Thursday, August 17, 2006

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Author: J.K. Rowling

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: Seriously, if you need a summary, you've been living under a rock or waiting for all seven to come out before starting.

The Take-Away: Rowling catches a lot of flack about her writing skills. She's been called a hack, talentless, and a bad writer (those are different, in case you didn't realize).

But she's managed to do something that no one else has -- kids read her books. They read other books because they've discovered the joy of reading.

Is her writing good? I like it. She twists some of the universal story lines that have run through books since CS Lewis and Tolkien were writing in coffee shops.

Are other writers better? Sure, but that's quite subjective. Or don't you recall some of the lessons that Robin Williams taught in Dead Poets' Society True worth of the English language can't be measured like a mathematical equasion.

What about Dumbledore and Snape? As much as I want to believe in the greater good and the best of human nature, I can't. Dumbledore is dead, otherwise Harry would still be frozen in the hallway, waiting for someone to release him. Snape had Dumbledore fooled.

What's different about Rowling is the media and publicity. Who doesn't want to hear that a mom on welfare (or the English equivalent) pulled herself out of the trenches and did something better for herself? If other writers had as good of a story, an angle, a pitch, to throw to the marketing department, it too would be exploited.

But they don't. Instead they work against a decaying system of print runs and sales numbers. Rowling has created a generation of readers. She's brought publicity and life to a previously dying genre. She's turned off some televisions.

Recommendation: Start at the beginning.

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