Sunday 6 January 2008


I can't believe I did a NY post about the weather and yet, that's all that came to mind in my determination to create a message, something, anything to mark the change of the calender year.

What I did on my hols was read, first a biography / autobiography of the man who wrote "Ring of Bright Water" written by his friend which was far more absorbing than the 50p I paid for it in the RSPCA shop would suggest, then Dr. Zhivago, one of those omissions in my literary experience I can't explain, a book that is so profoundly Russian I almost became annoyed. And what is it with the weather there? These charity shop bargains were succeeded by my Xmas present from my son and my ex, a complete hardback set of the Harry Potter books.

I held myself aloof from Harry Potter during his reign of the popular book market. I bought one copy of a book as a present for a niece who was underperforming in her reading, hoping it would provide inspiration and I think, during one of those 3 a.m. wakeful periods caused by excessive alcohol in a strange house, read two thirds of the first book before the dawn came and I could get a train home. It didn't strike me as worthy of much of a second glance but under those circumstances it's hard for anything to shine.

But I love a long read, and a seven volume light weight fantasy has its attractions for the individual hoping to lose themselves. I read these in seven days, and lost myself most satisfactorily. I don't find Harry or any of his fellow characters appealing - it could be said that this is actually the cleverest part of the writing - they are all sufficiently off putting to inhibit closely identifying with their characters (or maybe I'm just very odd) but this helps the story stay uncluttered. I did find myself wondering in the later books just how much JK was influenced by the expectation of the stories being converted into film.

So, not great, but nowhere near as bad as they might have been. I wish one day someone might say something like that about my writing.

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