The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, May 03, 2004  

Harry Potter Stuff

Below is an edited version of a post that I first published over the weekend. After first published, I tried to edit and republish this item, but it somehow became garbled by, and lost somewhere within, (That’s why you probably didn’t see it.)

Read on . . . As updated.

I own the first four books in the “Harry Potter Series”: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Although I read the first three volumes, I never got around to the fourth, in large part because I came to conclude, despite my kindest inclinations, that J.K. Rowling’s prose is cumbersome, stilted, awkward, and even juvenile, and that last descriptive not meant in the kindest manner. Three hundred or so pages? Fine. Seven hundred fifty pages? Sorry, no.

But it doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what the kids think, and, as you know, the kids have been eating this stuff up. And that’s a good -- a great -- thing. Parents reading to their children; grandparents, uncles, and aunts reading to their descendants; babysitters and caretakers reading to their charges; and kids reading on their own.

I’m fully aware of the bizarre arguments of the nay-sayers with respect to the Harry Potter series. You know, how Rowling is leading an entire generation of children toward witchcraft and sorcery, away from God, their families, etc., etc., most of this coming from fundamentalist “Protestant” denominations, though, I’m ashamed to say, some Catholic right wingers -- the National Catholic Register, the disguised house organ of the Legion of Christ -- have joined the uninformed and medieval chorus. What idiocy.

All of this is a long way of getting toward my main point, which is that I have arranged, through one of my sisters working in the public schools in New York State, to give my four books -- all of them in excellent, “like new” condition -- to a needy child and Harry Potter fan who has none of them.

In addition, I have specified that the books shall be given to the child not from me, but from the child’s parents, as a gift from parents to child.

Now, here’s where you come in. There is now a fifth volume in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that I would like to add to this package.

If you would like to participate in this very charitable venture, you may purchase Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from my Wish List. Alternatively, if you own a copy of this book -- a copy that is in excellent, like new, nearly pristine condition, one with no writing or marks inside whatsoever -- please let me know and I will send you my mailing address.

Regardless, should you choose to assist in this endeavor through either means, please alert me as soon as possible so that I do not receive multiple copies of Harry Potter V.

The school year will end before we know it. If you can help, please do so today. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

UPDATE: Within a very short period of time after first posting this a kind reader, one who would prefer to remain anonymous, purchased “Harry Potter V” from my Wish List. The book is on its way. And so, very soon, a package of all five Harry Potter books will be shipped to a girl who really wants them.

Rittenhouse readers are the best.

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