Monday, March 16, 2009

My Heart Still Pines for Harry

So, Graphic Novel week isn't totally over-- I have a few more reviews to do. But, it's nonfiction Monday, so it's time for some nonfiction!

Do you remember the first time you read Harry Potter?

I do. I was going to tell you the story, but, well, it was really, really long. And probably boring to everyone who isn't me, so I deleted it.

As you are probably aware, I am a massive Harry Potter geek. Last Friday morning I was in a sad mood. To snap out of it, I made a pot of coffee and starting blasting wizard rock. I instantly felt better. I am the Queen of Harry Potter trivia on Facebook, and have read the books and seen the movies way too many times.

So, I was excited to read Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon Melissa Anelli (webmistress of Leaky Cauldron.)

You have to love a book with phrases such as this: Bellatrix Lestrange, the Death Eater who made Lady Macbeth look like June Cleaver. (page 80)

This is a history of how Harry came to be and how he changed the world, and how a the rise of Harry and the rise of the Internet came together to create an unheard of fan response. Fan sites, conferences, a music genre and more fan fiction than any other story, and all for a series that was still being worked on.

With the exception of some good background journalism in the publication history of the series, This isn't a book to analyze the series, but rather to analyze the fans. Why did they gravitate towards it? Why did they form such a community? What are the facets of the community? Why did we go so insane? And just how delicate is that balance between fan love and copyright legal issues? (Very, very, very fine)

Did you know that Harry and The Potters didn't write the first wizard rock song? Nope. They might be the first wizard rock band, but the band that wrote the first wizard rock song? That would be Switchblade Kittens. (Their latest release, Rebel Princess, is all about books by Meg Cabot.)

An excellent book for the total Harry nerd. I am amazed at how much Harry really did change children's literature. Yes, I knew he got kids reading, I knew he kick-started fantasy back up. And while I knew that the length of the later novels opened the door for other longer novels to be published for kids, I didn't know that Sorcerer's Stone was twice as long as what publishers were looking for in those days. Now, it's a totally normal length.

Have your books ready, because I know that when Anelli would discuss a scene, I had to go reread it. My geeky heart was well-satisfied by this.

I leave you with this quotation:

He [Barry Cunningham, who acquired Sorcerer's Stone at Bloomsbury] knew what he wanted: books children hugged, books they loved, books that made them feel like the author was their best friend. Not the books that were prevalent at the time, "books dominated by 'issue,' or 'problems,' which were very popular with teachers and adults but I felt didn't have the sense of fantasy and adventure that children really responded to." (page 45)

(emphasis is all mine)

Nonfiction Monday round-up is over at L. L. Owens!

1 comment:

BookMoot said...

You know, I was just thinking the other day how much I missed Harry. I felt that pull that tugged at me in between books. I want to know how he is doing. What is going on with him and all the gang.

I'm going to have to get this book.