(7/9/00 1:35:11 pm)
|A Wolf at the Door|
Note for Terri--
Today I was searching bookstores for new and unusual additions to my library along with grabbing some of the texts mentioned on the board and I saw an endcap that promoted books for people that enjoyed the Harry Potter books. "A Wolf at the Door" was right in the middle of about 6 to 8 featured books. I just thought you might be interested. I grabbed a copy and then I succumbed to curiousity and bought the first Potter book in soft cover. I can't imagine what all of the fuss is about but it's bringing people into bookstores and that I can appreciate.
Congratulations on finishing your book.
(7/11/00 2:04:46 pm)
|Welcome Back Potter |
(sigh, another long day, another corny pun)
I was the same way when I first heard of the first Harry Potter
book- there were signs all over this little bookstore in NH saying
"Harry Potter is finally here!" and I thought, "Who's
Harry Potter? What's he done?" I saw the covers and didn't
think too much of it. Then the giant craze started- religious groups
saying it's evil because it speaks of witches and wizards and spells,
bans in some states, etc. I picked up the softcover and it was pretty
good- not the best I've ever read, but interesting, creative, in
the Roald Dahl sense I think. And for an instant, it was getting
children to read! Then the next 2 came out (which my parents bought
me for Christmas without my prompting) and it started all over again!
Now movies are being discussed (here's an article in Publisher's
and controversy over Amazon guaranteeing delivery on July 8th www.publishersweekly.com/...7846.asp)-
Amazon even has a Harry Potter store! It's hard to say when it's
a good thing or a bad thing, the craze, and this time I think it's
(7/11/00 3:31:18 pm)
|Re: Welcome Back Potter |
Wow, is there really such a
fuss? Here we have the posters in the book stores and the books
are popular, but nothing like what you describe. Perhaps marketing
doesn't have its teeth embedded quite as securely in the skin
of this country. Although they did have these empty cardboard
Harry Potter display boxes standing in shop windows, waiting pensively
to be filled. At least it's better than pokemon!
Yesterday I saw a brief segment
from an American TV show (I think- I only saw a minute) and a
professor was theorising that the Harry Potter books are so popular
because they're the so- called real world cubed. He claimed the
books presented children with existential dilemmas and solutions-
a very Bettelheim style argument.
(7/11/00 4:09:34 pm)
I haven't read the Rowling books,
but my roommate and one of my best friends are hooked on the Potter
books. We're in our early 20's and they are both voracious readers,
so there must be something there. I've been avoiding them myself
because I have a thing for "children's" books and I'm
not sure I wish to become addicted to yet another neverending series.
The IAFA e-list spent weeks discussing the merits and flaws of the
series, and people generally went one of two ways: 1. Great youthful
fantasy in the greatest tradition or 2. Bland rehashing of types
and tropes, all hype. I think the crucial point is, however, the
READING. Even if it is "just a rehashing of the same old stuff"
(and all the usually negative connotations over lack of "originality")
the fact that the craze is about a book is certainly encouraging.
I'd rather spend my time hunting down Harry Potter than the White
(7/12/00 2:34:39 am)
What about the Chronicles of Narnia? I don't mind being addicted to those.
(7/12/00 5:21:10 am)
So I will date myself and say the Pottermania craze is just another wave in publishing. Despite the numbers, which are huge, I clearly remember a similar phenomena thirty years ago when Tolkien hit the states. I went to highschool with kids who were fluent in "elvinish" and wrote each other letters in the old script. It was huge, huge, huge back then. Though time will tell if prestigious libraries snatch up Rowling's original papers for their collections and write endless dissertations on her work or credit her with reviving an entire genre of literature.
As a writer I am both happy for Rowling and really annoyed. I think of all the really great childrens authors who have been around forever, written solid books their whole careers and never gotten treated to such huge sums of money and hype. And so many other great authors waiting in the wings, getting paid very little because their work, while wonderful isn't part of this suddenly popular trend.
(7/12/00 4:12:25 pm)
I didn't get into Tolkien, but I was very much a Narnia babe. The interesting thing about Tolkien and the Narnia books, though, is that they're still very much a publishing phenomenon, filling shelves and shelves in book stores, their characters and landscapes adorning diaries, bokkmarks, etc, etc. I wonder if the Potter books will have that kind of longevity. I've not read them so I can't really comment.
(7/13/00 8:07:08 am)
|Potter and Wolf at the Door|
I'll jump in and say I hope the new fad for fantasy will rub off and increase sales for Wolf at the Door and some of the other new books on the shelves. I noticed fantasy books are getting more shelf space in the young adult area at least.
I've read all the Potters and have really enjoyed them. I went in kicking and screaming against the fury, convinced that they were going to be on the same level as Goosebumps. Fortunately, they are not. And while I wasn't convinced that the kids were reading Goosebumps during that particular craze, I know the kids are reading Potter. There were several children lugging the new one around with them on the airplane. I swear that book is almost as big as some of the kids reading it. And once they have finished it, they will feel that almost any book can be read and conquered due to its thickness. I remember feeling that way after finishing Little Women and Gone With the Wind many years ago. The kids are not intimidated by this book, only thrilled that they get so much Harry.
The funny thing for me is that I can hardly remember the plots of the four books, but I remember the characters and the places. These stories are not really plot driven the way Goosebumps and other kids books are. The big appeal, in my humble opinion, is entering a world that is fun and interesting with good characters as companions, just like Narnia, Middle Earth and even George Lucas' "In a galaxy, far, far away." For that reason, I think the books will endure the media frenzy.
I have a few criticisms of the book, such as the negative stereotypes in a few female characters and the emphasis on Dudley's weight, but overall I am glad that a decent book has hit high popularity. It was refreshing to see about 100 kids up way past their bed time, eager to start reading a new book.
Now if only more authors could get this chance...
(7/13/00 11:00:36 am)
|Fantasy on the shelves|
I've noticed it here in New England-
more so during my trip to New Hampshire last week. The Village Book
Store in Littleton, NH www.booksmusictoys.com/
had an entire display set up with books about wizards, fairies,
princes and princesses, Camelot, etc. Harry Potter wasn't in the
vicinity even in poster form, but was at the counter and there was
a cardboard display with puzzles for kids to take and solve by the
stairs between the floors (kids section was downstairs with it's
own door). I hope this trend keeps up and allows for the older children
(ie teens, "YA", and adults) to find newer and exiting
tales as well, such as Spindle's End (I'm almost ready to talk about
it- writing and rewriting a review now)! Perhaps that will happen
with the release of the Lord of the Rings films...