Participatory Democracy

I'm a little busy. Hardly any time for blogging. Or anything else, come to think of it.

It all started sometime around last weekend when I decided that I needed a bit of a break. Less running around and much more time spent in the park, reading. Given that The Book was released this Saturday and there was a better than average chance that I’d have it in my grubby little hands sometime this week, it started to seem like kismet and I was as excited as a... I was going to say 11-year-old, but given how many adults of my acquaintance have been jumping up and down about it, perhaps that analogy is not entirely accurate. You know what I mean when I say The Book, don't you? Yes indeed, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is finally out and thanks to divine intervention by the Tech God, it has been on my iPod since Tuesday evening.

It's been an interesting experience so far. Normally, it takes a while to get the feel of an audio book - well, that applies to a "book book", as well. You need time to suspend disbelief, to disappear into the universe existing between the "covers", to stop listening to the narrator and instead hearing the story. Not with this one. I guess it's returning to a beloved world, to characters I've come to know over the years and to a narrator describing this world expertly and with the same voices I’ve listened to for so many hours. I started reading late Tuesday night - it was dark and quiet and as I put on my earphones and pressed play, I closed my eyes and focused on the sound. Which meant I was instantly back where the last volume left off. The book starts with a bang - don't worry, this post will be spoiler-free and the comments…. Well, let’s just say if I see anything but the most general of comments regarding the book, I'm sending Kreacher to your IP address! A-hem.... where was I? Oh, yes! The combination of the writing of the first chapter, which is very well written and very effectively scary, and the brilliance of Jim Dale’s (go here and click on "watch the festivities" to hear him read - the man's a master!) portrayal of Voldemort - that's not a spoiler, you knew he'd be in it - creeped me out so much, I had to turn it off. All right, so I am somewhat impressionable, but holy parseltongue, Nagini! Cold shivers up and down my spine!

I'd had some trouble unplugging and doing the vacation thing, but the moment I parked myself under a tree and started listening again (this time in full daylight), I was lost. And have been lost ever since, consumed by all things Potter. When I'm not reading - and what a joy it is to just sit still and disappear into a book - I'm resenting activities that drag me away from it. And I'm not alone - I know of someone who called in sick to their job so they could finish the book, someone else has a circle of friends taking turns reading it aloud to each other and I know several who lost their weekends to the story. None of these people, by the way, are younger than 40.

This is a very long-winded way of saying that I don't have time to blog (oh, really Lene? The evidence begs to differ, you verbose git…). Therefore, I got the bright idea to let you do the work today. I mentioned a while ago that I'm trying to always have a non-fiction book on the go and I'm having trouble choosing the next one. Then it occurred to me to let you pick a book from the following list and after reading your choice (not until I’ve finished The Book, naturally), I’ll report back with a review. In alphabetical order, here are the options:

Body of Work. A memoir of medical school, this book is anchored by the author’s semester of gross anatomy and her dissection and relationship with "her" cadaver. The author was a poet and a writing teacher before she became a doctor, so this should be a treat to read.

The Island at the Centre of the World. This is a story of the original Dutch colony of new Amsterdam (pre-1664) that was taken over by the British and later became Manhattan. It's an era about which I know absolutely nothing, but it sounds intriguing.

Tigers in the Snow. I may have mentioned once or twice that I have this thing about tigers and have had this book for while, saving it for a special occasion. It is the story of the author’s travels in the Russian Far East, searching for the Siberian tiger. It sounds fascinating and any time spent in the company of tigers can only be good (provided you aren’t y'know... lunch).

What say you?

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