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July 18, 1946

Harry Potter and the Half-baked Prince

No, this is not a review. I was thinking of doing that from the copy I found on the bus Friday,  but then read that the Globe and Mail backed down on theirs. In case you can't view the pages, the gist of it was: papers were served on The Globe and Mail, enjoining us from publishing a promised review by Sandra Martin of the latest Harry Potter book. We had stated yesterday that we intended to post the review on just after midnight and print it in today's edition of the paper. Raincoast Books, the Canadian publisher of the book, asserted that such a review violated an injunction granted, without anyone else present, by a British Columbia court last Saturday morning.

That injunction stemmed from the apparently accidental sale of 14 books by a B.C. grocery store. (Lawyers for Raincoast say injunctions have also been granted in other countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia.) The injunction requested and granted to Raincoast is sweeping. It restrains "John/Jane Doe and anyone who is given notice of the order from unpacking, displaying, reading, distributing, offering for sale, selling, exhibiting in public or without the express consent of the Plaintiffs possessing Harry Potter # 6 prior to 12:01 a.m. local time on July 16, 2005."

That's right: Raincoast and Madam Justice Kirsti Gill rendered illegal the reading of a book without permission.

The paper decided at that late stage to not fight it. The injunction referred to irreparable harm being done- really? 10.8 copies million copies to be printed in the US, almost 2 million in Canada, and someone how all those little kids are suddenly not going to show up because a reviewer revealed the ending? Does anyone care what the reviewers say about this release?

"Dear, we have to leave soon to line up so we get a copy at midnight"

"Sorry mom, I read that Anthony Holden in The Observer said a few weeks ago, [her books]are 'Disney cartoons written in words.' I don't want a copy anymore, aren't there any good Canadian authors we can buy?"

Not! It's a massive marketing machine - Harry Potter books, dolls, brooms, wands, movies, parties.... catapulting a single mother from welfare to a a billionairess. But with such a complete package, is there any room left for kid's imaginations? Where's the fun now in dressing up your brother's Barbie doll in GI Joe clothes and hacking the hair off for a Barbie goes butch party? An article in the local paper isn't impressed with the fluff, saying "a childhood full of Harry Potter books guarantees nothing but an adulthood full of John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King". But at least it gets kids started reading, it's up to parents to keep the momentum up.

I must admit my reading list isn't that sophisticated lately either - piles of books waiting to be read, only so much time for them. At work I'd get new projects thrown at me every few months, with stacks of technical documents to read - and to write. So some Tom Clancy was nice. But I don't have that excuse, now that I'm semi-retired. I've collected a mixed bag of books from Bookcrossing, most waiting for me to read and release - or just pass them on. I need to remind myself of the busy vs productive difference. I have added the G&M to the morning paper pile, New Scientist every week, some blogs to follow - before you know it the cat's looking for her lunch. Especially after I've stayed up late the night before watching an art film. Ack! Ack! Ack!

Update July 19 - you can even watch Rowlings sign the first copy of the book.


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Your whole premise is that some books are trash! but others are high brow and worth the time and effort to read like my friend William Shakespeare! A book is a book is a book and to read is to read is to read.


My premise is that in keeping with productive vs busy some books are worth more time and effort than others. Books are not all the same, reading is not all the same. There's nothing wrong with reading "fluff", it's entertaining. But we still should challenge ourselves, and others, in life.

jim patrick

Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Premise(I'm Canadian.)?

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