Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Byatt v. Rowling

A.S. Byatt takes a clear eyed look at Harry Potter's literary merit, which is minimal. (New York Times)
Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, "only personal." Nobody is trying to save or destroy anything beyond Harry Potter and his friends and family.
She sees the appeal for children, and doesn't fault the books for that... but takes to task adults who should know better. Read the whole piece here.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Storytelling Articles Online

Stumbled across Questia via a Google ad. At first I thought it was a bookstore. Then I clicked on the links and realized it was all content. Online content. It's an online library. Check out their articles on storytelling... Holy Moses! They even have the entire work of Annette Simmon's The Story Factor available. (Doug Lipman's review here or Questia's online version here) (I know Annette is getting her work out there any way she can... if you have the patience to read all 250 pages of her book online, be my guest. Me, I'm happy to plunk down the $16.95 to hold it in my hands.) Reading online gives me a headache. Here's the catch: you only get to see the first page of each chapter for free... to read the whole thing online, you have to subscribe. $9.95 a month for an annual, or $19.95 by the month. Might be worth it for a student.