I read this series (or novel in 3 parts) for the first time when I was 30. Six years later, it is just as atom-splittingly astounding. I don't know hoI read this series (or novel in 3 parts) for the first time when I was 30. Six years later, it is just as atom-splittingly astounding. I don't know how anyone under the age of 25 can read this series and not become incapacitated with wonder. I'm just barely holding on. The warning CS Lewis rebuffs in his essay 'On Fairy Stories,' that children who read fantasy stories may come to resent the real world for not being magical, could possibly be true in the case of reading His Dark Materials. If you don't finish it longing to know the shape, name and voice of your daemon, then you may have read the wrong book. What's more likely is that by the last page, you DO know the shape of your daemon, and a great deal more.
"His Dark Materials" is both ethically disruptive and profoundly moral, fanciful and incisive. For a novel that has accurately been called atheistic, no book may be as concerned with or attuned to the human soul: what it means to have one and what it would mean to lose it. The same can be said for what it means to have a body. It affirms body AND soul, matter AND spirit, doing so with deep reverence, awe and again, wonder.
Take for given that the story holds all the adventure, imagination, and color you would expect to find in the best-told children's stories, and still, the story goes deeper and farther into the complexity of human ambition, bravery, and desire than any book you'd typically find for readers under 18. It is, unequivolocally, an adult book. And because it respects its characters' frailities, longings and fears, whether they are 12 years old or 76, the book bestows that same respect on its readers, whatever their age. Which is why I know I'll be reading it many more times throughout the years to see if it will shatter me again with its hopeful envisionsings of connection, the valor of vulnerability, and our endless capactity to love more than we think we can- ourselves, our fellow persons, and our universe.
Seriously. How do adolescents survive the blinding glory of this book? ...more
I was surprised, finally sitting down with Rowling's extra-textual contrbution to the Wizarding World (before Pottermore, that is), to discover an absI was surprised, finally sitting down with Rowling's extra-textual contrbution to the Wizarding World (before Pottermore, that is), to discover an absolute gem. Though very short, just 5 tales plus notes, as an offering of wizarding world folktales ostensibly documented by a 17th century wizard, then translated by Hermione Granger and annotated with exegetical notes by Albus Dumbledore, 'Tales from Beedle the Bard' is Rowling's commentary on a midrash of her own scripture. And this concise wizarding midrash confirms what I've long felt--that it is character and world-building, rather than narrative, which Rowling does best. In five short tales, Rowling introduces and expands new wizarding histories, philosophies, and personalities with precision and simplicity-- qualities often lost in the inflated latter texts of the Harry Potter series. But just as compelling and enjoyable are the way she employs Dumbledore as interpeter and apologist for the origins and meanings of how these (fictional) stories of communal memory have formed wizarding identity. (I was also very appreciative to finally receive an explanation of what the term 'warlock' means in a reality where 'witch' and 'wizard' appear to denote gender rather than craft). If the creativity, ambiguity, and organic quality of these tales and their imagined commentary are any indication of what Rowling's non-Potter/Hogwarts wizarding world narratives such as the upcoming 'Fantastic Beasts' film and 'Cursed Child' stage drama will be like, then I am ready to be impressed. ...more
As the introduction by Mark Sexton explains, these collected prelude comics of Mad Max: Fury Road are not a marekting export thrown together post-popuAs the introduction by Mark Sexton explains, these collected prelude comics of Mad Max: Fury Road are not a marekting export thrown together post-popularity of the film. They are stories developed by George Miller and his collaborators over the decade-plus period of developing the film, and are the backstories used by the actors to build their performances. And if there's a concern that you'll lose some of the mysetry behind these characters who get thrown together in the midst of chaos, have no fear. The stories take you deeper into the world but not for the sake of answering questions. If anything, they open up new ones. And though they are prequals, there is definitely material introduced here that points to what may come next- and it's compelling. The comics are beautifully/viscerally drawn and are as insightful and disruptive as the film. Oustanding. ...more