Friday, June 29, 2007

HP 7 - The wait is nearly over

There's less than a month to go before the final book in the Harry Potter series. (Or so you would've known if you were anywhere on Planet Earth this past year.) And what a long wait it's been. In the meantime, I finished Anita Shreve’s Sea Glass and Anna Quindlen’s Black and Blue. The latter is an Oprah Book Club recommend, and the former is written by an author whose ‘The Pilot’s Wife' was also, surprise, surprise, on the same Book Club.

In my head there is a genre taking shape. 'Turn Of The 20th Century/Early 21st Century American Women Authors With Novels rooted in Small Town America'. Because I have read, over the past year, at least 5 or 6 that I could classify in this manner. (Another example, off hand - Discovering the Body by Mary Howard.)

I tend to put them all in one category because most of them have female protagonists with a rich interior life, often non-conformist in a quiet way. Usually there is some element of mystery (a murderer on the loose, a missing girl, an abusive husband to be escaped) or a life changing event. And though I wouldn’t say that each of these authors write in exactly the same way, they are clearly united by their simple, spare writing styles, which is still replete with rich imagery, often of the homespun type. There is very little pretention and narratives are mostly linear - but that's not to diss them.

These are books that won’t waste your time. But they are disturbing without being depressing – not cathartic (like Prep), uplifting (like A Very Long Engagement) or hammy but extremely enjoyable (like Possession). Yes, it does seem that these books have been my yardstick for judging other books this whole year. I think I have this mental checklist which goes ‘Did it move me as much? Did it interest and fascinate me as much? Did it so perfectly match my tastes as much?’

Other books I read recently include The Devil Wears Prada (no comments) and 123 magic (a parenting guide I abandoned half way because it made me feel guilty). I am now reading The Inheritance Of Loss,which is going well, but somehow I don’t feel too inclined to rush through it. But I know I have to finish it fast, before the release of Harry Potter 7. You’ll know how eagerly I am awaiting that event when you know that I log on to the site from which I ordered the book, everyday to check my order status. Even though their customer care department has assured me that everything is ship-shape and I will get my copy without fail!

Of course nothing I love comes easy and HP 7 is a case in point. Another friend of mine had ordered her copy from another site, which promises delivery 2 days later. The book is out on a Saturday and I am due home that weekend. I planned to leave on Saturday evening, because I thought I would only get my copy on Tuesday - but it turns out my site offers same day delivery for my city! Another frantic email and Customer Care – who I’m sure by this time consider me a certified loony (or Luna...) - told me that I would get my copy probably by Saturday evening. On Saturday definitely. So now I’ve postponed my departure by a day.

I absolutely have to get my hands on the last page (I know, I know).

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