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The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914
Richard J. Evans
Progress: 219/928 pages
Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888
John C. G. Röhl
Progress: 229/1016 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 171 out of 652 pages.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince  - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

After over a two-week pause due to travel, I've resumed reading the Potter series. My enjoyment of the series has grown with each book, especially as I get into the later novels which I haven't unintentionally spoiled by seeing parts of the movies.


As much as I'm enjoying the books, though, there's something about the series that bothers me. Rowling does a great job of conveying the drama of the events surrounding Potter and the momentousness of his role in them (and her portrayal of Potter as almost more object than actor by the adults around him is excellent). But there's something about the focus that bothers me. It's a common one in most YA novels, but the scale of the drama in the Potter series accentuates it: the sense that one's best and most significant years are the ones we spend in school. It's a perspective I chafe against the older I get, and I think it contributes to a lot of the misery teenagers feel about their lives. Once they graduate they will discover that the world is so much bigger and better than the walls of one's school, and that the hangups and concerns that consumed them as teenagers can be left behind. To make school the pinnacle of one's life, though just seems to me to make kids who feel bad about themselves just feel worse when they read these books and feel worse that their lives are not as important or their achievements as great as those of the titular character. Perhaps I'm reading more into this than Rowling or other YA authors intend, but the message does shine through from what is otherwise a great series.