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Monday, Jul 23, 2007

I reviewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the Macleans.ca website today. After some discussion with my editor, we decided to run a spoiler-filled piece. There was a lot of debate about this in the office before and after we published. Arguments in favor of the spoiler review: We gave fair warning; no one will decide to read or not read the book based on my opinion of it; readers who haven’t finished the book aren’t reading reviews yet; and reviewing the book without revealing major plot points misses an opportunity to engage with readers who have reached the end. Arguments against: a review without spoilers can say just as much as a review with; people may go to the page and accidentally see something they don’t want to; spreading word about what happens allows jerks the opportunity to ruin it for friends.


Did we make the right move?


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Monday, Jul 23, 2007

Everyone at the airport had extra baggage with them this weekend, namely the 750-odd-page hardcover Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Some readers had just started, others seemed to be over halfway through already, their faces a mask of exhaustion and anticipation. If it seemed like a race, that’s because it was. The point was to finish the book as fast as humanly possible before the ending or any major plot points were ruined by the professional spoilers who were eagerly posting pages on the Internet and spreading the word as fast as possible. (Anecdotal evidence points to adolescent kids, the same kind who like to tell their younger classmates that Santa Claus doesn’t exist—when, that is, they take a second from pulling the wings off flies—shouting out plot spoilers at the midnight release parties.) In some sense, it wasn’t necessary, as most all the rumors floated before the books went on sale turned out not to be actual spoilers but just snarky guesses. For some reason all this guesswork was deemed grand entertainment by many, including the irritating pair of fellow travelers sitting near me who demanded to know, “Who dies?!”


In any case, the weekend is over, the sales totals are still being counted and exclaimed over (8.3 million!), and the book is finished; what next but the hangover? As someone who has never quite felt comfortable with the term “guilty pleasure,” I do find that to be the term that came up in my mind time and again upon completion of each J. K. Rowling book, and now that I have closed the cover on the series as a whole and thought of the books that I could have read in the same time period, I can safely say: I think I wasted my time.


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Monday, Jul 23, 2007

The Chicago Tribune has this inspirational story of a funding model for jazz organizations that’s bearing all kinds of fruit.  Here’s the gist of it: “The ingenuity of this model is that any corporation or foundation in the partnership can contribute money to any particular jazz organization, to suit its own funding mandate. So if Boeing is impressed with the work of the AACM or Jazz Unites, as it has been, it can direct its cash to that organization—it has no obligation to conform to the wishes of other foundation members. If the Joyce Foundation sees particular merit in the Asian Improv aRts Midwest, which it does, it can write a check accordingly.” Though this is still in its infancy, its success could serve as a model for other cities too.


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Monday, Jul 23, 2007

Considered “one of America’s most consistently interesting bands,” Wilco provides music genres for everyone, spanning from alternative country to experimental rock. Formed in 1994, Wilco began playing country, earning minimal success, but in 2002, they released Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album considered one of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone, selling over 590,000 copies. Since then, Wilco has maintained success, receiving two Grammys for their fifth studio album, A Ghost is Born. Their latest album, Sky Blue Sky, sold over 87,000 copies in its first week, hitting the charts in the U.S. and internationally.


What Light:


I’m The Man Who Loves You from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot:



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Monday, Jul 23, 2007

Where I am today. And so should you be, too!






Everyone should come to Paris. For some time—the longer the better. For Paris is . . . so many things. Wonderful things. Dreamy things. Undreamable things. Lyrical things. Things never before seen—or smelled or thought (or done!). Everything. At once.


Of course, there certainly must be dark things, uncomfortable things, things to grouse about and things one would wish to improve. But, that is (generally) not to think about today. Not in this space. For us, the peripatetic touristes who are simply busy thinking and viewing and talking about Paris in a positive light. And even as we encounter one or more things less light along the way, well—that can be revealing in a way not altogether so awful (since revelation is good!)


 


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