Archive for the ‘Life: Books’ category

Books: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix II

April 15th, 2003

Harry Potter And The Order Of The PhoenixWhilst I may have come in for a little bit of stick by just the way I presented the facts about the new Harry Potter book back in January, I thought I’d just revisit the subject and do a quick summary of what more information has become available regarding “Potier De Harry Et L’Ordre De Phoenix” (and, no, I don’t know if that is the correct French translation of “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix”).

“The Order Of The Phoenix” is available in two editions: the childrens edition and the Adults version. The childrens one is currently on “pre-order sale” at Amazon.co.uk [Order from Amazon.co.uk] for just £8.49 (saving 50% off the normal retail price) and is a hardcover book with 768 pages due to be released on the 21st of June this year – the cover shows a golden phoenix bird emerging from the flames and is the first childrens edition book cover not to feature Harry Pottery himself on the book design.

The Adults edition (which has a much darker and blacker cover with a silver Phoenix) is also available at the same price [Order from Amazon.co.uk] in the same format with the same number of pages – the only difference between the two is different cover artwork (so don’t expect any nude Harry Potter pictures from the Naked Quidditch Match)

The US variant, however, is available in two different formats. The “Standard Edition” amazoncom:043935806X currently at $17.99 (equal to £11.46) is a hard cover version and has 896 pages – somehow you are getting an extra 128 pages for the extra £2.97). I’ve got no idea if it’s just larger type, smaller page sizes or quite how they’ve managed to squeeze and extra 128 pages out of the same Harry Potter story – but it’ll be slightly interesting to find out. Oh the cover is also different from the UK version – it shows 15year old Harry holding his wand in-front of a number of doors and is drawn in midnight blue, indigo and flame blue (making it look a lot more “dark” than the brightly coloured UK version).

There is also a “Collector’s Edition” available for $42.00 (£26.75) amazoncom:0439567629 which is a “cloth-covered deluxe edition featuring full-colour printed endpapers, a foil-stamped title on the spine and a full colour slipcase with an exclusive book jacket design”. Worth an extra $24? I’m not sure, but if you are an avid fan with money to spare why not order it for June 21st?

The book (which has 255,000 words and is rumoured to be in 38 chapters) has already sold half a million advanced copies and will be released in USA, Canada, UK, Australia and in many other English languages on the 21st of June (which is the longest day of the year) right after midnight British Summer Time (GMT/Zulu +1) – and would be approximately two and a half years since the previous Harry Potter book “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was released (which helped bring the total number of “Potter” books sold to over 192million copies).

Ok, that’s enough of the release date – but what about the contents? Well, thanks to a leak from the American publishers and other “leaks“, the following is known:

  1. The first two sentences of the book are:
    “The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.

    The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four. ”

    I would guess the “teenage boy” is Harry himself.

  2. Harry confronts “the unreliability of government and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts”
  3. Whilst on the subject of Hogwarts, another little leak gives us the snippets:
    “Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses.

    ‘It is time,’ he said, ‘for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry.”

  4. Ron Weasley (Harry Potter’s friend) becomes keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
  5. The new defence of the dark arts teacher (a woman) has a personality “like poisoned honey”
  6. Professor Lupin will be back with “a lot of old friends”
  7. They’ll also be a venomous, disgruntled house-elf and the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level (OWLs) exams
  8. Harry has nightmares about a single door in a silent corridor which is “more terrifying than every other nightmare combined”.
  9. There will be a new Sorting Hat song
  10. They’ll be a bit more of characters such as Mundungus Fletcher

There’s no doubt the book will be a huge success, but will the latest Harry Potter book live up to the hype or has its readership grown up in the intervening years since the Goblet of Fire…. Only time will tell….

Books: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

January 17th, 2003

[Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix]This entry has been superseded by: Books: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix II: please reference that page instead

As you may have heard by now, it has been announced the book 5 of the Harry Potter series – “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix” will be publicly available from the 21st of June (in the UK, Canada and the USA).

You can pre-order a copy now though – Amazon has the children’s edition AND the Adults edition available at half price – just £8.50 each. Obviously you’ve got to wait until June to actually get your copy, but over 60,000 copies already have been ordered it could be a case of demand outstripping supply: so order now!

What can I tell you about the book without falling foul of anything that I may or may not have signed? Well, on the first page of the 768 tome it starts : “The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive. The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four.”.

A later quote which has been widely circulated in the media goes: “Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. ‘It is time,’ he said, ‘for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.'” but all I’m going to say is that readers will find out the reason Lord Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and something interesting about Harry’s mother Lily and the Dursleys.

There’s a new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher (much to Snape’s disgust) and she’s a woman, but there’s also the return of Professor “Mad-Eye Moody” (the previous teacher) and Lupin. Oh, and there’s that little matter about the death of a major character – and I think I’d be spoiling the surprise it I stated who it was (but it’s not one of the 3 main characters NOR is it [deleted something that I wasn’t supposed to say])… Finally there’s a new song for the Sorting Hat and a bit more about the Mundungus.

What else can I say at the point? Not much, but maybe in the coming weeks…

Books: The Jigsaw Man

December 22nd, 2002

[Cover of The Jigsaw Man]Yesterday I was loaned a copy of Paul Britton‘s “The Jigsaw Man – The Remarkable Career of Britain’s Foremost Criminal Psychologist”. It’s about a criminal psychologist (strangely enough) from Leicestershire (who actually worked in the same place as my parents) who helped with such cases as the Leicestershire murders of Caroline Osborne and Amanda Weedon by 18 year old butcher Paul Bostock, the Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth by Colin Pitchfork (which was the first use of DNA testing – the testing of over 2,000 men has been nicknamed ‘The Blooding’), the murder of “Baby James” Jamie Bulger by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson and many other murders.

I think the back cover of the book sums it up extremely well: “Paul Britton has assisted the police in over a hundred cases and has an almost mythic status in the field of crime deduction. His achievements read as though from the pages of Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie. What he searches for at the scene of the crime are not fingerprints, fibres or bloodstains – he looks for the ‘mind trace’ left behind by those responsible: the psychological characteristics that can help the police the identify and understand the nature of the perpetrator.”

It’s quite a fascinating read (I’ve already got to page 404 of 650: and I’ve been reading it for around the last 6 hours solid): not just from the “local angle” (I actually lived quite close to the scene of the Pitchfork murders and went to the schools mentioned), but also from the whole psychology and criminal investigation angle.

It’s going to take me another day or so to finish it, but I really need to now consider getting out of bed and making breakfast (yep, I’ve just been lying in bed reading this book since I woke up and I’ve got lots to do…)

Books: Whoo! I influenced Gretchen!

November 24th, 2002

[Image of Gretchen Pirillo]It seems I’ve managed to influence Gretchen Pirillo (whose husband Chris runs LockerGnome and who appears on the USA TechTv show Call For Help) on which books to read. She asked for suggestions, and I suggested she read some of Robin Cook‘s books: and she got “Abduction” from the library. Yea me! (even though I haven’t got that particular book). Now I’ve just got to get her to link to my blog like Neil/totalxsive has somehow made Chris… 🙂 Oh – I do read all three of their blogs anyway so…

Just for the record, the Robin Cook books I have got are as follows: “Acceptable Risk“, “Blindsight“, “Brain“, “Chromosome 6“, “Coma“, “Contagion“, “Fatal Cure“, “Godplayer“, “Harmful Intent“, “Invasion“, “Mind Bend“, “Mortal Fear“, “Mutation” and “Vital Signs” and I’ve also got “Sphinx” and “Vector” on order – so if anybody was thinking of getting me any of those for Christmas, DON’T – get me another book or something (hint hint) 🙂

Book Review: Blott on The Landscape

November 20th, 2002

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Ok, the “Books” category is lagging behind with the number of posts, so I’ll try and even it out by doing a review of one of the 3 paper backs I read yesterday – “Blott On The Landscape” by Tom Sharpe.

Sir Giles Lynchwood, MP, married Maud Handyman of Handyman Hall, Cleene Gorge, Worfordshire, for her money and property. But, due to a pre-martial agreement, the only way he can get some money for Handyman Hall is by arranging to have a new motorway (M101) put through Cleene Gorge and Handyman Hall subject to a compulsory purchase order. But Giles could not take into account the actions and problems caused by the numerical-obsessed Ministry Of Environment troubleshooter Dundridge or Lady Maud’s adoring gardener Blott…
» Read more: Book Review: Blott on The Landscape

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