It’s made even clearer if you are familiar with the traditional British secondary school system which starts at age 11 and he has one book for each year, the style changes to write for that age as well as about the characters. The first is a lot about fitting in as that’s what happens when you get to ‘big school’, the school exchange stuff we see in the middle tends to happy in early teens, the last two books reflect the 6th form where you spend a lot less time in class and more on self study, the school falls more into the background.
The other funny thing about the Harry Potter books is the stories I heard of when they first tried to push it in the US. It was just before I signed on at B&N. Some of my colleagues told stories of sending cases of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone back to the publisher unsold. I’m not sure if the title change helped or if there was a change in marketing strategy but a short while after Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone tore up the American market.
DaVinci Code was a book with a similar history. B&N pushed it unsuccessfully for a long time until something finally clicked and it caught on. It’s odd how our top level management would try to say they didn’t have any hand in whether a book succeeded or failed. However, it very much did depend on whether they thought a book should be a hit or not.
When Scholastic bought the US publishing rights they launched it as ‘sorcerer’s’. So the previous ones must have been import copies.
Interesting. I wonder if they were import versions or my colleague misremembered.
They could have been imports, the book took over a year to come out in the US but was winning loads of kids awards and 5 star reviews in the UK. Even if it isn’t common practice it’s pretty easy to import books with the ISBN system.
As a kid I was addicted to the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift Jr. and the Three Investigators. Then I found I was actually reading the second run of the Hardys, as nearly fifty came out with the same title, but the first stories were written in the 1930’s-1940’s, and the second 1960’s. Turns out there’s even a third run with the same titles, but a define different “Franklin W. Dixon”. Tom Swift had a series before his kid, and they were cool, too - in a Jules Verne / HG Wells kind of way.
Those were the “juveniles”, along with everything in the Cahuenga Elementary School library (and the two local library branches). At late eleven or so it was The Hobbit, and off to the races with anything fantasy that could be found. Right soon after came pulps, primarily Doc Savage and the Shadow. About 14 I had a nasty existential crisis, and my fantasy reading took me to buying Heinlein’s Glory Road and the companion paperback Stranger in a Strange Land. And it was sci-fi, fantasy, history, philosophy, classics and on and on ever since.
Be cautious of the written word; it’s addictive.
It’s out that soon? Must remember to get a copy of that for Mrs. J.
I was surprised too - for some reason I thought it was further off.
I might see if they’re an audio version. Mrs. J has listened to and nearly worn out the BBC adaptation of His Dark Materials.
It looks like Michael Sheen is reading the audio version. You can hear an extract here.
I enjoyed His Dark Materials a lot at the time - I even went to meet Pullman at a talk and signing during a literature festival, and I also saw the two-part stage adaptation of the trilogy later on.
But I haven’t gone back to them for a while. I’m thinking maybe I should at least refresh my memory a little before I read the new book.
I listened to the audiobooks of the original books earlier in the year. The first book is great; the sequels are good, but struggle to juggle all the multiple story threads they introduce.
I remember enjoying the third book a lot, but I think that was partly due to being surprised by how daring and ambitious it was.
On balance the first book is probably a tighter read. I know the third book lost some readers a little bit, especially towards the end.
Seeing as it’s Mrs. Jones. Here’s a preview. It’s Jackanory time! (I have a very good narratory voice):
La Belle Sauvage.
Eleven-year-old Malcolm lives with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford, across the River Thames from Godstow Priory, where the nuns are looking after a special guest. One night his father comes to Malcolm’s bedroom.
“Malcolm, you en’t in bed yet – good. Come downstairs for a minute. There’s a gentleman wants a word with you.”
“Who is it?” said Malcolm eagerly…
I don’t see the “what are you reading thread”, so I guess I’ll stick this in here:
So, I finally ordered the Hunters of Dune & Sandworms of Dune books from Amazon, and they sent them sepparately, so I’ve only received Hunters and proceeded to devour it (I also ordered the Darksword trilogy, got the first 2 books).
Hum, so I’m not sure where all the hate for the books comes from… Mind you, I’ve only read Hunters so far, it might all go tits-up with Sandworms for all I know, but so far it’s rather okay. Yes the style is quite different, which is only to be expected, but I was surprised at how “Dune-ish” it read. I’m not sure how to describe it, it’s like a more condensed and to the point style, which to be honest I’m all for after the utter drag of Chapterhouse… It’s shorter chapters and there are quite a few clearly stated timejumps throughout… those timejumps feel a bit awkward (and a bit lazy and unpolished in terms of style, they could’ve incorporated them more smoothly troughout the text), but on the other hand, there are so many that I’m kinda glad they just went ahead and used that system, it makes for an easier read. I don’t know, I can understand the stylistic differences and how it’d be percieved as inferior to Frank’s, but it didn’t bother me at all… Frank could be waaaay too wordy and stuffy and had some horrible pacing issues… Hunters is very functional in that regard, so I rather enjoyed it… plus I feel they captured the “feeling” quite well… I didn’t feel like I was reading something else, so that’s a huge win.
Now, in terms of plot, I’m rather fine with Hunters at least. I have an idea of how it all ends cause I spoiled myself a long time ago, but reading Hunters, it seems the vast majority of what happens had indeed been seeded by Frank in previous books, so in that regard it felt like a true continuation of the story, except for a couple of characters and plot-points that feel forcefully inserted. One of the most controversial things (I’ve read in reviews) is the reveal of the Ennemy, and how it contradicts what Frank laid out in Chapterhouse… At first I was also a bit on the fence about that point… While I was reading, I knew who the Enemy was already, but I kept feeling that they could’ve gone in a better direction with it… But then I thought about it, and what they ended up doing kinda makes more sense than both what I was thinking or what Frank hinted at. So I’m gonna wait for Sandworms and see how or if they pull it off, before passing final judgement.
But so far, honestly it’s not the horrible blunder everyone says it is. It’s not bad at all actually. Sure it has some missteps, but then again Frank did his BIG share of missteps as well throughout the series. I really hope they manage to pull it all off in Sandworms… and I hope I get it soon… u_u
About to embark on Gulliver’s Travels for the first time; wish me luck.
I read it a few years ago. I will be interested to hear what you make of it.
Oh… here is where it went
And yet when I was a young adult, I never ran out of things to read
You’ve stolen the first paragraph of my Jerusalem review