books, books, books, and films

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I have just re-read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (the fifth Harry Potter book). It is such a good read – and long, at over 700 pages – with lots of action and excitement. But JK Rowling portrays such annoying gender roles at times which I find really grating. The two main male characters, Harry and Ron, are hopeless at relating to girls and talking about their feelings, and the main female character, Hermione, often has to explain to them what is going on in the world of emotions/girls. It seems so outdated and unnecessary. But I look forward to when the film of this book comes out – the next Harry Potter film – sometime this year.

I also plan on reading the sixth book again soon, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. I came to the books kinda late and I’ve found a number of people who read each book as it came out, were disappointed with the last one (number 6). Incidentally, you can place an order for the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, on Amazon, even though it hasn’t even been finished yet! I did read though that JK Rowling has had the last chapter of the book written for some time. They’re interesting and fun books, and I enjoy reading them but their settings are by no means original! They draw on so many other books – Dianna Wynne Jones’ books about Christopher Chant, all the English books about adventures at boarding school (I’ve been told to check out the Mallory Towers books to see similarities) and I’m sure there are plenty of others too.

Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci books about Christopher Chant are great (well, to be honest, I’ve only read two of the books!). She also wrote Howl’s Moving Castle!

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**Barry just reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic – comics about a boy wizard.**

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In other books-to-film news, I read yesterday (on boingboing) that Neal Stephenson’s book The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, is being made into a six-hour television mini-series, to be produced by George Clooney.

[photopress:diamondage.jpg,thumb,pp_image] I’m halfway through the book and stopped reading it because it is such heavy-going (or rather, I didn’t stop reading it, I just got distracted by other, easier-to-read books – I generally have many books on the go at once). I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and while I did enjoy the story, it was also slow-going. I like cyberpunk scifi but I just generally don’t find it easy to read at all (William Gibson’s books ditto!). The Diamond Age has really interesting ideas, and lots of cool stuff going on, I just don’t find it that relaxing to read! I hope I get to see the mini-series at some point. And I hope they do a good job.

Books I am reading at the moment:

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The Death of Faith by Donna Leon – a crime thriller set in Venice, lent to me by Paul’s Mum as it gives a good feel for Venice and we’re going there for a day after our week of skiing!

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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers – an autobiographical account of his life in his early twenties taking care of his younger brother after their parents both died of cancer. He is the editor of the McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern journals, of which I’ve bought (and enjoyed) two (Issues 13 and 20).

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White Teeth by Zadie Smith – part of my ‘let’s read books set in London while i live here’ project. Zadie Smith is speaking at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) next week but I’ll miss it as I’ll be in Italy!

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Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee. I bought this after watching the film, the Hours on telly and deciding I needed to know more about Woolf’s life.

Then there’s the two books I bought from Amazon which arrived yesterday:

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Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

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Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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