For the first time in a number of years I have begun reading fiction. For almost a decade I read little or no fiction because my experience as an English major in college sapped the joy out of the experience. It was then that I started focusing on philosophy, and the analytic branch at that. I wanted to get as far away from fiction as possible. The last year or so has softened me toward fiction, however, and I have polished off a few novels in the last few days. I must admit that none of them are difficult works, but one of them is a classic.
Two of the books are from the Harry Potter Series. Yes, yes, I know there are Christians out there who hate the books and think they're evil, but I'm not one of them. The two I've read in the last week or so are Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone early some time last year.
I'll admit it: I love the Harry Potter books. They are utterly delightful to read, whether they're considered children's literature or not. The stories are full of adventure and humor. But by far my favorite things about the series are the emphases on bravery and fighting evil. Harry gets scared, but he perseveres because he must do what he can to conquer evil (Voldemort).
The books also show that we do not come through these battles without scars, emotional and physical. Harry's parents lost their lives because they chose to do what was right. **SPOILERS AHEAD: IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOKS SKIP THIS SENTENCE** Sirius Black died fighting the same evil, and so did the honorable Albus Dumbledore.
Harry Potter shows us that things will not always turn out as we want, but we must continue the fight. There are some things that are more significant than our lives. I think this is actually a valuable lesson for Christians in the West, though it is unfortunate if we have to learn this through Harry Potter when it should be learned from the Bible.
Obviously there are negatives about Harry Potter, but those have been well covered. If you're looking for a fun read, I recommend them.
The other novel I recently read was Robert Louis Stevenson's classic Treasure Island. Like Harry Potter, this book took me in with its story of adventure, piracy, and honor. Once I started reading it was difficult to stop. Though I knew the basic story, I didn't know all of the details. Not surprisingly, I recommend this book as well. I can't wait untill my sons can read!