Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

Tony RomoI’m not sure about all this Tony Romo bashing. It seems rather obvious and easy for everyone to point to him. It’s sort of like blaming the character holding a bloody knife over the dead body in an Agatha Christie novel. Except that person is never the one who did it.

Books are rife with such red herrings, dubious characters who turn out to be just the opposite in the end. There’s the cast-off but ever-faithful Cordelia in King Lear. The men who challenge d’Artagnan to a duel turn out to be The Three Musketeers. The scruffy Strider eventually becomes the king in The Lord of the Rings. Jane Austen was especially fond of offering up red-herring suitors: the simple farmer Mr. Martin in Emma, the not-dashing Colonel Brandon in Sense & Sensibility, and, most notably, the pompous Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice.

Now I am *not* comparing Romo to Mr. Darcy. Robert Martin, maybe. But the point is that these red herrings distract us from the real villains at work: Mr. Willoughby and Mr. Elton respectively. Or, in Romo’s case, Jerry Jones.

Yes, it looked like Romo choked against the Redskins. (Ok, it always looks like Romo chokes.) He threw three interceptions. But some of the NFL’s best quarterbacks have had the most interceptions: Brett Favre holds the record with 361. Fran Tarkenton and Dan Marino are also in the top 10, with John Elway ranked 13th overall. The fewest are by Damon Huard and Joe Ferguson—ever heard of them?

Also, it wasn’t Romo who gave up 361 yards and 28 points to the Redskins. It’s easy to blame Romo, but doesn’t that sidetrack us from the bigger, more insidious problem? After all, the Cowboys have been floundering for about 15 years now, ever since owner Jerry Jones inserted himself into the coaching process. Jones has not relinquished full control to a coach since Jimmy Johnson in the early ‘90s, coincidentally the last time the Cowboys won a Super Bowl or won the Division. (Really, Switzer was mostly coming off Johnson’s coattails in ’95). Current Redskins coach, Mike Shanahan (who took the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl wins) is one of many notable coaches rumored to have declined an offer from the Cowboys because of Jones.

Back to Romo, I do wonder what he could do under a coach like Shanahan. Ok, so Romo’s not Darcy or d’Artagnan. He’s more like Professor Snape, the ultimate red herring who seemed to foil and thwart Harry Potter through all seven books, which I guess rather aptly makes Jerry Jones “He-who-must-not-be-named.”

Read Full Post »

The books that the world calls immoral are the books
that show the world its own shame.–Oscar Wilde

Click for interactive US flag of banned book images.

We expect to hear stories like this out of China, which banned Animal Farm “because it put humans and animals on the same level.” But did you know that last year, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary was yanked from all schools in a California district? That ban only lasted a week, but right now many schools continue to enforce censorship. A Virginia district has banned A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes mystery. Slaughterhouse Five is currently banned from schools in Missouri.

I was shocked to learn that revered classic To Kill A Mockingbird was one of the most challenged books of 2009. And last year, seminal dystopian novel Brave New World was one of the top three disputed books. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight are the books that seem to make the list of Top 10 Challenged Books in classrooms and libraries year after year. I guess someone does not want kids reading.

In the United Kingdom, some libraries have actually blacklisted The Diary of Anne Frank. Other banned notables there include All Quiet on the Western Front, Madame Bovary, Black Beauty, and, gasp, The Canterbury Tales.

The American Library Association is sponsoring Banned Books Week, to highlight this issue and to celebrate the freedom to read. Get involved:

1.) Call your local library and offer support if they are getting pressure to remove any books from their shelves.

2.) Read a Banned Book:

Most Frequently Challenged Books in US

Most Frequently Banned Books in UK

Banned and Challenged Classics

3.) Visit the Virtual Read-Out on You Tube.
For clips of people, including famous authors, reading from their favorite banned books. Upload a your own video!

4.) Support organizations that get kids reading:

First Book—New Books to Children in Need

RIF—Reading is Fundamental

Uprise Books—Ending the Cycle of Poverty with Banned Books

5.) Check out More Links on Banned Books

Banned Books Week

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010

Banned Books Trivia Quiz

Five Best Banned Books Made into Films

Time Magazine’s Top 10 Censored Books

NPR Interviews Penguin Editor about Banned Books

Twain Book Returns to Library Shelf 105 Years After Being Banned

Sherlock Holmes Banned by School District in Virginia

Slaughterhouse Five Banned in Republic Missouri

Merriam Webster Banned in California and other Banned Dictionaries

Clickable US Flag Made of Banned Books

Like Word Hits on Facebook

Follow @WordHits on Twitter

Read Full Post »

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.
–Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Like most muggles, I raced to see Deathly Hallows Part 2. But for me, Harry Potter is really all about the books. I read the first two to humor my niece, but Prisoner of Azkaban hooked me. I joined the crowds for the midnight release of the next four books, and, wow, was it inspiring to see so many kids so jazzed about reading. I admit I had a Larry David moment at the final book party, when I seriously considered taking advantage of the fact that I was a foot taller than most of those elbowing me. But reason prevailed, and I let the kids push past. It was their moment.

Harry Potter Book SeriesIn my day, there was a dearth of books for tweens and early teens. Once you’d outgrown Beverly Cleary, Nancy Drew, and The Hardy Boys, there wasn’t much left. I read and reread Little Women and The Lord of the Rings. And though my sister had lent me Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t yet appreciate it.

My parents had always encouraged reading, but we hit a few bumps during those years. I got about 30 pages into Jaws by Peter Benchley, before it was confiscated for violent and non-PG content. When my brother brought The Godfather on a car trip, Dad was skeptical. A scowl spread across his face as he flipped through the pages—again not appropriate for a 12-year-old. Without a word, he rolled down the passenger window (Mom was driving) and tossed the book out. Literally (and literary) defenestration. A belated thank you to the local Rotary Club, who had adopted that stretch of highway for cleanup.

After that, Dad got us reading biographies, but now, Harry Potter has spawned a boom in Young Adult literature. Before, when I gave a tween a book (instead of some digital distraction), said child often eyed me with suspicion. Since Harry Potter, my stock has gone up. Now it’s hard to find a book these kids haven’t read. The best gift, however, is the one JK Rowling gave to generations of children … the joy of reading.

Did you like the Harry Potter books better than the movies? Which was your favorite book?

Harry Potter Book Series

JK Rowling Official Site

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Like Word Hits on Facebook

Follow @WordHits on Twitter

Read Full Post »