1. Scription
    Offline

    Scription New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0

    Between Silence and Secrets

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Scription, Dec 23, 2014.

    I couldn't find a way to put both titles in the thread name, so it might be kind of vague, but it was meant as "Between The Silence of the Lambs and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets".
    I just finished reading The Silence of the Lambs. It was well-written, well-crafted, and well-researched, yet it felt underwhelming. Everything was really well-crafted, but I had almost no feeling of excitement or tension from this supposed masterpiece of suspense-thriller.
    However, from just the first 30 pages of Harry Potter (of which I've only read the first book) I got all the feelings of tension and suspense I was expecting from Silence. It was in a different form of tension, with death not being an actual consequence to the character. So, what gives? I've heard so many good things about Silence of the Lambs but I got almost nothing out of it. I read the first 30 pages of Harry Potter and suddenly reading becomes fun again. I'm 18 and I can't believe I never read this as a kid. I really missed out until now.
    Can someone tell my why I feel like this is superior to a supposedly "adult" book?
     
  2. Gawler
    Offline

    Gawler Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2014
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    144
    Location:
    Australia via Hawaii via Australia via England
    Never read Silence of the Lambs but I did get Hannibal and struggled to read 90 pages before giving up on it. What always struck me about Harry Potter was that it is so much like the older English stories that I grew up with. Think of comics like Beano or Dandy and stretching further back Hotspur.

    At 18 these would all be before your time but they all had an engaging quality about them that Harry Potter also possesses. It appeals to the younger reader and to older readers who remember the enjoyment that these stories gave them when younger.

    I would also say that at your age Harry Potter has more that you can relate too than Silence of the Lambs.
     
  3. daemon
    Offline

    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    982
    I got more out of a My Little Pony fanfic (okay, several) than I got out of most books I have read. I would not say the fanfiction is superior in any way, but if I had to forget I ever read a certain work of fiction, then the fanfiction would be the last to go.

    "Quality" is what authors (should) try to achieve and it is what reviews are written about, but it is far from the only thing that makes a book worth reading -- far from the most important thing, even. Sometimes, a book addresses a theme so personal to the reader, or implements the reader's pet trope, so that as long as it is readable, it is hard for any other book to compete. On your deathbed, which will you remember: the intricate wording of something you once read, or an idea that has grown with you?

    Anyway, I have some ideas as to why The Chamber of Secrets engaged you more than The Silence of the Lambs:

    It is more immersive. Hogwarts is a rich, quirky, imaginative fictional setting that employs many tricks to make you feel right at home inside it, from its many forms of boundaries (geographic boundaries, restrictions on where people may go), to the secret places, to the cozy common rooms. It is easier to invest in a work of fiction when it draws you in and makes you right at home, than when it takes place in our own boring world. It is like the difference between playing pretend on a rainy day in an old mansion with winding corridors and rooms to be discovered, and playing pretend out on the street on a sunny day.

    The characters are your friends. There are three characters right off the bat who invite you into their inner circle, plus lots of peripheral friends -- people who care about each other, keep secrets with each other, and have each other's back. The focus of The Silence of the Lambs is two serial killers who never even interact with each other in the story. Fascinating people to analyze, but difficult to invest in.

    There are countless other ways in which the Harry Potter series in general can engage the reader more than The Silence of the Lambs, but those are the two main ones. (Setting and character development, basically.)
     
  4. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Maybe because you are the sort of reader who absolutely must have characters you can relate to instantly. I mean, all respect to Robert Harris, but he was limiting his audience to more adult-minded people when he decided to write about serial killers and police investigations. Rowling is aiming at multiple audiences at once, each with a different level of reading skill and needs.
     
    J Faceless likes this.
  5. Scription
    Offline

    Scription New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great response! I think that perfectly describes what I'm feeling towards the two books. I feel like if the emotional development of SotL was way more subtle, like you had to feel around to get the warm spots. Whereas Harry Potter definitely has characters you want to be friends with because they're so warm. No doubt, Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lector had great conversations together, but I think I would be more likely to care if I actually grew on these characters. I feel that if I could connect to them, the tension would be that much greater.
     
  6. Scription
    Offline

    Scription New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I've definitely noticed that when I've looked back at the books and comics that affected me most. They all had exceptionally strong characters to the point that they felt like actual people. With Harris' book I felt like he was more often trying to keep his research straight, rather than tell the story engagingly. The story felt plausible, like it could really happen, but I felt like more time was devoted to getting the correct bug species than developing engrossing characters (besides Lector of course). I think Rowling did an amazing job of hooking me into the world and its characters and letting the story and information flow naturally.
     
  7. Scription
    Offline

    Scription New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I'd say my age has much to do with it. I wonder how much that'll change when I'm older. I still think I'd like Harry Potter better by that time, though it just has a timeless quality to it. I can't wait to read more of the series!
     
  8. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Well, if Harry Potter is your sort of novel then I imagine something like Robert Harris would make you a bit unsure with it's more clinical way of providing information.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,995
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    I suspect that you're still not going to like Silence of the Lambs all that much when you're thirty, forty, etc. There are more "adult", higher quality books that have the immersive setting, characters that draw you in, and sheer joy, that Harry Potter has, and I suspect you'll like those. The characters in may be less clearly "good" and the plot may be more challenging, but I think that you'll still crave warmth in a book, and that's just fine.
     
    Okon likes this.
  10. J Faceless
    Offline

    J Faceless Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    56
    Location:
    New England
    These books are so different. Chamber of secrets is my least favorite Harry Potter book, when rereading the series I've skipped that one. Harris' book throw you into a world of despicable serial killers, and i thought it was doe well. It was required reading for me in a criminal justice in literature class, that I took in college. Silence definitely has a cringe factor but it adds to the atmosphere. It is not for the young and brutal at times, while chamber is very approachable, silence is not for everyone.
     

Share This Page