fun books with an overall theme that love and sacrafice will always defeat evil. I am glad to see that another Catholic was able to read the stories and not convert to witchcraft. I still cook my food drive my car, go to mass witch are very muggle things to do. I have yet had the impulse to go to the peak of my roof, jump off, and give the old broomstick a try. I read all the Narnia books to my kids and made my son read the Tolkien books before he could read Potter. He finished the Tolkien books in third grade and didn't even want to read Potter until this past winter. We reread them together and had a blast. The thrill of reading is one of the greatest feelings you can provide a child. We hope to pick up the last Potter book tomorrow afternoon. Are there some things wrong with the books? You bet, but it gives you a chance to talk with your child. As for winning Serviam over to Potter acceptance, Good Luck! I have tried with little luck. He will still turn out O.K. I liken his Potterless reading career to a strict vegetarian and health food fanatic. One who only eats pure sugars such as bananas and apples but never has tasted candy or a big juicy steak. A little candy or juicy steach has never hurt anyone! Read a book for Fun! We won't tell anyone!


Serviam! said...

After thinking about the whole Potter thing, I have decided something.

Believe it or not, I have decided to read the Harry Potter series (assuming I can make it through them - NOT a fan of fiction in general. To each their own).

I do agree that books (and other media for that matter) can be pro-Catholic and anti-Catholic, but also neutral.

I can't believe I'm doing this.

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

WOOOOOHOOOOOO! I knew it. I knew I could win you over to the dark si...I mean, I hope you enjoy the series. I did and I'm not twisted and sick at least, not any more than I was before.

I CAN believe it. You are a person who can't go long without studying an issue to the "n"th degree and it sure is hard to study this particular issue without actually reading the books! It's funny that I'm not a huge fan of fiction either, that's why when I actually DO read fiction, I like it to be as fiction-y as possible. I hate it when people make up stories about something that could actually happen. It usually ends up being really sad, or lame. I guess that's why I liked the HP series (and Narnia, and LOTR), because they are so ridiculous that they are fun and you can just get lost in the series for a while. Every one of them is a nice distraction for a short time. I like to think of books like these as "brain palate clensers", to make way for the really good, non-fiction stuff I usually favor!