Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter, RIP

I am clearly in my own universe now, having missed any opportunity to add to any discussion about Harry Potter (yeah, like there'll be no more chance of that ever again!). First, full disclosure: as was true two years ago, I will once again be up late Friday night to distribute some 300 copies of the last book. Why haven't you all killed me yet? Do you like watching me suffer?

That aside, I'm as bemused as Atrios by the comments Yglesias prompted with his original post on the subject of J.K. Rowling's work. Having made it into the Dr. Who Pantheon, I think her position in the world of English literature is secured. I'm especially bemused by the first comment Yglesias drew: "I believe pretty much no adult who reads the Harry Potter books reads other novels. Otherwise, why would they be reading Harry Potter books?"

Let's see: I've read all 6 Harry Potter books. And I just finished Trollope's Framley Parsonage, am still working through Proust's Geuermantes Way (the new Penguin translation is still fantastic!), and have wandered off for a moment to read Camus' The Plague, which is amazingly good, as opposed to terribly depressing, which is what I'd expected after reading The Stranger a few years ago.

I really don't understand snobbery at all, especially book snobbery. I love Lewis Carroll's work, as well as The Wind in the Willows, and one of my favorite novels of all time is still A Wrinkle In Time. Gulliver's Travels is really not a children's book, but at the same time, it is. And yet I find Camus' distinctly Gallic temperament (it's clear Proust and Camus come from the same culture) bracing, as well as enlightening about Flaubert's work, and a sharp contrast to both Trollope and Dickens. One funny thing is that the British publisher releases two editions of the Potter books: one with a dust jacket for the children, one with a dust jacket for adults. A guilty pleasure in Britain, I guess.

But I still enjoy Harry Potter; though I have to say, I'm not planning to plunge into Book 7 quite as rapidly as I did Book 6. I'll get around to it; and I know before I do I'll already know the ending. Which is too bad, really, but it can't be helped. I'm not going to rush through it just to obviate the inevitable spoilers.

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