Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Literary Fate

I think I said before how books tend to come in batches without my realizing it. Once it was books about Shanghai--I was expecting it with one of them (The Binding Chair), but the other one (The Diamond Age) took be my surprise. I would like to submit the following evidence to support my theory: I am reading two books with characters named Stanislaus. Think I should have seen it coming? One of them is a nun. Mother Stanislaus.

What a world.

Anyway, I finished The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman, and it was even more of a cliffhanger than the first one. If I wasn't off in the world this week, I'd already have found a way to get the last one in the series, but it's better that it wait--anticipation, you know. But to all you Harry Potter fans, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but these are better. I thought they were slow at first, but they're just mature, and real. The author doesn't have to make up reasons for the grown-ups to ignore Harry's troubles or fail to run the world properly--the grown-ups are working as hard as the kids. The danger is real and scary--scarier than Voldemort. "Evil" for evil's sake is a childish notion, not complex. Misguided, power-hungry, faithless--it looks just like evil, but the way it looks in the real world. Like, say, the decisions of major corporations.

Not that Harry Potter isn't good. It's more subtle than a lot of books, and full of inspired fun. But it didn't pull on me the way His Dark Materials does. Go Pullman!

Oh, and I've decided what I'm going to pick next time it's my turn to choose for book club. Pick me, pick me!

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