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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

How do you take your Rowling?

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 07, 2017 05:01 am
A little bit of this, a little bit of that • Imagine being J. K. Rowling. You have changed the world! Well, if you haven’t changed it, you certainly have added to it. As an example: John Hurt recently died. John Hurt was a polished, excellent professional actor. He played many roles in his lifetime, including the one I remember most. It was “The Elephant Man,” for which he won awards. But in the paper last week the role that was mentioned was the wandmaker Ollivander in the Harry Potter series. Being connected to Harry Potter is magic (no joke intended). And immediately heads nod and people remember, “Oh, yes, John Hurt.” Imagine having your imprimatur so powerful! Ms. Rowling not only had her fans lined up at book stores waiting for the latest adventure to be released, but her world of wizardry has seemingly now become immortal and all-pervasive. How many authors can you name who have had such a lasting, powerful effect? J.R. Salinger maybe for a little while and George Orwell — and you can name a few, too. But J.K. Rowling seems to be president of the group of writers whose touch seems to be omnipresent.

The writers of our Declaration of Independence and our United States Constitution, of course, gave us writing that ensured our lives would have freedom and dignity and the opportunities to achieve and find happiness, et al, but they were in a class by themselves. I’m not saying Ms. Rowling gave us more than entertainment. But wow! what an effect — even on John Hurt.

• When I do the interviews for the Page Turner column, I often ask the interviewee if he or she reads actual books or prefers e-books. Now I’ve read a story about a study from the Pew Research Center that says people “still strongly favor paper over e-books.” Around 65 percent of those surveyed said they had read a paperback or hard cover during the past year and 28 percent said they had read e-books. And 14 percent said they had listened to an audio book. I found that interesting because so many of my friends swear by their electronic device. What about you? Are you like me, devoted to the real book you hold in your hand, or have you found the delight of the ever-with you, easy to light up electronic volume? And why is this your preference? I’d like to know.

• I plan to write a book column soon because there’s some good new reading out there, including Fannie Flagg’s latest. But until then, I’d like to recommend “The Underground Railroad,” by Colson Whitehead. Apparently, lots of you have read it; it’s been on the best-seller list for months. But if you haven’t read it yet, put in a reserve or treat yourself to a copy. We read about the railroad in high school history, and we rooted for those who dared to ride on it. But never have I read the awfulness of the treatment of human beings more graphically described. Here, in this narrative of our history, our eyes are again opened to the world as it was when Cora escaped from her Georgia plantation and fled - she hoped — to freedom.

More anon.

 Betty E. Stein is a retired teacher and resident of Fort Wayne. 

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