Letters to Holly

Wednesday, July 12

Harry Potter and the Franchise I Finally Got Around to Reading

I closed the cover on the last published Harry Potter book last night. The Half-Blood Prince is big step up from Order of the Phoenix in tone and focus. Whereas Phoenix was rambling, bitter, and overlong, this last one sets up the final book (yet to be published) with our hero older, determined, and angry. It's also one big hormone quesadilla. Virtually every student hooks up with somebody, and even supporting characters are geting involved with each other. There's nothing graphic at all; no one does any more than kiss. But it's a massive shift in character distraction and activity.

The franchise is a solid read, and Rowling proves she's no flash in the pan writer as the books progress. This is an epic story told in the Hardy Boys formula, but she's discussing the effects of war on a second generation. None of the magic students, good or bad, signed up for this decisive posturing; they're inheriting it from their parents. One gets the impression that everyone involved would rather quit the business than see this to the end. The books' story is much more substantial than the movies, but the casting is spot-on.

Picture of the Day
This is brilliant. A marketing firm designed this ad to show how roomy the Mini Copper is. They positioned the picture sideways at a subway entrance.

In the News
Israel-Lebanon might get uglier. Israel has no problem attacking civilians in hopes of making the Lebanese turn against Hezbollah.

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The FDA approved Atripla, a once-a-day AIDS cocktail combining three drugs made by two companies. The pill will cost less than the individual treatments.

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