My eyes are bleary, my head aches, and I’m a bit of a grump. The culprit? Harry Potter. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing Harry...more My eyes are bleary, my head aches, and I’m a bit of a grump. The culprit? Harry Potter. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. My drive to finish the book wasn’t fanaticism—it was spoilers. I work in a library, and libraries are full of the kind of nerds who read Harry Potter and can’t wait to talk about it. I knew if I didn’t finish the book before work, it would be ruined for me.
Keeping this in mind, I will not ruin the book for anyone else. Instead, I’ll just make some general observations:
Library employees have been speculating for days (actually years) about what would happen in the book. They have reread the previous six books for clues. I did not participate in this speculation because I am lucky if I can even remember what I wore last week—let alone the intricate details of books I read years ago. However, many of their speculations were correct, so kudos to them. Like I mentioned before, I have little interest in moody teenagers, and this book abounds in them. There were several moments when I wanted to give both Harry and Ron a slap. They are on the most important journey of their lives and they act like petulant two year olds? Give me a break. I hate unnecessary epilogues. They detract from the integrity of a book. That is all I shall say. Just because she is a billionaire does not mean that J.K. Rowling does not need an editor. I may be drawn-and-quartered for saying so, but The Deathly Hollows was way too long. The book could have easily been half the length without sacrificing anything. In fact, chopping out all the unnecessary drivel would have made the book stronger. Do I have to know every single person who attends a wedding and what they are wearing? No. Another problem with making the book so long is that readers are rushed to get to the meat of the story and may lose out on important details in their hurry. Of course, none of my criticisms will stop anyone from reading the book. After all, if you are reading the seventh book, in all likelihood, you have also read the six books before it. Having made such a huge commitment, The Deathly Hollows could be the worst book ever, and everyone would still read it just to know what happens. It isn’t the worst book ever, and nothing could have stopped me from reading it either.(less)
This weekend, I visited Prague where Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the creator of the golem, is buried in the Jewish Cemetery.
My first introduction to...moreThis weekend, I visited Prague where Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the creator of the golem, is buried in the Jewish Cemetery.
My first introduction to the golem came when I read Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
My initial reaction is that this is a “guy” book. The two main characters, cousins Samuel Klayman and Joseph Kavalier, get involved in magic and comic books—two pastimes I associate with males. Despite not feeling a strong connection to the characters or their interests, the book is a valuable read for its historical context.
Joe escapes from Prague during the Nazi occupation. Unfortunately, the rest of his family was not so lucky. It wasn’t until reading this book that I was motivated to do further research on Jewish refugees in the United States. I was shocked and ashamed to discover the United States had refused entry to a ship carrying Jewish refugees, sending them all to their deaths back in Europe.
I was also fascinated by Joe’s involvement in magic, and Chabon gives away several magicians’ “secrets.” For example, Joe hollows out his cheek so he can hide keys there.
Although I found much of the subtext interesting, the book is overly long (656 pages) and, as I’ve mentioned, so male-oriented I often felt alienated as a female reader.
If you are interested in literature about WWII and the Third Reich, rather than read Kavalier & Clay, there are many other options available.(less)