Thursday, July 14, 2005

Weekend Reading

What will I be reading this weekend? Come on, guess. I bet you can figure it out.

Yes, I, along with a billion other kids and kids-at-heart around the world will be stuck into the next installment in the Harry Pottery series: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I am especially excited because I won't have to wait for the book to arrive from Peter and I are disdainful and distrustful of the "localization" of the HP books into American English for the US market. So, we'd order our copy from the British Amazon and then pay exorbinant shipping costs to get it about 2 days after everyone else.

My plan for Saturday is simple. I managed to reserve a copy at one of the few bookstores that is not doing the late-night opening thing. I'm not that pushed about it - it's not like I'm young enough to stay up all night reading anymore. I have to do a 5 mile Long Run and my route just happens to end smack dab in the middle of Dun Laoghaire, just down the block from the bookstore. Yep, I'm going to be sweaty and gross but I don't care. I want to get my paws on that book.

I plan to take the bus home, even though I might disgust fellow passengers. (Maybe not - Dubliners on the bus have pretty strong stomachs. Sweat is probably the least disgusting bodily fluid you'll encounter on the bus.) I wouldn't mind walking, but I never mastered the read-and-walk move, so the bus it is for me. I must get into the book before Peter. Possession is, after all, 9/10 of the law.

So, what is it about the Harry Potter series that can turn the most mild-mannered of readers into wild-eyed, book-addicted freaks? It's the perfect creation and realization of another world. JK Rowling has created this place that is easy to believe in, even though it is completely unreal. The writing isn't always as crisp as it could be, but the characters and the setting are so well-done, I can forgive just about anything.

Let's contrast this for a moment with Dan Brown, he of the mind-bogglingly sales-succcessful Davinci Code. Dan Brown's got plot. He's a master of plot. His downfall (besides that fact that he is far too pleased with his own cleverness) is his disgustingly one dimensional characters. It's a weird paradox. You don't care about his people, but you keep reading because want to see how Dan is going to solve the riddle. It's like an action movie - it's all about the explosions and the movement.

JK Rowling writes a mean plot too, but her books are more than just a relentless race through a series of events. Her characters jump off the page with heart and personality. Her settings ooze into your consciousness and make you wish you could creep through the dark halls of Hogwarts. The books have also grown along with their characters. Contrast the first book with the fourth or fifth books. It's been great to watch the characters grow up and the books have become correspondingly more dark and complicated.

Don't bother calling me this weekend. I'm not answering the phone. Unless it's Harry.


At 16 July 2005 at 01:41, Blogger Lyss said...

At 20 July 2005 at 19:04, Blogger Career Guy said...

OK--900 pages or so--it's your time. Don't spoil it for Peter!! <:-))

At 22 July 2005 at 08:55, Blogger -Ann said...

Only 600 pages. I got home with the book at 10 am and I had it finished by 7 am. I read most of the time with a brief break for lunch and talking to people.

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