Saturday, November 20, 2010

November's books

#19, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone byJ.K.Rowling and #20, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

You might have noticed by days are slipping by too quickly!

I actually include Harry Potter #1 in lieu of the entire series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Okay, maybe except for the last book, because I completely thought D*#@&%*!e was actually alive and would return. Yes, that's how certain I was: ruined the final book for me. Truthfully, my favorites in the series are #3 Prisoner of Azkaban and #4 Goblet of Fire.

This series single-handledly made kids read again. And who isn't for that? Sure a bunch of cranks and sad people, but everyone else at least was happy boys were reading (!) and girls had significant roles in the stories without being all caught up in their haircare. Good stuff! Adults and kids could read it, and yes, it got quite dark towards the end (I was simply torn up by the end of #4! Shocked, as well!).

Rowling is, simply, a great storyteller. One who cares about her plot and characters, as well as the details of the world she creates. I admire her precision, imagination, and moral vision.

Personally, I either wanted my own wand (which one would choose me?) or to run the wand shop.

The Prince of Tides by Conroy is, in my opinion, his best novel. And, again, I read them all. From The Water is Wide, to The Great Santini, to The Lords of Discipline, in my opinion Conroy is one of the great novelists of his generation and of the American landscape in the 1960s and 1970s. Underappreciated, frankly.

Perhaps it is because his novels do not break new ground in terms of style or language. Conroy simply chooses to tell a compelling story with fascinating (if not always likable) characters. This novel moved me terribly, because it is about confronting the past, no matter what, in order to live. The movie stinks, turned into a vehicle for Barbra Streisand's ego. Ugh. The novel is lyrical, gorgeous, and naked.

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