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reviews and rant

2003-06-23 - 10:55 a.m.

The dinner party was a smashing success, if I do say so myself. S-M-A-S-H-I-N-G.

First of all, I cannot express how beautiful my china looked, especially when paired with all the crystal we set out. Nothing was lacking.

The oven-dried cherry tomatos did not happen; neither did the fruit tart. But I did roast the veggies and steam the asparagus. Rick's steak was excellent, as was his Hollandaise sauce, which is quickly becoming a specialty of the house. Next time I'd like to try Bearnaise, though.

After dinner I served up Sara Lee cheesecake bites, and we sampled various Scotch whiskeys, drank some port, and nibbled more pate. Yes, one of our guests brought us pate.

The Harry Potter book came at about noon on Saturday. I read about 100 pages, then had to hide it in the closet and attend to chores. But Sunday I sat down with it and read the rest straight through. Although supposedly Entertainment Today! claims the book takes 27 hours to read, this is purest bunk--I read it in a little under 8.

The book is a little top-heavy, and could probably have had some scenes cut out, and there were definitely one or two elements that I thought should have been stricken from the book, as they served no real purpose. Rowling might deserve props for killing of a major character, but she has him coming off like an asshole for the much of the book, so it wasn't that hard to distance myself. Plus the actual death was pretty soft--I found Cedric Diggory's death in Book 4 much more affecting. But all in all it was a good read. The characters are becoming more three-dimensional, and Harry is having to come to terms with some pretty hard truths about himself, his family, and his role in this whole Voldemort thing. And we find out more about Snape's past, which quite nicely rounds his character out.

I've been reading lots of smug condemnations of J.K. Rowling and the whole Harry Potter phenon. One in particular accused adults who read Harry Potter of reverting to "infantilism." This got my back up a little. I really don't see anything wrong in reading books written for kids that have something deeper in them. I got a lot more out of Madeleine L'Engles books, for instance, in my late teens and early twenties than I did when I was 12. Rowling, much like L'Engle, writes on a couple of different levels. And just because I enjoy reading Harry Potter doesn't mean I quail at taking on Milton or Dante or Hugo. And not that I'm saying that Rowling is a Milton, or even a Tolkien or Lewis (which she is most definitely not), but reading her certainly provides more intellectual stimulation than oh, say, Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele. (Incidentally, I can never hear Nora Roberts' name without thinking of my grandmother exclaiming "Nora Roberts! Glory be to God! I know I have a little slippage, but I haven't gone that soft! Nora Roberts!" Grammie is still pretty fussy about what she reads.) So to wrap up my rant, I would like to say that I am not ashamed to have catholic taste in my reading material, and I highly resent unimaginiative snobs tarring and feathering everyone who reads books not specifically set out for their demographic as "infantile." Horror of all horrors, what if anyone discovered I still read A.A. Milne and Thornton W. Burgess!

Also getting reviewed is USA's kooky crime drama Monk. Watch it. It can get a little boring at times, but I think there are few TV actors out there anywhere near as good as Tony Shalhoub. That man just cracks me up. In other T.V. news, we are guiltily looking forward to the next season of Angel and even more looking forward to eschewing Smallville, which although it got off to a very promsing start, has descended into maudlin adolescent pap of the worst kind. I would dearly love to see Lana and Chloe become lesbian lovers, Clark to finally commit suicide, and Lex to chuck it all and and join the Peace Corps. Now that's must-see t.v!


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