My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Book Recommendation

I love to read. It is usually the last thing I do every night, and it often is the cause of me getting a lot less sleep than I am supposed to. And I read a lot of different stuff--spy stuff (Clancy, Higgins), Sci-Fi/fantasy (Tolkien, Salvatore), history (esp. Civil War), . . . really just about anything I can get my hands on.

And one of the real surprises, and pleasures, of reading that I've found in the last several years are the works of J.K.Rowling--that's right: the Harry Potter series.

I know what you're thinking: "aren't those kids books?" And the answer is yes.

I first started to read the series when my job assignment changed to include elementary school--I wanted to understand a little of the mind of the students I was going to be working with. But the books just sort of sucked me in, and I've now read all of the ones that are out.

I know there are those in the Evangelical community who avoid the series because they deal with magic and with occult elements. But I would submit that the great majority of the magic of the series comes, not from the spells and potions, but from Rowlings' insight into the mind of a child. The school Harry Potter goes to is very much like every school I've ever been in, complete with odd friendships, outcasts, the "in crowd," bullies, scary teachers and inspirational mentors. The fact that the class list includes "Defense Against the Dark Arts" rather than "Business Math" only changes the atmosphere marginally--in fact, it adds many opportunities for great humor.

I also very much appreciate that the smartest person in the book is almost always the girl, Hermione Grainger, and that the real test of the characters is almost never strictly talent but actual strength of character.

And make no mistake, these books are growing up as the characters are. The sixth book, which I just completed (The Half-Blood Prince) has elements of betrayal, bigotry, deviancy, romance (dealt with very innocently, by the way) and the death of an important character. These are not simply books to get children to read books--there are lessons and morals and tough emotional involvements throughout them. And at the core of every one of the stories is the battle between good and evil, with some victories and losses on both sides--kinda like a real battle.

If you're looking for something fairly easy to read, but which will keep you turning pages, pick up one of these Harry Potter books and give it a chance. Think John Hughes movies without the pathetic angst.

And a quick note about the impending release of The Order of the Phoenix: I'm going to go out on a limb and bet that the critics really dislike this movie. Now, that may, after all, turn out to be because it's not very well made--I have no idea about or insight into that aspect.

But, assuming that the movie is reasonably well-made, and is reasonably faithful to the book, the media should hate this movie. Why? Because the subtext of the whole story is the actions of those who refuse to acknowledge the existence of evil, a press that is complicit with those, and the lengths they will go to to discredit and shout down those who recognize evil.

Probably a pretty uncomfortable story line for the elites in this country.

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