Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Uncracked Tome


Like virtually every reader of this blog, I own ( and have owned for 24 hours) a copy of that book...you know the one. Unlike a few of them, I haven't finished it. Unlike even more of them, I haven't started it, and probably won't for a bit, probably not until at least 10 tonight, and maybe not for several days.

This is not because I am disinterested in what happens, or am in any other way blase about the book, the narrative arc, whatever. Willow and I were reading the before many were in the craze (We started them when Prisoner came out, which means while we were hardly early adopters, we were swept up in what seems like the first wave of the craze itself).

Instead, I'm waiting for bedtime, and specifically, a bedtime when Willow and I are both alert enough for the bedtime story. Because we're treating this volume of the series as we have every other volume of Harry Potter: we're reading it aloud to one another, aswe have every other word of the series.

Willow pitched the idea when Prisoner came out that we try them out as bedtime stories--she had picked up a paperback copy of Sorcerer's Stone, and we read it aloud and really enjoyed it. So she went out and picked up hardcovers of Chamber and Prisoner, and the fall before we were married, we spent much of a vacation, an erstwhile wine-and-antiques long weekend in the Shenandoah Valley gobbling up the books in large chunks.

We waited for Goblet while plans for the movie series were bandied about, and when we got our copy in the mail, we shut ourselves up for several evenings, and while we didn't finish it in the one-sitting fashion that some were already using to consumer the book, we got through it pretty efficiently. It was, however, the first time we were really confronted with the need for restraint, not to read ahead of the other, to put it down after a chapter (or two) a night before the final push took up a whole Saturday.

Through this process, characters began to develop voices that remained consistent across time--my Hagrid sounds not unlike Michael Caine, Dobby sounds like what some will remember as the voice of the magical character Glomer from the Saturday morning cartoon version of Punk Brewster, Mad-Eye Moody is so gruff that I have trouble staying in character for a whole chapter, and Umbridge is breathy and treacly-sweet.

Order of the Phoenix went more slowly: Willow was 6 months pregnant with the twins, and so bedtimes were getting tougher to predict, what with all the fun sleeping obstacles that a twin pregnancy offers. That said, a 10-hour-each-way drive to a vacation in Canada, plus the very leisurely week in between meant that we got through the angry book soon after we had returned.

Half-Blood Prince was the greatest challenge: it came out while we moving to BRU, and we had 20-month-old twins. Our sleep patterns were always disrupted, and a major sleep disturbance period immediately after our move meant that the book was abandoned for weeks at a time. Then, the pressures of my first TT job meant that I was spending a good number of evenings lesson planning and grading. As a result, we spent a good 8 months in the dark knowing neither who died nor who killed. Our friends were remarkably sympathetic, for no one spoiled it for us over that period.

Now, the kids are almost 4, and their bedtimes are reliable and still early. Our vacations for the summer are over, but vacations now are more stressful than our regular summer schedule, so that's a good thing. So tonight, or tomorrow, or soon, I'm looking forward to dusting off that British schoolboy-in-puberty voice and reading a bedtime story to my sweetheart. Hopefully, we'll be done by the time school starts.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Thank you for the nice post.