Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter

I was intrigued at the very elaborate scheme that the publisher of Harry Potter, Scholastic Corp. is using to distribute that last book in this series. Retailers can only sell the books at midnight, July 20. The books will arrive by Fedex just before the sale time. Fedex has an elaborate logistic in place to make sure this happens and those individuals who pre ordered the book will receive them July 21 and not before. In spite of this, early copies have been sent out, they have appeared for sale on ebay and can be read on the internet. Amazon has received 1.6 million pre orders while Barnes and Noble has 1.3 million. I'm glad kids all over the world are reading.
It is, to my memory, an English tradition to produce writers of children's fiction like JK Rowling. Somehow they have it in their genes to be able to write for children. I remember my own favorite English children's writer, Enid Blyton. I remember her and her books very fondly. When I was growing up, I devoured them, starting with the Noddy books when I was very young and graduating to the Famous Five as I grew older. Of course we must not forget the Secret Seven and Mallory Towers, America has her Nancy Drew, till today I'm unfamiliar with American literature. Growing up in a British colony, I was raised on English literature.
Recently I tried to obtain a few of these books of my childhood for my American nieces. I want to inculcate in them an appreciation of English writers. One of them liked the Mallory Towers' series but I can't get the complete series, I'm missing one in the series. They're out of print and I can't find it on either. We have scoured the bookstores in London but to no avail. They don't stock Enid Blyton's books anymore, the young clerk has never heard of Enid Blyton, the older clerk knew what I was asking for. I want my nieces to read good and wholesome books. The fact is, to my utter dismay, this 13 year old discovered Michela Kinsella's 'Shopaholic' series and fell in love with it and throughout our trip to London, Amsterdam and Brussels last year, she had her nose in one of the 'Shopaholic' books the whole time.
Of course, I've always enjoyed Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, EM Forster, Charles Dickens, Dodie Smith, CS Lewis and Tolkien. I must give Tolkien a lot of credit for his portrayal of a very strong woman in 'The Lord of the Rings'. I hate books and movies that portray women as weak, fickle and stupid. I don't watch 'I love Lucy'.
While I did read (and enjoyed) the 'Shopaholic' series with this 13 year old on our trip to Europe, I was more impressed with the author, Michela Kinsella. She quit her job as a banker to write- and very successfully too.

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