Jul 16, 2005

Don't be a Muggle.

The new installment of Harry Potter was just delivered to my doorstep by owl post. The only real question is, should I finish reading Jane Jacob's latest, Dark Age Ahead (no, Saurav, it's not about you), or should I just plunge into the book that's breaking the world record for first printings with an initial run of more than 10 million?

I'll be out of touch for a while.

Warning: There are spoilers in the comments below! (You've been warned)

22 comments:

someone else said...

The only real question is, should I finish reading Jane Jacob's latest, Dark Age Ahead (no, Saurav, it's not about you)

Where do you think my blog title came from? Everything's about me :)

Anyway, to help you answer your question, it depends where you're up to. The overarching "dark age" theory is not as compelling as the specifics she points to in terms of overcredentialing (which helped keep me out of law school), and other things.

Rage said...

Good point. I understand the overcredentialing perspective (haven't gotten there yet), but I've chosen to focus on my personal ability to affect change and the limitations that I feel I'll come across, since I know that I'm not a natural organizer, and I want to find a path that makes sense.

Not to mention that a JD is the quickest path to being able to teach in college level courses that I can think of.

DesiDancer said...

my brick (HP #6) sits sadly on a chair at home, as I glower through "The Hero's Walk"... I just can't switch gears and go from one to the other. I want to enjoy Potter, guilt-free. Thus, I am begrudgingly finishing what I had already started. -Don't spoil it for me yaar.

What's Dark Age Ahead?

Rage said...

Dark Age Ahead is Jane Jacobs' latest title, about the decay of North American culture, as it were. She's really amazing, and the book is very accessible, which I definitely appreciate. Jacobs' Death and Life of Great American Cities revolutionized the field of urban studies, and helped to fuel neighborhood uprisings in New York that stemmed the waves of urban decay brought forth by powerbroker Robert Moses. Check that one out too.

On a separate note, my partner and I have decided to use the new Harry Potter novel as the fuse to ignite a new experiment between us. We've decided that we'll read it aloud together, alternating narrators for each chapter. If this goes well, who knows. Maybe we'll finally tackle Proust.

Rage said...

Jacobs' Death and Life of Great American Cities revolutionized the field of urban studies

Scratch that. Should read "Urban Planning."

DesiDancer said...

thanks! I might have to check both of Jacob's books out; sounds fascinating.

But only after Jaadoo Putar.

someone else said...

Only read Death and Life of Great American Cities if you have either an interest in urban planning or a hatred of Robert Moses (which every New Yorker who has only read the Power Broker and nothing else about him ought to).

D&LoGAC is wonderful, but it's very dry.

someone else said...

Only read Death and Life of Great American Cities if you have either an interest in urban planning or a hatred of Robert Moses (which every New Yorker who has only read the Power Broker and nothing else about him ought to).

D&L of Great American Cities is wonderful, but it's very dry.

Rage said...

I don't know - if you like to read about an NYC that many white Manhattanites feel has disappeared, but I think still exists in Queens and Brooklyn, in a different incarnation in immigrant neighborhoods, it's a good read.

Still - I am also known to like very strange things.

someone else said...

Oh, I like it too--or rather, I think it's a very, very important book to read if you're interested in how cities work and in particular how New York City used to be and still is in some places in different forms. And also to break out of some orthodoxies (I hate that she thinks truck traffic is important ;).

My point was only that if one is not interested in a pretty dry take on those sorts of topics, it's perhaps not worth it. Power Broker is far more compelling--particularly if you read every other page to make up for the poor editing. VERY LITTLE THAT IS WRITTEN SHOULD EVER BE OVER 1,000 PAGES.

Sorry. As someone with a short attention span, I feel very strongly about that. :)

Rage said...

Agreed on the PowerBroker - I have yet to open it, though I was gifted the book a number of years ago (sorry, A!), and I am very interested in reading about the man who shaped NYC without ever being elected to office.

DesiDancer said...

Rage, have you finished Harry Potter & the Half-Blooded Prince yet????

Just finished it today and am dying for you to finish it and compare notes...

Rage said...

We just finished it last night after a marathon reading out loud (that experiment I was talking about earlier - we read the entire book aloud to one another as a test to see if we can do it for other titles. It was a challenge, given the way that Rowlings draws you in with a cliffhanger at the end of almost every chapter).

That said... much snogging and many surprises later... we're waiting for the final installment! But how do we compare notes without giving away spoilers to other readers here? :)

DesiDancer said...

hmmm. Saurav? are you reading it?

I would suspect most of the readers who would be devastated by spoilers have already finished the book. I mean, it's been a whole week! ;)

It's just one teeny question about Horcruxes... ;)

Rage said...

DD: Blimey, I guess it is mainly Saurav, you, and me here. :)

I'm game if you are to discuss here, and I'll put a warning up somewhere for folks not to read too far onward.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, CURIOUS READER!

DesiDancer said...

They were warned! :)

Ok, so apparently I'm the only person who lives under a rock and didn't know ahead of time that somebody gets killed in this book. Last time I was almost ready for it, twitching every time a character would encounter a seemingly fatal predicament. But I had no idea this time, so imagine my horror when Dumbledore is killed!! I actually got a bit teared up; I mean I've known him for a few years, he's a mentor and teacher... well it just got to me...

I'm absolutely on tenterhooks for the final installment, of course. I wonder if Hogwarts will reopen, I wonder who will teach DADA, I wonder if Aunt Petunia will come out with some crazy skillz, I wonder if-- since the locket horcrux was stolen and said to have been destroyed, now are there only 3 remaining?

And I gather you figured out who stole and destroyed the locket. -In his note he said "I've discovered your secret..." do you think the secret is about the horcruces' existence (what is the plural of horcrux?) OR is it a different secret altogether that led RAB to betray Voldemort?

ooh ooh ooh! I swear I'm really a freakin 8 year old. ;)

Rage said...

Woah. You weren't kidding about spoilers... I better do better to warn folks. :)

Yeah, we took it quite hard as well - we thought it was going to be Ron, but I guess it was wishful thinking in the high school part of the book.

Actually, we don't know who RAB is. Rat-Assed Bastard? Not sure - maybe others do know, but we're okay with just leaving it for speculation for now. I *think* the secret is the horcruxi, but... yikes. Who knows!

We think that there's more to the Snape side of things, though... we'll have to wait and see (agonizing though that is). I wonder if she'll have a spin-off series with the kids of the folks that we're following through school... Sort of like the Jedi Academy in Star Wars...

DesiDancer said...

-Something like "DO NOT read the comments if you don't want the entire book ruined"? ;)

I think there's a lot more to Snape than has been revealed thus-far. I would like to see him use his powers for good in the end. I understand his position, the Unbreakable Vow and all... so I wasn't too traumatized by his actions in the climax. I'm not entirely convinced he's a bad-guy... I think he's just a lonely misunderstood freak who always felt inferior and now he has the rank to act out of spite for his hurt wittle feelings.

I have a guess on who RAB is... should I tell you? Or leave you and Partner to more snogging and brainstorming sessions ;)

And I LOVE that as the kids are maturing, their socializing has matured-- speaking of snogging.

Rage said...

"I think he's just a lonely misunderstood freak who always felt inferior and now he has the rank to act out of spite for his hurt wittle feelings."

Funny - that's exactly how I would describe myself sometimes when I'm itching to respond to something that I've read on someone's blog, but I stop myself before I get too caught up in the game.

[ended up writing a long rant about the aforementioned perps that I want to respond to, but I think I'll have to save that for an actual post, rather than bury it here in a comment about HPVI]

Yeah. I'm actually bummed that the Patil twins (who the hell is the other one, anyway? I don't think that they both even appear in this book) were removed from Hogwart's by their over-protective parents. How very typical.

Actually, it seems that Harry's Asian fetish is over, now that he's moved over to his best mate's little sister. Seems like all the students of color dropped out of this book, except for that one Slytherin guy who was in the Slug Club.

Anyhow - yet another aside - but I would love to hear your theory - no snogging around the Harry Potter books. It was strictly an attempt to communicate through the written word. Well, really, the spoken word, reading the written word of someone else. But whatever. I do think that the characterization is pretty interesting, and quite compelling - watching these kids grow into teenagers is pretty neat. Watching their proxies in the film turn into adults playing teenagers will feel like watching 21 Jumpstreet, 90210, and Ralph Macchio and feeling bad that they are stuck in an age group that they have clearly outgrown. :)

DesiDancer said...

Yes, I'm afraid by the time they get around to making movie #7 the kids will be finishing grad school...Then again, I wonder if they'll shift the movie-making machine into high gear once the 7th book comes out. Then they could just get down to business and finish the movie series.

I have serious concerns if they could even make Order of the Phoenix a standard length movie. It may verge into Gone With The Wind territory in terms of length...

Oh, and I suspect RAB is a former death eater and relative of a character who has been in the forefront of the series.

Though Rat-ass bastard was one of my top guesses ;)

Rage said...

I know. And now that the actor who played Dumbledore passed away (wait - was the new person in the Azkaban movie? I didn't even see that).

Anyway - more things to wonder in the years before the final book!

DesiDancer said...

yeah the new Dumbledore debuted in the Azkaban movie. I wasn't a big fan of the new guy, either. I'd rather see Ian McKellan, now that LOTR franchise is finished.