Friday, June 11, 2004

Two Sides Of America

Here's one horrible story that just makes me want to pack up and go home, and here's something that makes me smile and give a little quizzical frown. Quite clearly, this country is insane, but it's not always a bad thing, it seems.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I can't stand Harry Potter in either print form or on the cinema screen. So I've obviously not been to see the new film, even if it's all dark and gritty. Normally, I respond to the Potterites by telling them to go and read Roald Dahl and then come back and tell me that the Potter books are good kids' books. But that's a bit like comparing oranges and apples. Dahl's books are much, much better, but they're not the same kind of thing. Rob introduced me to The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the first book of which is a much better attempt at a Harry Potter style kids' book than any of the Potters themselves. I love Northern Lights/The Golden Compass and it's sequel, although I'm not as fond of the third book. But the one I'd forgotten about, because I hadn't read it for years, is Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising. A great little story, with lots of depth, my only real criticism is that its setting is rather restrictive, being based around a couple of small locations. That said, since it features time travel quite heavily, it really has more than two or three locations. It's a wonderfully atmospheric book with some great ideas, mostly drawn from "British" mythology.

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