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Re: Harry Potter, a few remarks

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  • David Lenander
    Claire loved Harry Potter (the first) and read it in one day. She s currently reading her way through all of John Bellairs (except for the adult books, like
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 16, 1999
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      Claire loved Harry Potter (the first) and read it in one day. She's currently
      reading her way through all of John Bellairs (except for the adult books, like
      _Face in the Frost_, which I think I'll keep from her for a year or two,yet).

      She'd like to read the next one, but I'm not willing to buy it in hardcover.
      Unlike many of those on this list (apparently) I didn't think that highly of the
      book. Very enjoyable, a quick and absorbing read, but it's popcorn for the
      mind. Much is borrowed from several writers, especially Roald Dahl (and I would
      say that Rowlings has a nicer imagination than he did), but I don't think the
      first book (anyhow) has the integrity of the Dickens pastiche in _Charlie and
      the Chocolate Factory_ or the sensitivity of _James and the Giant Peach_.
      Similar books that are really much better books--at least for me--they stick to
      the memory (instead of to the ribs) now when I can barely remember the Harry
      Potter book, read only last year, (except for the badminton/soccor-in-the-air
      game, which was a wonderful idea and marvelously portrayed), are the
      Chrestomanci books of Diana Wynne Jones, especially _Witch Week_ and _Charmed
      Life_. Jane Yolen also did a wizards' school book in _Wizards' Hall_, though
      the masterpiece is Le Guin's _A Wizard of Earthsea_. (I'm sure I've read
      others, but none come to mind immediately. There are many little books
      featuring witch's schools, books that tend to get displayed in libraries around
      Halloween). Le Guin's _Wizard_ isn't a fun and funny school story, though, like
      some of these others.

      I'd like to recommend the OTHER finalists for the Children's Mythopoeic Fantasy
      Award this year, not only the winner, Wynne Jones' _Dark Lord of Derkholm_ which
      is a wonderful story about the dynamics of a very unusual family of seven
      children (don't be distracted by the framing plot device of a novelized _Tough
      Guide to Fantasy Land_), but also _The Heavenward Path_, by Kara Dalkey, a
      wonderful and even better sequel to the earlier book, _Little Sister_, set in
      Japan where a demon befriends the Buddhist heroine; _Ella Enchanted_, by Gail
      Carson Levine, which is far more than a retelling of "Cinderella," establishing
      a whole secondary fantasy world on a fairy-tale premise and brings all the
      characters to life in a very clever magical plot worthy of Diana Wynne Jones or
      Margaret Mahy; and _The Squire's Tale_, by Gerald Morris, in which the author
      attempts to rescue Gawaine from the Malory's calumnies in "Morte d'Arthur" by
      telling Arthurian stories from a more Anglo-Saxon perspective, in the person of
      a new character, a young, elfin squire for Gawaine, telling a story with
      considerable grace, cleverness and insight. There is already a sequel, too.
      In my opinion, all of these books were much superior to _Harry Potter_, in terms
      of the writing and stories, and that's not to disparage _Harry_, which as I
      mentioned, I much enjoyed, as did my 9-year-old daughter, Claire. I look
      forward to borrowing the sequels from my public library or purchasing the
      paperbacks. (I might break down if Claire keeps asking, but only if I can find
      the bestseller on a really good sale).

      I'd also put in a plug for some other recent books that Claire and I really
      enjoyed, the _Boggart_ books of Susan Cooper, which I value over the overblown
      and pretentious "Dark Is Rising" sequence, (though I have only praise for the
      second and third books of the sequence, the title volume and _Greenwitch_), and
      Claire seemed to enjoy Pullman's _Clockwork_, which is a fine tale in the
      tradition of Tieck or Hoffman, though she stoutly insisted that it's not really
      a *children's* book, the scene where the prince's heart was cut out was too
      grotesque, apparently.

      Responding to the message of <37E1414C.BDCBB80D@...>
      from mythsoc@onelist.com:
      >
      > From: Lisa Deutsch Harrigan <lisa@...>
      >
      > After a bit of prodding, Little Harold has finally snagged the (still unread
      > by
      > me) copies of the books in the house. He's in the middle of Jeremy Thatcher,
      > Dragon Hatcher, but that is proving to be a very fast read, as in he doesn't
      > want to put the book down. So I should have report soon on a child's eye view
      > of
      > the Harry Potter books.
      >
      > JK Rowling is having a major literary event, complete with signing of the new
      > book in a few weeks here in San Jose. Harold's teacher has tickets for sale.
      > We
      > are getting one (which lets in a child with adult).
      >
      > Will send in a report.
      >
      > He's also asking for the Narnia books. Going to have to find the kids'
      > copies,
      > someplace in the older bookcases. Or buy him his own set (cheap through
      > Scholastic Books). Yes, Harold has taken to reading Children's Fantasy. I'm a
      > happy mommy!
      >
      > Mythically yours,
      >
      > Lisa
      >
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      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      >
      > .
    • Matthew Winslow
      I m enjoying all this discussion of the Harry Potter books and have been meaning to jump in, but have been too busy today. Finally got the time. I ve read the
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 16, 1999
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        I'm enjoying all this discussion of the Harry Potter books and have been
        meaning to jump in, but have been too busy today. Finally got the time.

        I've read the first two and just yesterday broke down and ordered v3 from
        SFBC. (I say 'broke down' coz I'm in a 'no buy' zone right now till I get some
        other book-reading commitments out of the way -- running out of room on my
        bed-side table <g>).

        The books feel to me like a cross btwn Dahl and Wodehouse -- but not the
        Jeeves or Blandings Wodehouse, but the Wodehouse of the White Feather, the
        early Wodehouse. And since I love Dahl and since I love the early Wodehouse
        (no matter how poorly written tehy are), I naturally have been enjoying the
        Potter books.

        I somewhat agree with David Lenander that they're (so far) mostly brain candy,
        but oh, what candy! These aren't circus peanuts, but Lindt chocolates. Sure
        they add to the hips (or to the brain-fat), but they're worth it.

        As to the points Mary brought up, I think one must immerse oneself in the
        worldview of the Potter books and ignore the fact that we are Muggles. The
        Muggles of the books are not *us* per se, but rather the backwards saps of
        that fantasy world. I'm sure anyone wise enough to be a member of the
        Mythopoeic Society would be a 'mud blood' at worst. <g>

        --
        Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
        "Be careful. You know what he's like after a few novels."
        --M. Python
        Currently reading: Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

        Not responsible for the following ad, but I've played one on TV.
      • Steve Schaper
        ... What is chrestomancy? I ve forgotten and I doubt my dictionary would list it. ====================================== It s 1999, where s Moonbase Alpha?
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 16, 1999
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          At 3:20 PM -0500 9/16/99, David Lenander wrote:
          >
          >Chrestomanci books of Diana Wynne Jones, especially _Witch Week_ and _Charmed
          >Life_.

          What is chrestomancy? I've forgotten and I doubt my dictionary would list it.


          ======================================
          It's 1999, where's Moonbase Alpha?
          ======================================
        • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
          Hi This is what I know. It is being sponsored by Hicklebee s Children s Books in Willow Glen and the Santa Clara County Reading Council. Harold s teacher, Mrs.
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 16, 1999
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            Hi

            This is what I know. It is being sponsored by Hicklebee's Children's Books in
            Willow Glen and the Santa Clara County Reading Council. Harold's teacher, Mrs.
            Funke, is a member of the Reading Council.

            To get tickets from Hicklebee's you needed to stand in a long line (some people
            for days), to get a chance at a ticket. This is Star Wars on a a literary scale,
            folks! It got coverage in the newspaper and on local TV and everything. For a
            Book! Yeah!

            The event itself is taking place at the Willow Glen High School (renamed
            Hogwarts School for the occasion <g>) Cafeteria on October 28 at 6:30 pm.
            Tickets are $20 and include a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
            which J.K. Rowling will sign.

            Major Note: They strongly recommend that you bring a child. This event is for
            children. We adult fans must find a child is necessary. Rent a niece or nephew
            or neighbor's kid if needed. But please bring a kid! Scholastic and the SCCRC
            want to encourage kids to read, that is the function of this book
            reading/signing.

            Luckily, as a mom, I come fully equipped.

            Mrs. Funke still has a few tickets. E-mail me privately if you want to go.

            For those of you in the rest of the country, see if your local Children's
            Bookstore is sponsoring a reading/signing. Scholastic seems to be working with
            Children's Bookstores and Literacy Groups.

            Yours in service to Fandom

            Lisa


            Staci Dumoski wrote:
            >
            > From: Staci Dumoski <unicorn@...>
            >
            > Hey, Lisa,
            >
            > Could you tell me more about the J.K. Rowlings event here in San Jose?
            > I'm local, and would be interested in attending.
            >
          • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
            In a message dated 9/16/99 4:32:33 PM Central Daylight Time, ... Hey, maybe YOU re a Muggle! Speak for yourself [superior smile] Mary S
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 16, 1999
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              In a message dated 9/16/99 4:32:33 PM Central Daylight Time,
              mwinslow@... writes:

              > I think one must immerse oneself in the
              > worldview of the Potter books and ignore the fact that we are Muggles

              Hey, maybe YOU're a Muggle! Speak for yourself [superior smile]

              Mary S
            • Diane Baker
              It appears you ve raised the little guy right;  Narnia s one I didn t discover until college. ...  
              Message 6 of 17 , Sep 16, 1999
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                It appears you've raised the little guy right;� Narnia's one I didn't discover until
                college.

                > Yes, Harold has taken to reading Children's Fantasy. I'm a
                > happy mommy!
                >
                > Mythically yours,
                >
                > Lisa
                >
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              • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                In a message dated 9/16/99 3:55:33 PM Central Daylight Time, ... of ... Hey David, I got it from the =library=! Precious few are the books I am willing to buy
                Message 7 of 17 , Sep 17, 1999
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                  In a message dated 9/16/99 3:55:33 PM Central Daylight Time,
                  d-lena@... writes:

                  > I'm not willing to buy it in hardcover.
                  > Unlike many of those on this list (apparently) I didn't think that highly
                  of
                  > the
                  > book.

                  Hey David, I got it from the =library=! Precious few are the books I am
                  willing to buy in hardcover.

                  Scottishly,

                  Mary S
                • THEODORE SHERMAN
                  I got em in hardcover at 40 & 50% off retail. I bought em at Sam s Club. Ted ... -- Prof. Theodore James Sherman 6545 Dynasty Drive Murfreesboro, TN 37128
                  Message 8 of 17 , Sep 17, 1999
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                    I got 'em in hardcover at 40 & 50% off retail. I bought 'em at Sam's Club.

                    Ted

                    Stolzi@... wrote:

                    > From: Stolzi@...
                    >
                    > In a message dated 9/16/99 3:55:33 PM Central Daylight Time,
                    > d-lena@... writes:
                    >
                    > > I'm not willing to buy it in hardcover.
                    > > Unlike many of those on this list (apparently) I didn't think that highly
                    > of
                    > > the
                    > > book.
                    >
                    > Hey David, I got it from the =library=! Precious few are the books I am
                    > willing to buy in hardcover.
                    >
                    > Scottishly,
                    >
                    > Mary S
                    >
                    > --------------------------- ONElist Sponsor ----------------------------
                    >
                    > GRAB THE GATOR! FREE SOFTWARE DOES ALL THE TYPING FOR YOU!
                    > Tired of filling out forms and remembering passwords? Gator fills in
                    > forms and passwords with just one click! Comes with $50 in free coupons!
                    > http://www.onelist.com/ad/gator1
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

                    --
                    Prof. Theodore James Sherman
                    6545 Dynasty Drive
                    Murfreesboro, TN 37128
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