“It has been the worst break-up of my life – far worse than splitting up with any man,” Rowling said. “But it has also been wonderful to stop and draw breath and think, ‘My God, look what’s happened with an idea I had 17 years ago on a train’.”
Tag Archives: Harry Potter
Says Rowling in Time Magazine: “If, and it’s a big if, I ever write an eighth book about the [wizarding ] world, I doubt that Harry would be the central character,” she says. “I feel like I’ve already told his story. But these are big ifs. Let’s give it 10 years and see how we feel then.”
Missed this one back in July:
“This is the most important book in the history of literature,” wrote one man wearing a robe with moons and stars on it, who was clearly unable to conceal his enthusiasm for flying horses and magic dust. “I hope Lord Voldemort loses!”
Here’s Jim Dale reading at the Union Square Barnes & Noble Book Seven release party this past July.
I was very fortunate today to be invited by Scholastic to attend J. K. Rowling’s morning reading at Carnegie Hall. 1600 school kids were there, 40 kids from 40 schools. They were justifiably excited and so was I!
Rowling read the chapter in the final book where Harry said good-bye to the Dursleys. It was just very cool to hear her read live, her very own words. She’s a very good reader!
After that she answered a bunch of questions from kids. They were all excellent and sadly I didn’t take notes so you will have to rely on others for the details. One friend, GraceAnne DeCandido did take excellent notes and sent an excellent overview to the Leaky Cauldron. (In the second part of this post.) I’m sure there will be many more reports before long.
It was a thrilled to be there. I’m saving my golden ticket!
Alison Morris has an intriguing post about her weekend at Otherworld, a fantasy role-playing experience I had never heard of before. Sounds like great fun to me! While I’ve never been into role-playing games, I was a serious dress-up fantasy player as a kid and so Otherworld sounds more like that to me than rolling multi-faceted die around and following what the dungeon master tells me to do.
I personally think almost anyone would enjoy Otherworld, but it’s especially meaningful for readers to attend — to literally feel what it’s like to tumble down the metaphorical rabbit hole, not just imagine it. But the fantasy cloak of Otherworld seems to trip up even folks like me, readers of the occasional fantasy novel.
What is it about this genre that is so off-putting to so many people?
Okay. I’ll bite on this question. BHP* I was an avid fantasy reader and was puzzled as to why American elementary teachers disliked and even feared the genre so much. So when I was invited to write a book for teachers I said I wanted to do it on fantasy literature. Scholastic agreed and I wrote my first book, Fantasy Literature in the Elementary Classroom and later (PHP**) did a second edition called Using Beloved Classics to Deepen Reading Comprehension. (Titles in both cases NOT my idea, believe me:). My hope was to get elementary teachers to consider using this genre in their classrooms — I was frustrated that kids were being pushed to read and write realistically even when there was a solid group that wanted to read and write fantastically. Even today, many of the most important leaders in language arts instruction continue to push realistic books and the writing of realistic pieces over fantasy in classrooms. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that I suspect the fantasy genre is not personally appealing to those leaders.
Anyway, as soon as I saw Harry Potter take off in this country I suspected that we’d see a complete shift in American’s regard for this genre. And so it came to pass with fantasy now clearly the belle of the ball! That is, it is being published in masses, kids read it, and teachers have to consider it (even if they continue to prefer other genres in their own teaching).
In response to Alison’s question, I’d say firstly that there is a lot of really bad and really lame fantasy out there. And so, if you are adverse to the genre to start with and attempt half-heartedly to read a mediocre title your dislike is only going to be reinforced. Secondly, taste is important. If you like realistic fiction you may just not like going into other worlds. And if that is the case no fantasy book is going to work for you. Length is significant too — long books that require you to get to know a completely new world may not be your thing. No problem.
Fantasy is a huge kitchen-sink of a genre. There is the sort of fantasy that Otherworld is about — those books where authors have created completely different worlds, often called high fantasy. There are those that involve portals between our world and another. There are animal fantasies. There are those that involve magic in our world. And so forth and so on. Readers may go for some of these and not others.
So why is fantasy a tough sell to adults? Because there is a lot of dreck out there, it is a taste thing, and (this may not go down well) because many see it as a lesser, unliterary-like form.
*Before Harry Potter
**Post Harry Potter
Alison Lurie ranges broadly, writing novels and nonfiction for adults as well as literary criticism on a range of subjects. Her provocative essays on children’s literature have been published in collections such Boys and Girls Forever and Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups. And now she has weighed in on Harry Potter at The New York Review of Books.