Saturday, July 21, 2007

On the Occasion of the Last Harry Potter Book

There's this big hoo-rah about the last Harry Potter book. So I decided it was time to post my antique wizard pix from Cortez Street -- my small contribution to the hoo-rah. Small because I didn't really cotton on to the books. Maybe I'm simply too old...

Or perhaps it's that my memory of magical children's books remains attached to the books of my childhood and those I read to my daughter. Oz. Pooh. Alice. King Arthur. (I'll still read a new version of the Arthur legends, if well done.)

Anyhow ... I never felt that Harry Potter measured up. Upon reading the first book, I felt that there was something wanting. No idea what. On the other hand, the popularity of the books is a phenomenon that surely reflects on the current state of children's lit. What's your take?

Note: speaking of matters magical, have a look at these kinetic sculpts.

12 comments:

Lucy said...

We rather enjoy them. They aren't great art, better than Enid Blyton but not as good as many other things. It's encouraged boys in particular to read more than they might have. I think there is good children's lit being written,which does very well too. I guess HP has just gathered a momentum, and the films are impressive. I'm looking forward to seeing how she winds it all up, Tom reads them out loud to me, so it's a shared entertainment, part of the appeal too perhaps.

Avus said...

I, too, am left cold by the HP phenomenon. Saw a couple of the films but have not bothered since and could not be going on with the books. Still - it is for kids not adults (although many love them - good job we are not all the same).
It is good that it has encouraged reading amongst the young though. (I wonder how popular they would have been if they had not been filmed?)

carosgram said...

I read the first 3 books and never could decide if I liked them or I just wanted to be 'au currant'. In any case I haven't read any others nor have I watched any of the films all the way through. My children have both read all of them and watched all the films. Oh, well. Maybe I am just too old for all this nonsense. Give me a good mystery or romance novel.

Steve G said...

I wish this was written when I was a lad. I have read one and saw two of the movies. I can what the attraction is to the young crowd and a few of the older ones.

Hyde DP said...

They are not bad for what they are but like many things these days are over-hyped to the extreme. We picked up a copy on Saturday morning at a very discounted price and without having to queue.

kate said...

I love them. Granted, the first few books were skewed a bit young, but I definitely think they've matured as the characters matured.

The characters are, for the most part, endearing. Themes include death, love, friendship, loyalty, trust, personal growth & finding one's strength, honor, family, embracing people who are "different" from yourself...

The films are good for what they are, but they leave out a huge portion of the story.

Granny J said...

A hot topic, indeed.

Lucy-- I like the idea of boys reading. I recall many, many years ago, my father showing up with a package and a big grin. He had discovered reprints of Horatio Alger and Hardy Boys books from his childhood, which were given to my bro.

Avus-- as to the popularity, another memory, this of the word of mouth from the Niece from Memphis, who showed up talking about Harry Potter well before any word hit the press that I read.

Welcome, Carosgram-- I guess I prefer my SF as you do your romance & mysteries. I'm sort of afraid to reread my favorite children's books for fear that I've got too old for them.

Granny J said...

steveg-- I'm sure that I would have enjoyed the books as a kid...

hyde dp -- welcome! Yes, they certainly have been hyped & there seems to be this big feedback loop such as happens with all pop culture phenomena -- the press just love the story.

Kate-- very unusual in children's fantasy for the characters to mature as the series moves along. And it's wonderful for so many youngsters (including non- readers) to be exposed to the themes you listed.

Everybody -- enjoy!

smilnsigh said...

I never got into HP either. But a lot of my family, adult and children, are.

My take... Whatever brings some non-readers to reading, is wonderful. We don't have non-readers, among our {now adult of course} children and
Grands but... there are some and I hope these HP books opened their eyes to the joys of reading.

Mari-Nanci

Granny J said...

SnS -- I'm with you on the importance of leading youngsters to reading. No problem in my family, but then there were always books around and about. Me? I'm overwhelmed with books. Did a post about it back those many moons.

Mark in OC said...

I've listened to all the books on cd, (currently on #7). The narrator, Jim Dales drew me in. His reading is fantastic and he really brought the characters to life. Much better than the movies! Not too sure I would have gotten past the first few books if I just read them.

Granny J said...

oc marc -- the middle-aged dotter just got her copy of the final & stayed up most of last night to finish it. "It was good," she says. I'll bet that Brain, who is big on taped books, will be following your advice.

 
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