Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Off the Bookshelf and On the Reading Table

Here's what I'm reading these days:

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach: A Novel. New York: Doubleday, 2007.

Michael Chabon. The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.

Bill Kirchner, ed. The Oxford Companion to Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

What I will also be reading this coming Saturday:

J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.

Yes, I know, I know. I am, indeed, a proud Harry Potter junkie.

Anyway, your thoughts on any or all of these works are welcome. And I'm also always open to some good recommendations.


Simulacre said...

Hey Huck,

How are you reading the Harry Potter book? I have to wait until midnight Friday before I can get my copy! I don't think you're in anything close to a minority when it comes to Potter - most people I know (who are readers) have read the series and thoroughly enjoy it.

Sorry I didn't post yesterday...It was my wife's birthday and she wasn't too keen on the idea of me spending it on the computer!

I did start the piece and I'll put on the main page once I'm done with it...I'll drop you a line when I finish it and you can check it out.

Huck said...

simulacre - Thanks for visiting. Regarding Harry Potter, if you'll notice, I said that I will be reading it this coming Saturday! That doesn't mean that I have the book now, but that I will have it on Friday at midnight and will be reading it on Saturday. I'm not that special enough to be able to acquire a bootleg copy before the pre-determined distribution date!

And, hey, birthdays with spouses are MUCH more important than essays on blogs. I am a very patient man, so I am happy to wait until you are ready to post to read your next essay. No rush, but please do let me know when it's done so that I can make sure to check it out.

Simulacre said...

I'm ready to make my midnight dash tomorrow night and will likely have the thing read by Sunday...I'm a bit compulsive when I have a book I like and the Potter series definitely qualifies! Did you catch the latest movie?

Since you like Potter, have you read the Pullman series: His Dark Materials? If you haven't read them, I highly recommend them. They're similar to the Potter books in that the protagonist is a precocious child. They're very good reads with interesting and well developed characters and he's created a cool environment. Pullman does a good job backing up his universe with (quantum) science theory and his story is very captivating.

I'll definitely let you know when I finish the essay - I'll be very interested to hear your take where we diverge in our opinions on the Iraq affair...

President Friedman said...

Currently reading or about to be reading:

Telegraph Days- Larry McMurtry

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside - by Katrina Firlik

Shadow Of An Indian Star - By Bill and Cindy Paul (actually re-reading this one for about the 5th time)

Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline
by Lisa Margonelli

Wealth Shift: Profit Strategies for Investors as the Baby Boomers Approach Retirement by Christopher Brooke

President Friedman said...

I've read the first Harry Potter book, but am waiting until my daughter gets a bit older to finish the series. Always thought it would be cool if we could read them together. Maybe it'll even work out... (you know what they say, God laughs when you make a plan).

Huck said...

simulacre and P_F: Thanks for the recommendations for book reads. I'll be sure to check them out.

P_F: I admire your waiting on the HP series to be able to read with your daughter. My wife and I, though we thought to do the same, couldn't resist. So, my oldest daughter, who is a voracious reader, we only allow to read one HP book a year. She is growing up with and growing into them as her maturity level rises. We thought this best because the books get darker as they progress. She just turned 9 and she just finished the third book in the series. And, for now, we only let her watch the movies one year after she reads the books. In a way, it's not fair to her since my wife and I forge ahead; but it seems to be working out o.k. with her. We may change the rules as she grows up depending on how she matures; but it is what it is in our household.

My wife and I went on a rare "date" last night without the kids, who stayed with the grandparents, to watch the new Harry Potter flick. My wife liked it a lot. Me, not as much as I liked the last one. But we have enjoyed the HP series, both books and movies, immensely.

President Friedman said...

Thanks for the feedback on HP. The progressively darker nature of the books is something I have heard a lot of talk about, and it sounds like you guys found a good way to work around that. I wouldn't worry about the fairness of it, that's one of the most gratifying things about parenthood; you are the final arbiter of 'what is fair'! *insert evil laugh here*

"My wife and I went on a rare "date" last night without the kids"

Congrats on this. My wife and I live close to a lot of family, and we all take turns watching eachother's kids every few weeks to insure that all moms and dads get to go on a date (or enjoy a silent house) at least once a month. Most of the time we opt for the 'silent house' over the 'night on the town'. It has been great for our marriage.

Don_cos said...

I prepaid for the book, so I only have to go pick it up Saturday. However I will need to tie up my two oldest boys and lock them in the closet until I finish it!

The funny thing is that it was a Navy Chaplain who was trying to convince people to not read it, that got me started. he was repeating rumors that he had been told. So I decided to find out if it were true. It wasn't. He meant well, but didn't check the facts himself. I ended up hooked!

Simulacre said...


That's pretty much why I picked them up...I wasn't going to bother until a priest at church told the congregation not to read the books...

You would think by now, religious leaders would know better than to tell people to 'not' read's only going to make people want to read it all the more!

At least Christians don't issue fatwas against authors of books they disagree with...

Huck said...

don_cos & simulacre: The irony of such kinds of mandates from religious leaders is that someone has to read the books in order to be informed enough to know whether or not to discourage the flock from reading them. I have a number of reactions to ministers/priests when they do this. First, I am always somewhat insulted that they presume to know better (or can know better) than I as to what constitutes appropriate reading. Second, I get put out that they seem to think that it is somehow o.k. for them to read controversial books. And third, I get especially huffy if they haven't read the book, and yet still presume to tell me that I shouldn't on the basis of some secondhand reaction.

I know that most are well-intentioned, but I'd rather that they restricted themselves to doing their jobs in the pulpit in interpreting the meaning of scripture, and then let us decide on what is appropriate to consume in our culture as opposed to what is not based on the meaning of scripture they provide.