Monday, July 18, 2005

An offer for J. K. Rowling

I just got back from the airport with Number Two Son, who spent the weekend with his brother at a tres-hip indie-rock music festival in Chicago. I scored a cafe latte from Caribou on the way home, so now I'm all set to proofread and post this blog entry, which I had just finished writing when I realized I was running fifteen minutes late to pick up the kid.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was about to launch my first-ever Harry Potter post into the blogosphere. Much as it pains me.

Whenever I hear a bandwagon roll down the street I tend to step back and shake my head as people rush past me. Then I turn up my collar and walk in the opposite direction. Yes, I'm contrary. So when everybody loves a thing I am sure to be profoundly uninterested.

I've never read a Harry Potter book. They might be very good literature; I'm in no position to say, as I've never so much as picked up a book to peruse the back-cover copy. Maybe I'll get around to reading one someday, but for now I'm sick of hearing about Harry Potter. People, can't we find something else to talk about?

Apparently not. Check out today's The Book Standard, one of the regular stops in my daily hunt for interesting booky bits to blog about. On the home page there are links to nine featured news articles. I didn't dare click on any of them because six of the nine articles are about Harry Potter. Scroll down the page to the Resources section and you'll find that even the Book Babes have succumbed to Pottermania. Will this never end?

I uttered a very unladylike snort and clicked away from the site. On my next stop I came across yet another mention of Harry Potter, but this one actually interested me. was reporting on an interview J. K. Rowling gave a couple of days ago in which she indicated she might be very interested in writing future books under a pseudonym:
"A fake name is very attractive," Rowling said. "I'll have less pressure and I can write any old thing I want and people won't be clamoring for it and that might be nice."

Oh, yeah. That's every writer's dream, isn't it? To write any old thing without having to worry about people clamoring for it. Right. I sure don't want any pesky readers clamoring for my books. No, siree.

Hey, does anybody have J.K.'s phone number? I was just thinking maybe I could give her a call and offer to let her use my name for a while.

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Anonymous said...

HEy Brenda,
does this mean that the ones who hang round here alot can't leave a comment?
if so just void this one :P
j from m

Anonymous said...

I tend to be like you, Brenda. I pooh-pooh the bandwagons. I didn't buy Oprah books just cause they were Oprah books. I tend to ignore the "bestsellers" area in B&N, preferring to look around at the other stuff and see if I find my own treasure. Never read Bridges of Madison County when everyone seemed to have a copy. I did buy Hawking's book (Brief History...), but I was in an astronomy association at the time, so I bought it cause it was HAWKING and not cause it was selling hotcakes. :)

So, for several years, I totally ignored Harry Potter. It didn't help that there was this massive debate going on around message boards and on the Christian listservs I'm on. One, an apologetics listserv, actually had TWO people who'd written articles for journals or BOOKS on why Harry Potter was evil/good. Sheesh.

Then I saw the films. I had such a fun time watching the films, that last year, I bought the first couple of books. Blammo. I am now a HP fan. I was there at midnight Friday AT B&N to get my pre-ordered copy--with hubby alongside, who isn't a Potter reader, he's just not into fiction, but who happily broswed amidst the kids in black-rimmed faux glasses and trivia contests.

Some bandwagons are just, well, justified. These are really fun reads. FUN reads. I'm a jaded reader. It takes a lot to get me hooked. I"ve left, in the last four years, probably more than a hundred books left with only chapter one read. Too many are predictable. Too many are dry. Too many are , frankly, dumb. Too many are lacking FUN.

I don't see the spiritual danger in these books some do (although I'd never tell a parent to just hand a very young child these books without knowing if the kid can understand fantasy versus reality). But I "get it" when it comes to why so many are rabid. They give me rousing good time, they make me want so bad for Harry to overcome his weaknesses and get his HEA (which he may or may not). I like JK's humor. I like that she lets it get very dark indeed. And I like Harry and his pals. Very much.

And I keep thinking: Instead of complaining do darn much, why don't these Christian authors write me a series as compelling, rich, funny, scary, sad, and FUN as HP. I'd buy it. I'd be there at midnight. (And no, Narnia won't cut it. I'm talking an author TODAY, with the sensibility of our times.)

So. There. I confess it. I'm a Potterhead. :)

(NOTE: Brenda, thanks so much for sending me a "snazzy" pen. Unfortunately, it cracked in transit. THe USPS does not, apparently, appreciate purple and gold as I do.)

Mir the Muggle

Anonymous said...

PS: I wonder how many books appeal to such a wide audience. I stood in line behind a very nice pair of boys, the eldest, probably around 17, had what I call "Peru" coloring--black hair, a particular brown of the skin that is gorgeous, very handsome and very polite and trilingual. The youngest was about 10. Behind me was a woman who was of a certain age and had Irish coloring, and behind her stood a fella who had clearly been enjoying his retirement for at least a decade or more and had the accent that screamed "NY Jewish" background. I'm 45 and Latina and Protestant. The people on line ran the gamut, from very, very young to the very old, from dark to light, and from trendy to staid.

And we were all there for the same book.

I find that rather cool.


Heather Diane Tipton said...

I got my lovely pen, Brenda. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between a bandwagon and a phenomenon.

Brenda Coulter said...

Anonymous, I hope you don't think I'm disparaging the H.P. books or those who read them. I just wanted to explain why I'm so tired of hearing about them.

Sorry, Mir--I mailed the pens in a batch and as I was shoving envelopes into a mailbox, I noticed that some of them felt different. I believe there were four envelopes that I just stuck the pens in without bubble-wrapping them. Dumb.

Please send me your address again and I'll shoot you a replacement pen. You can keep the cracked one for gnawing on and save the other for "best." ;-)

Brenda Coulter said...

Oops, I forgot Heather. You're welcome, sweetie.

Does anyone else want a snazzy purple pen? E-mail me and give me your U.S. address and I'll pop one in the mail to you.


Anonymous said...

Just popping in to report that my hubby, the anti-fiction guy, has asked me TWICE in the past couple of days to read to him from HP 6. He's been fed two chapters.

I find it very sweet and encouraging that one day he'll read a novel TO HIMSELF hahahahahah. (Off to check where his book is ranked at


SpyderB0y said...

OK, I just wandered in here via another link, and I’m curious about your comment:

Whenever I hear a bandwagon roll down the street I tend to step back and shake my head as people rush past me. Then I turn up my collar and walk in the opposite direction. Yes, I'm contrary. So when everybody loves a thing I am sure to be profoundly uninterested.

So, are you saying that if you lived in Boston and even though you are not a baseball fan and the home team wins the World Series for the first time in 85 years you would still not get excited? If everyone in the country got into a health food kick and kicked smoking in record numbers you would intentionally go in the other direction to endanger your health? If all of your friends were talking about the number one movie in the country or this blazing hot band called the Beatles you would still turn a blind eye and a deaf ear towards the event SIMPLY BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE LIKED IT?

Gotta tell you — that that attitude is worse than those folks who follow a band, author, or trend for years then when the person or persons finally finds an audience and gets famous “overnight” you simply abandon them with a “They were much better before they got famous, and now they are sellouts,” smirk.

Me, personally? I’m not a big Harry Potter fan, but not simply because everyone else does seem to like him. I’m not just because I’m not. (I personally prefer my heroes to wear spandex and have snazzy-sounding names, but that’s just a holdover from my teenaged, adolescent years). I mean, I like the HP films and all, and will continue to go and see them (but I do also simply like going to the movies). However to purely not like something just because others do like it is quite possible the worst form of elitist prejudice that exists.

But again, that could just be me.

Brenda Coulter said...

You appear to have read an awful lot into my offhand comment, Spyder. But thanks for visiting my blog.