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
Excitement for fall and winter movie releases is building, and a lot of this week’s news seems to be movie-based. First, David from The Warden’s Walk is hosting a read-through of The Hobbit, beginning in late September and ending just before the movie comes out. Whether you’re a fan of the book or have never read it, and whether or not you plan to see the movie, this sounds like a great event to check out.
The young Potter actors have made headlines for a lot of reasons, but now Emma Watson’s got a scandalous one through no fault of her own: she’s apparently this year’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online. Cyber criminals use her name to attract potential victims; according to USA Today (link above), searching for her name gives you a one-in-eight chance of landing on a malicious site. It’s a strangely unfitting fate for someone so hardworking and serious as she appears to be. Her new film, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, releases September 21.
According to this story, Stephen King is going to try his hand at comic books. He’s contributed five issues to a new comic called American Vampire, which reimagines the vampire in an American setting. Here’s a brief blurb from the article on what they’re planning to do with the story:
“The series twists the well-trod vampire legend by allowing the creatures to evolve into a distinctly American creature and will follow the adventures of Skinner Sweet, a sociopathic outlaw in the Wild West who becomes the first American vampire. Unlike European vamps, Skinner is powered by the sun and, true to his native environment, has rattlesnake fangs. Each cycle, consisting of five individual comic issues, will take place in a different period of time in American history, tracing Skinner’s descendants, with Skinner himself as a recurring character.”
Do you make a “summer reading” list? That’s something that makes sense if you’re in high school or college, when you’re generally stuck with piles of assigned reading. But to me, there’s no such thing as “summer reading.” It’s all just “reading.”
Nevertheless, let’s do a reading update, since we haven’t done one in a while, and I’m not prepared to do a write-up on Chapter 12 of Half-Blood Prince yet. What’s everyone reading? What’s on deck? I picked up Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow, but set it back down for now; I want to focus on that one when I can read it in bigger chunks, not just in brief sessions before bed. So presently, I’m reading White’s The Once and Future King and listening to Dickens’s Great Expectations as read by B.J. Harrison. I’m also taking in Coleridge’s Aids to Reflection whenever I have a few extra moments to spare.
Stephen King recently gave an interview to USA Weekend in which he made some interesting comments about Richard Matheson, H.P. Lovecraft, J.K. Rowling, and Stephanie Meyer:
King, whose Stephen King Goes to the Movies collection came out last week, doesn’t know how much of an influence he had on Meyer, but he does know that Rowling read his stuff when she was younger. “I think that has some kind of formative influence the same way reading Richard Matheson had an influence on me,” King explains. “People always say to me, ‘Well, what about H.P. Lovecraft?’ And the thing was, you read Lovecraft when you were a kid but I never felt that he was speaking my language. It was chillier than my heart was, and when Matheson started to write about ordinary people and stuff, that was something that I wanted to do. I said, ‘This is the way to do it. He’s showing the way.’ I think that I serve that purpose for some writers, and that’s a good thing. Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people. … The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.“
There’s a lot I’d like to unpack there, but I’m going to leave most of it for the pub’s perceptive patrons. Just a few notes and questions:
- I find his description of response to Lovecraft interesting. Is your response to Lovecraft similar to King’s, or different?
- Whatever you think of King’s writing (I happen to like it), he’s a guy who’s done a lot of solid thinking … ahem … On Writing. I don’t agree with all of this thoughts on the craft, but on the whole, On Writing is a must-read for aspiring authors. This, in my mind, lends a bit of credibility to his assessment of Rowling v. Meyer. Thoughts?
- Read the rest of the article. What do you think of his other thoughts on the non-threatening, “safe” nature of Meyer’s novels?