Tuesday, July 17, 2007

HP7, fireplaces, and technology

Okay. I am bored to tears with Harry Potter. This morning I was reading Shelf Awareness, an online daily column for booksellers, and it was almost all devoted to Harry Potter, which is now familiarly called HP7. Being slow, it took me a moment to catch on to that one. And Harry Potter replaced the book section in Sunday's paper, has dominated the lifestyle section every day for two weeks, and is simply everywhere you turn. I'm not a Harry Potter fan, never will be, so my resentment is even greater. But one item on Shelf Awareness was sort of the final straw: next month visitors to the Iowa State Fair can see a lifesize HP made out of butter and kept in the refrigerated case in the dairy exhibit, right next to the cow made of butter. What desperate mind linked butter, dairy exhibits, and Harry Potter? As an author, I am pleased for J.K. Rowling's success and not envious, though I'd like 1/24th as much siccess or even less. But I think the world, particulary media, has taken her brilliant idea and gone mad with it.
Independent booksellers aren't too happy with the way marketing is being handled either, but that's another story. One very good thing has come of HP: more kids are reading. I talked recently with Rick Riordan, who has his own highly successful fantasy series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, amd he freely admits that he is happily riding on Rowling's coattails.
Jeannie picked out a fireplace screen for me--surely I've mentioned Jacob's proclivity for eating the gravel out of the fireplace. I pointed out that he would pull a screen over on himself, and his mother was rather blase about that--it would hurt him and he wouldn't do it again, she said, but he wouldn't be choking on asbestos gravel. Jay, next door, pointed out a way to attach the screen to the ring holder for the damper chain. So Jeannie came by with the screen, and it looks great in the living room--she, Jamie, and I stood there and appraised it. The more I survey the room, though, the more Victorian it looks to me--all cluttered with pictures, statuettes (okay, they're awards won and I won't hide them!), and various geegaws. The fireplace screen is the final touch. No more! From now on, I'm simplifying (famous last words!).
My internet problems were solved today by the technician who came to make a housecall. After I worried about shorts, etc., it seems I had plugged my new phone into the DSL line instead of the phone line, thereby diluting the signal. Sorry, but I can't get more technical than that. Thanks, though, to Mike Long for responding to my troubles with indexing by pointing out that InDesign has a function that automatically corrects the index--now, if I only could get out designers to change to InDesign.

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