Last weekend I attended RomCon 2014 down in Denver. RomCon is a conference for readers and writers in the Romance genre and its various sub-genres. There was a lot going on and a fair few people, but the conference has a very intimate feel with plenty of opportunities for meeting authors. It is a primarily fan driven conference, but they also sponsor RomCon University which provides various topics of interest to authors and aspiring writers.
You might ask, how did a Lutheran pastor end up at a romance conference? Several reasons. 1) My wife reads a lot of romance, primarily in the science fiction and paranormal genres, and her favorite author, S.E. Smith, was going to be at the conference. 2) The weekend before the conference my wife won two free registrations. Otherwise I was going to be left in the hotel room or sent off to the Colorado Rockies games; and 3) I read books, and sometimes I read romances, albeit primarily in the historical genre.
Though not quite my favorite book, The Order of the Phoenix is definitely the scariest in the Harry Potter series. The fact that two of us raised our hands to speak for it says much, but like its doppelgänger, Prisoner of Azkaban, Phoenix’s fear is primarily psychological and therefore far more upsetting than its more externally-focused counterparts. Continue reading
There’s no doubt in my mind that the title of this post is true. Sure, the Harry Potter books get more angst-ridden as the kids get older, and sure, the stakes get higher when Voldemort is trying to take over the world and generally deploy his Evil Schemes. But you can keep your graveyard incantations and Departments of Mysteries, your snakes and corpses and lakes full of zombies. Harry Potter is never as scary before Prisoner of Azkaban, and it never gets quite that scary again.
Because the scare quotient (if I can use that phrase) of Prisoner of Azkaban doesn’t depend on gross images or Gothic idioms, it doesn’t depend on dark magic or evil ideologies. The story does more than just startle or alarm us. It unsettles. It gnaws away at us with a, creeping, oozing fear that pricks under your fingernails and round your eye sockets. And it’s the only book with scary not just as decoration or set design; the fear is embedded in the story itself.
What a week it’s been for the Potterverse. No sooner do we get back from donating our copies of The Casual Vacancy to the used bookstore, than we discover that the entire Harry Potter series was written under a pseudonym, and that the real author is a retired bank manager named Robert Q. Galbraith, O.B.E.
No—wait. That didn’t happen.
You’ve perhaps heard of Top Ten Tuesdays, a meme hosted by the blog The Broke and the Bookish. Now, I’m not planning on posting on this theme every week and as you may notice, today is Monday not Tuesday. As a good post-modern I don’t feel bound to societal constructions. 😉
However, I liked the topic for last Tuesday and I took my time thinking about it. That is, what are the top ten books you’ve read so far in 2013? There are two main ways to go with this. One, confine yourself to books which you’ve never read before and which you just read this year, or Two, it doesn’t matter if you’ve read a book before or not, just pick the ones you’ve read so far this year which are top ones for you. I’m going with the second option, but feel free to define your own criteria.
Several weeks back Mr. Pond posted about an All Hallow’s Read. For reasons beyond his control, he was unable to put together the list of books and stories he came up with. So, by his request, I’m putting up the list here. Unfortunately I’ll only be able to list the titles without any Skull Ratings (TM Red Rocker) or any commentary on the stories and their suitability for different ages. But I must needs return to watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. 🙂
Here’s the list:
It was a tradition waiting to happen. If you had to choose the three most important ingredients in any holiday, they’d have to be saints, chocolate, and books. At least, if your holidays are anything like mine, they are.
Halloween usually has its fair share of chocolate, and here at the Hog’s Head we heartily approve. And it’s a catch-all feast day for saint-types: All Hallows, after all. But books? What about books? If we took a straw poll of pub regulars–no offense to the scarecrows among us–I suspect we’d find it hard to imagine a day without books, let alone a holiday.
Welcome, then, to All Hallows’ Read.
That is to say, what happens when a publisher teams up with an “up and coming” filmmaker to make a book trailer for a new fantasy novel? Well, we’ll find out in a minute. But first, what about book trailers? They’re basically what they sound like, a trailer for a book like the trailers for movies. Except usually more sedate, or boring as I saw referenced somewhere.
Anyway, here are a few links to book trailers for books you might be familiar with. After these links, I’ll put up the one I reference in starting this post.
Harry Potter and Imagination by one Travis Prinzi.
Hogshead Conversations by Travis Prinzi.