Friday, July 20, 2007

Potterthon runner passes out before finish line

Back in January, I decided I would read all the Harry Potter books before tomorrow (I'd only read 1 and 2 up to that point). I wanted to be able to read Deathly Hallows or whatever it's called with the rest of the world and not have the ending spoiled.

But having read Books 1 and 2, I wasn't very excited about this project. I rarely reread books, or for that matter, read more than one book by any given author EVER. No matter how much I enjoy the first book in a series, I rarely feel compelled for more than a few moments to read the rest.

Here's a list of authors I've read >1 novel by (forgive the preposition ending on):

Catherine Asaro
PC Cast
Neil Gaiman
John Irving
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Thomas Hardy
Robin D. Owens
Laura Anne Gilman (L)
Madeline L'Engle*
Christie Golden (L)
Anne Kelleher (L)
C.E. Murphy (L)
C.S. Lewis*
Jeff Mariotte*
Barbara Kingsolver
Stephen King
Tom Robbins
Carl Hiaasen
Tony Hillerman
Scott Westerfeld*
M.T. Anderson
Jostein Gaarder

The L's denote books in a Luna series (when I haven't read the author's non-Luna books), which probably shouldn't even count, since that's like rooting for the home team. The asterisks denote young adult/children's series, which probably also shouldn't count.

That's all I can think of. I'm not a glommer. I'm an anti-addict. There are too many wonderful authors out there to be discovered for me to spend all my time diving back into the same worlds again and again.

End digression. Back to Potter. I procrastinated until June before rereading Books 1 & 2, thinking I could read one a week for six weeks. Got through Book 3 on my Dallas trip and started 4 on my way home, thinking I could read one every two days for six days. Didn't finish it until Wednesday night. Went right downstairs and picked up Order of the Phoenix.

870 Pages! Holy Crap!!

So it just ain't happening. I'll be lucky to get to Book 7 by next weekend. I'll be lucky to read Book 5 without my hands cramping up into talons.

I could give up, but I like the darker direction the series seemed to be taking with Book 4. And I don't want to find out what happens through a spoiler in the newspaper or overheard in the checkout line (I don't work in an office, so the water cooler isn't an issue). I nearly throttled the person who told me what happened at the end of Stephen King's Dark Tower series before I'd had a chance to read it.

Plus, sometimes I'm a bit stubborn/obsessional about tasks I set out to do. Or so I'm told.

However, I don't feel like the Harry Potter series is one of the best I've ever read. Not even close. It's not nearly as engrossing or thought-provoking as Westerfeld's Uglies-Pretties-Specials trilogy, which I loved so much I bought the third installment in hardcover and will be there on the release date for Extras, the fourth in the trilogy (ha!).

How about you? How many of you will be spending your weekends with your noses in HP&tDH? How many could care less?

UPDATE: OK, I opened Order of the Phoenix while printing out a manuscript (if my printer doesn't have a babysitter it gets cranky) and was sucked in by page 8. The other four I thought opened too whimsically and cutesy. But dementors on Privet Drive? Now that's what I'm talkin' about! (Also, it's nice to see Harry be kind of a dick to Dudley.)

After I hand in the synopsis for The Reawakened today: Me. Couch. Potter. Lather, rinse, repeat.

A-Z Update: "Pigeon Farm" by Marcy Playground



I have no choice, I just finished my summer classes, I'm clerking for a law firm, I've read everything of yours I can find, (you must really write faster just to keep us happy), I just have time to read Harry Potter before classes start up again in August.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 7/20/2007 10:08 AM

I will be in line behind my wife and my oldest. I expect my wife will devour it (as usual) in under two days. After that I'll be waiting for my oldest to go to bed.

Posted by: Blogger Andrew at 7/20/2007 10:51 AM

I'm going to read the last HP but I'm going to buy in on Saturday and not Friday at midnight (despite the British man who reads the audio books calling my phone and telling me my book was in and I could get it Firday at midnight). I'll probably have it finished by the time the weekend is over. I hope.

Posted by: Blogger selkiewriter at 7/20/2007 12:16 PM

I'm a speed reader. I read book six, which is longer than five in one day so I'll be reading book 7 the moment I get it. But for you Jeri, a small warning. Book 5 is I think so far the hardest of the Harry Potter's to take. I had to stop midway and go back to it later. It's so dark. As I said in my blog, book 6 has the most shocking death, but book 5 is hardest to handle. Good luck.

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 7/20/2007 6:44 PM

I think HP is perfectly adequate ya fantasy. There's a lot of much better stuff out there, but the books are reasonably entertaining and won't boil any of my brain cells away never to be seen again. However, far and away the best thing about them is that they've created a generation of fantasy readers, and for that, I will happily buy the entire set in hardcover when it comes out in September, and read them all again. After staying up until 2:30 in the morning to buy book 7 last night. :)

I have not, though, read it yet, and won't until I finish revisions on the book I'm *writing*. :)


Posted by: Blogger Catie at 7/21/2007 6:51 AM

Personally I don't feel compelled at all to read the Harry Potter books. And it's for no other reason than the things I have heard from the fans. I find the 'hype' turns me off.

I went to the bookstore yesterday at 3 in the afternoon with my niece and there was already a line out the door waiting for the final installment of Harry Potter. I just don't get all the madness. I do go to see the movies when they come out but I've heard that the movies are somewhat of a disappointment when you read the books. I definitely couldn't see myself waiting outside of a book store for 9 hours.

So will I read the books? Possibly, in the future, in a boxed set, when the hype isn't so insane. I promised a friend I'd consider it after the movies were done and over with. I do enjoy the movies because they're fluff-fun and my niece begs me to take her. I just don't see the attraction or the insanity surrounding that particular series.

I'm sure if I were 8, like my niece, I'd be singing a different tune but parents and adults are equally ravenous over these books. I'm 25 and I'm curious as to what makes people act that way (one man had Rowling's signature tattooed to his arm!!!) but I have come to accept that it's a modern day fad and I'm glad it's 'over'. I'm tired of my friends begging me to read it :)

I apologize for being uncontrollably verbose about the subject. Eeek.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 7/21/2007 8:39 PM

Andrew's right, I devoured it in about a day.

On what you said about the darker turn- as the books go on, the stakes get higher, and the costs. But y'know what I really loved? Harry and the others grew up. Rowling really made Harry change and develop over time, and I respected that.

We have a family rule that says we cannot discuss the 7th book until we've all read it, and I plan to keep to that rule.

It's been tough to keep it.

Posted by: Blogger Sharon GR at 7/23/2007 3:34 PM

Sharon, you're right. I think that's why I like them more as they go along. She has a great "eye" for how kids change psychologically as they grow older.

I was afraid Harry's crankiness in book 5 was going to have some sort of magical cause. I'm glad it was just the logical progression of his character, because he's 15 and because he's been shaped by the terrible events he's undergone.

Kathy, it's too late for me to be shocked by the death in Book 6. That got spoiled years ago.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/23/2007 4:07 PM

And Catie, believe me, I realize that if it weren't for Harry Potter and Buffy and Lord of the Rings, I probably wouldn't have a career. So I'm deeply indebted to JK/JRR/Josh for their popularit.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/23/2007 4:08 PM

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