Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More summer reading, and some Harry stuff

I've added a few more books to the sidebar since that last post, but it's true that my reading has slowed down a bit. We've had visitors to host, weddings to go to, kids to ferry...and then, I did re-read books I-VI of the Harry Potter series. Nick is within 100 pages of finishing his re-reading, too, which means it looks like he'll get the 7th book before Mariah. (I may have some trouble enforcing that...)

I've also been reading around some of the pre-Potter hype here and there (and contributing to it). This recent piece in Inside Higher Ed annoys me--why is it ok to write about Harry Potter without having read a single one of the books? I agree with McLemee that our job as educators is to introduce students to the world beyond "the familiar, the readily available, the comfortingly familiar"--one way to do that, as he surely knows, is to subject what seems familiar to close analysis, to study its pre-texts and sub-texts (as the students he's referring to quite obviously are doing), to read it against the grain. Teaching children's literature is one of the most rewarding teaching experiences I have, for precisely that reason: students learn to open their eyes and explore the strangeness in the world they've taken for granted.

I'm not staying up until midnight for the next book--I pre-ordered it months ago and will be happy to see it on my doorstep Saturday morning. (I am tempted by the party at BookPeople, though!) I haven't seen any of the films since the second one. I'm not dressing up as Luna Lovegood. But I'm not apologizing, either, for spending a chunk of my summer reading and re-reading Rowling, and I'll be taking a little break to speed through Book VII this weekend. How about you?


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  2. I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books, too. I just started Book 6 last night. It's put a real crimp into my other reading, and things like cleaning my house, but I am really enjoying it, too. And I think I'll get a lot more out of Book 7 this way.