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

Saturday, August 09, 2008

How I spent my Friday

So here I am at Terminus, and yesterday was a busy day. I took a long walk in the morning (waking up on Eastern Time when you're living in Central Time gives you these opportunities) then went to hear a talk on parenting in the Potterverse. I love when people don't think Mrs. Weasley is a model mom, I'm just saying.

Then lunch, where I heard the lovely and talented Cheryl Klein give a terrific talk about what we can learn (about writing) from the Harry Potter series. Turns out there's a lot, all about character development and plot and theme. Good stuff, and she's a great speaker.

I skipped out from the conference for a bit after lunch to see and hear John Green speaking at the Chicago Public Library, with his special guest, Hank Green! Nerdfighters galore! (There's a pretty large overlap between the Harry Potter fandom and Nerdfighteria.) John read from his forthcoming novel, Paper Towns (why has no one sent me an ARC of this yet?), and answered questions in his best "Question Tuesday" style. My favorite line from his answers: "having nerdy parents is a tremendous blessing." Are you listening, kids?

Then back to the conference for more talks, the best of which was a fascinating examination of Severus Snape as a character who is "coded feminine" -- that is, who occupies a position in the literature more typically occupied by a female character. Fun stuff.


  1. I so wish I was in Chicago right now. It sounds like a tremendous amount of fun!

  2. John AND Hank? What a treat! Way to be awesome.:)

  3. Jealous! Profoundly jealous, here. Both Green bros. at once!

    Also, that's a very interesting take on Snape. I'm gonna have to mull that over.

    How'd your own paper go?

  4. Sigh. I've been re-reading HP all summer, I think we're up to our fourth reading of book 3 for example, and I can hardly bear my disappointment with Rowling's editors in the final books. They seem now to stand as a testament to the dangers of a mania, and the inevitable damage done to literature when an author (and the marketplace) becomes too powerful for a strong editor to wield his or her scalpel on a good, but not great, submitted draft.

    Now I will always wonder what might have been, if only Rowling's last four books had been subjected to at least one more set of editor-guided revisions.