Around the Common Room: December 7, 2012

In the cheerful spirit of Happy Hoggy Days, here’s a gift many a Harry Potter fan should enjoy: a Harry Potter and Philosophy podcast put together by Keith Hawk at MuggleNet, starring our own Carrie-Ann Biondi and two of her students! Says Carrie-Ann:

It’s kind of a survey-ish discussion among the five of us ranging over a variety of questions and issues in philosophy and literature that John Granger came up with, so it’s very accessible to a wide audience.

Listen and enjoy! And now, here’s your roundup of the week’s news:

In everything The Hobbit: Andrew Liptak has written a short biography of the book, titled There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Tale, Graham Edwards chronicles his childhood experiences with a dramatization of The Hobbit, Ann Curry interviews Peter Jackson and gets a look into his filming studios; The Hobbit is now available in Latin, and translator Mark Walker talks about the experience; Martin Freeman says the film’s sets were “awe-inspiring”; and–stealing directly from Entertainment on NBC’s headline here–“Bilbo Baggins goes on a drunken ‘Unexpected Journey’ in parody viral video.” Which video was apparently co-produced by Twilight actor Peter Facinelli.

In related news, Elijah Wood claims that filming the Lord of the Rings changed him ‘as a person’ and Ian McKellen says he and the aforementioned Mr. Wood never actually worked together on the set.

Goodreads users have selected their best books of the year in several categories, with Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy taking “Best Fiction”.

PotterMom05 brought Christopher E. Bell’s book, Hermione Granger Saves the World : Essays on the Feminist Heroine of Hogwarts, to my attention this week. She says she’s enjoying it, and she believes others will, too.

Grady Hendrix has a fantastic article on Madeleine L’Engle’s relationship to Christianity, particularly as expressed through A Wrinkle in Time. “I’m not a Christian myself,” Hendrix says at the outset, “…However, engaging with her religious beliefs adds a lot to her books, and makes them much more interesting and complex.” Readers may take issue with points made by both Hendrix and L’Engle, but Hendrix writes with a refreshing respect and empathy for the author, her work, and her faith.

If you’ve ever read Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, you know it’s not much like Harry Potter–but it is packed with magic, humor, and old-school British charm. The BBC has recently announced a 6-part TV miniseries based on the book, to be directed by Toby Haynes, who has worked on both Doctor Who and Sherlock. It sounds likely to be fantastic.

The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins’ next book will be for children: The Year of the Jungle.

Over at SF Signal, you can watch the official teaser trailer for Star Trek 2: Into Darkness.

There’s a lovely excerpt from Joe Queenan’s One for the Books over at Huffington Post, discussing the power of books and reading.

In numerological lists, here’s one that’ll keep you busy for a while: Top 51 Sci-Fi Spaceships. Also, has listed 10 of the most cyberpunk scenes in film.

And in the random world of randomness, some of it awesome and/or funny: LitReactor’s Rajan Khanna posts The Magic of Christmas: An Advent Calendar of Fantasy Fiction, Today contributor Ben Popken explains “why the 12 Days of Christmas list is for the birds,” and Not Always Romantic shows us engaged nerd couples attending family Thanksgiving and texting each other goodnight. The Awww factor just went way up.

2 thoughts on “Around the Common Room: December 7, 2012

  1. Carrie-Ann’s discussion on Mugglenet Academia was fantastic. Everyone stop what you’re doing and listen to it now.

  2. Thanks, Travis–glad you enjoyed the podcast!

    And Jenna, I’m having trouble keeping up with reading all of these great links. I played the Star Trek 2 trailer several times and could feel that geeky thrill rising. Looks like it’ll be good, and how couldn’t it be with the awesome Mr. Cumberbatch playing the villain?

    Collins’s new book for kids sounds very interesting. This is a difficult topic to address through literature for younger children, but like all other difficult subjects, it needs to be raised in the right way by the right person. I’m keen to see how this turns out and what its reception will be like.

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