Friday, January 29, 2010

Time Capsule: 1820

January 1820: 190 years ago this month, the John Keats poem, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” was first published. The five stanzas that make up the well-known verse include such lines as:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Goreyana: The Mummy, The Will, and the Crypt

Notes from Goreyana about The Mummy, The Will, and the Crypt:
I own the original watercolor artwork for the cover portion of the dust jacket. This watercolor is very painterly with its stormy night sky, and I really like the use of opaque watercolor for the snow and lightning. The touch of red in Johnny's jacket plays nicely against Mr. Gorey's "mushroom colors" in the rest of the painting.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thoughts on the Conventional Harry Potter

Some comments by Glenden Brown at OneUtah

"If the setting of Harry Potter is essentially and uniquely English, the themes are nevertheless present in almost all children’s literature. It seems strange to say, but Rowling’s novels are almost stultifying conventional – Harry is instantly lovable, as are Ron and Hermione, and Malfoy and his gang are instantly dislikable. Dumbledore may be slightly eccentric but he safely so. With few exceptions, Rowling’s world is unambiguous. Good guys are good, bad guys are bad. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is far less conventional, as is The Mixed up Files of Basil E Frankweiler or almost any Judy Bloom novel; The Egypt Game is another children’s book that is notable for its unconventional approach; even John Bellairs, a relatively safe writer, creates more eccentric and unusual characters than Rowling. For all their merits – and easy readability – the first three Harry Potter novels do not push any boundaries or break new ground. Rowling’s gift is for repackaging the familiar in such a way that readers accept it and enjoy it. Within the limitations of their genre, the Harry Potter novels standout; they are successful for a reason, primarily that they do not attempt to recreate or even re-imagine the genre within which they exist."