Photo graciously borrowed from New York Magazine
I am not at all ashamed to say that I have given my last two weeks over to reading the first 6 Harry Potter books. I am nearly finished with The Half-Blood Prince and almost ready to take on the final tome, The Deathly Hallows. (Needless, perhaps, to say, I waited in line outside Barnes & Noble to get it at midnight on Saturday.)
When I say “not at all ashamed,” it is for one reason and one reason only: The books are positively awesome. The imagined world described is so rich and vivid that one cannot help but blow through 100 pages without noticing; the only time I realize how much I’ve read is when I have to stop and pee.
It is fascinating to see how the Harry Potter Universe unfolds; the first two books, with their simple and myopic scope, only hold the vaguest hint of the vastness that unravels with the plots of books three and four, and the coming of age story that comprises books five and six. And, like other writers of British light fiction before her (I intentionally use “light fiction” rather than “children’s literature”; not only are the books far longer than most children could focus on, but there are also many themes contained therein that even a sharp kid would not notice), there is much more to the Potter books than just the page-turner plots; Rowling addresses such themes as media influence and bureaucratic blundering, and uses a dazzling breadth of wordplay and allusion to illustrate her characters with ever-increasing detail.
As each book closes and you gently emerge from its impossibly gripping world, it is all you can do not to grab the next one from the shelf and start on it immediately.
(Editor’s note: Like all things magic, this mix won’t be around forever, so make sure you get it before it heads off into parts unknown.)
Pilot – “Magic”: mp3
Ben Folds Five – “Magic”: mp3
The Magic Numbers – “Love Me Like You”: mp3
The Majestic Arrows – “The Magic of Your Love”: mp3
Aphex Twin – “Logon Rock Witch”: mp3
The Who – “Pinball Wizard” (live at Woodstock): mp3
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