Monday, July 30, 2007

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

I actually forgot to blog about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets over the weekend, so I am almost done with it now. In fact, I would have finished it last night if I hadn't've been so tired.

Anyway, like with the first Harry Potter book, I am rereading this one to refresh my memory before I read #7. Once again, I am noticing differences between the book and the movie; they usually surprise me, because I have seen the movie several times but have only read the book once, and that was six years ago!

I'm struck again by what an amazing writer J.K. Rowling is. I've heard people criticize her for using ploys such as cliffhanger endings on paragraphs -- but hey, this is popular fiction, not the Dead White Male literary canon. (And if it were, it certainly would not be encouraging kids to read more.)

My reasons for thinking J.K. Rowling is a good writer include:

1) Strong characterization
2) Complicated plots
3) Believable dialogue (so many writers struggle with this!)
4) Great description
5) A great sense of humor, and an amazing ability to weave it into her writing so that it catches you off guard
6) An understanding of what makes kids tick (and read)

She may not be Shakespeare, but I think J.K. Rowling is just as important in our times as Shakespeare was in his. It might be an ambitious statement, but realistically, I don't think importance is judged by the moralizing content of your work -- after all, Shakespeare's plays were intended to entertain the people then as Harry Potter is now.

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