Long about a year ago, I discovered Card's blog. For some reason (possibly because we had a major computer crash) I no longer had it bookmarked and hadn't checked in there for a while. But I did the other day, and enjoyed myself immensely. I certainly don't agree with everything Card writes, especially regarding politics. But I love his regular columns entitled "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything" where he does indeed review just about everything, or at least just about everything that strikes his fancy, from children's literature to movies to...um...flavored water.
But here's the best part: he's a Harry Potter fan! Why does this surprise me? It shouldn't have. I should have known that one consummate storyteller would recognize the genius of another. I just hadn't "connected" them in any way. What's even more fun is how brilliantly and zestfully OSC defends Harry -- as good literature. Thank you, thank you!
So even though this piece was written almost exactly five years ago, I'm still recommending it as a ripping good read...not just for Card fans or Rowling fans, but for anyone who loves children's literature and respects the power of good storytelling. My favorite part is the way Card zings the literary "elite" and reminds us that we can trust children to spot good stories:
What infuriates the literati? Oh, they talk about how Harry Potter is just a fad, how children's books aren't "literature," how these books are proof that English-language readers are even dumber than they thought.
But the truth is, in fact, the opposite. Unlike Pokemon or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Harry Potter movement is reader-driven. Kids who thought they hated to read because they had hated everything anybody tried to make them read in school suddenly became avid readers of big thick books that were extraordinarily demanding, not just in vocabulary and syntax and culture, but in moral reasoning and character development....
And then a little further on:
It is obvious that J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, has already earned a permanent place in world literature, alongside Louisa Mae Alcott, Robert Louis Stephenson, and Mark Twain, who also wrote books that children loved, and who also were phenomenally popular during their lifetimes despite the harsh criticism of literary elitists.
In fact, one can make a good case for the idea that children are often the guardians of the truly great literature of the world, for in their love of story and unconcern for stylistic fads and literary tricks, children unerringly gravitate toward truth and power.
The whole post is definitely worth reading. It got me all excited about good reading and good writing...again.