American Libraries Interviews Dan RadcliffeRadcliffe
As you may recall, Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter) was recently featured on an ALA READ poster, and now American Libraries, the magazine of the ALA, has interviewed Radcliffe about several topics, including the books he likes to read:
In your poster, you are holding Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. That’s an extremely interesting book choice, with demons, succubi, a talking cat, the interplay of good and evil, truth and lies. How did you discover it?
I’ve been obsessed with the novel ever since I read it about a year ago. I’ve always been a huge fan of Magical Realism. It’s an inspiring genre in which writers can just let their imaginations go wild and wonderful. I discovered the book through an Amazon.com recommendation. I’d just ordered Louis de Biernières’s The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, and The Master and Margarita came up as an Amazon “other readers like this book” choice. I’ve read it twice now, and I just received an English first edition (Collins and Harvill, 1967) with a beautiful cover as a birthday present. That’s the one that appears on the READ poster.
You mentioned in one of your interviews that you buy a lot of books—what are some of your favorites?
I loved Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. I also liked Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, and Émile Zola’s Germinal, which I thought would be difficult but it read very easily. I also like classic Russian writers; I’ve read Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Notes from the Underground. The reason that these books have become classics is that they are so readable and accessible.
Radcliffe also discusses his opinion of the Harry Potter books and of how they've been translated the screen, as well as how they've increased literacy:
Do you think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is one of the best books in the series?
My personal favorite is the fifth, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, because it’s involved with Harry’s relationship with Sirius Black, the most interesting character in the series. But Deathly Hallows is also one of the best novels. J. K. Rowling was under intense pressure to complete the series, but she is a woman of much conviction and she wrote a final novel that was both up to her exacting standards and one that she knew would give fans the ending that they wanted.
Will these two Deathly Hallows films be the best of the Harry Potter series?
They’d better be. We need to have the series go out with a bang, in recognition of all the fans who have supported the films and books over the years.
How much of the Harry Potter character is due to J. K. Rowling’s text, and how much do you attribute to your own insights and ideas?
Most of what you need to know about Harry Potter is in the books. It would have been presumptuous of me to add things that were not already there. J. K. Rowling is not one of those authors who is constantly on the set, but she was always available to answer questions.
Librarians love Harry Potter because Rowling has created such vivid characters and a fun fictional world that encourages kids to read. I understand that many cast members were intense fans of the book. Do people tell you that the books and the films have inspired a love of reading?
Absolutely, and I am a case in point. Before I was cast in the first Harry Potter film, I didn’t read much at all. But I have grown to love reading because of the film and now I am an absolutely voracious reader, although kind of a slow one. Anything that gets kids into reading is fantastic.
Radcliffe discusses more, such as the music he uses to prepare himself to play Harry, in the full interview which you can read here.