Guardian review

otheng otheng at kinghenry8.coventry.sch.uk
Tue May 2 08:34:48 EDT 2000


----- Original Message -----
From: Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com>
> I'm not dissing her.  I do like the Harry Potter books.  The point is,
> they're not what I'm anxiously waiting for.  :)

Me neither. I found "Mixed Magics" in Waterstones on Saturday and read the
whole of the new story while there! (I didn't buy it as I have it on order
from amazon.)

> The thing that really, really interests me about the Harry Potter
phenomenon
> is that it demonstrates the gap between diehard fantasy readers and casual
> or mainstream readers.  Reactions like those in the _Guardian review_ are
> fairly common, I think; there are people who simply have no idea what's
> available in the world of fantasy literature and hence see Rowling's books
> as incredibly fresh and original and groundbreaking.  Which they
aren't--for
> all their other wonderful qualities (first among which is Rowling's
tendency
> to get better with each book, which I love to see in new writers).  I
mean,
> as long as they're wildly popular, at least they're pretty good and not
> dreck.

I agree on all counts. I lent three DWJ books to some friends who had never
heard of her last week - they had been singing Harry Potter's praises.

> (I try not to be uppity and elitist about this, but a lot of what I read
> from the popular media (*not* literary reviewers) about the Harry Potter
> books just reminds me how little most people know about speculative
fiction
> in general.  This probably just makes me a nerd.  Oh well.)

Never a nerd!<g> But you're right - even the teaching periodicals rarerly
review fantasy for kids - yet it's one of the most thriving areas of the
market.  I re-read two Alan Garner books for a reading group I'm part of on
Compuserve, and was astonished at how thin they were by comparison with the
quality of stuff written in the genre these days.

Too many adult readers make unwarranted assumptions about her books and
never get around to finding out that these "kids'" books are more complex
than a lot of what floats around on the bestseller lists these days.<<

Too many have never heard of her at all!

> Anyway, I say cheers to J.K. Rowling for finding an unexploited market
niche
> and making a bundle off it!  And--do you suppose that all those DWJ
reprints
> are in reaction to the fabulous success of Harry Potter?  :)

Almost certainly - hence the drtive to make them into a "series".

Gill


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