Wednesday, 24 December 2008

I am not a Harry Potter Wannabe!

After discussing various delightful books and my delight in them, I ventured to read an author (well, her books) recommended to me by TimT.

Eva Ibbotson. I started wth reading The Secret of Platform 13.

Now, the plot and characters are fairly simple - no deep soul searching or worldly messages much, but it's a fun ride, and extremely entertaining. I enjoyed it greatly and am keen to read more.

I decided to peep at to find what others had to say about Ms Ibbotson's book, and people were not surprisingly divided into camps of those who hated it and those who loved it.

But what was annoying was when I read many reviews, instead of spending much time wrting about the book, per se, many either sent time writing about how it was a Harry Potter wannabe book or like Harry Potter except not as good; or defending the book by saying it was better than or as good as Potter, or pointing out that it couldn't be a Potter wannabe as it was written befoer the Potter books were published, so the book is still honourable, so there, so there!

Now, I've heard some weird stories about manuscripts that land on publishers' desks that tout themselves as "the next Harry Potter crossed with the Da Vinci Code" - not exactly sure what the plotline for that book would be, but how does that happen befor Harry Potter and the Code even exist?

And nowadays, I'm so over reading about Potter everywhere, I couldn't care.

Does every kids' book have to be reviewed in terms of how it compares to Harry, even when the similarities are practically non-existent? Even if someone has been inspired by a bit of Harry-reading, unless it's outright plagiarism, who gives a damn? People get their inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. When they sit dwn to write, probably many don't even know where all their inspirations and influences actually come from.

Disclaimer: If I ever publish anything, the story is based on fictional events that took place anywhere but Hogwarts or Privet Drive. Unless it is based on non-fictional events that occurred anyplace but Hogwarts or at Privet Drive. But it definitely isn't based on Harry Potter events. Unless, errh, I disclaim otherwise. Uh, that's all, folks. For now.

Totally, Unexpectedly, Made a Friend (Sort of)

It was getting to the end of the year and I decided I wanted to use up the bit of money that my health fund allows me for optometry cover. Heck, I pay them a certain amount each year, I guess I should try to get some of it back, although I s'pose trying to get run over by a bus so I could get myself a few days in the luxury of a private hospital wasn't the best way to do it.

So I opted for the new glasses.

Mr Coffee advised me on a few places in the city which had a wide range of glasses, so I went off to one, all with the full intention of being a canny customer - I would check out each store, take notes, ask intelligent questions and go for the one with the best deal.

Well, I stopped by Laubman & Pank in Myer first off, and unfortunately, canny customer went straight out the window. They were so nice and sweet and told so many funny jokes without being annoying that I decided to spend my money with them without checking out the other stores first.

This is where I go from canny, astute customer to TOTAL SUCKER FIRST CLASS. They were good.

Well, I seem to have picked a pair of specs I like, and got a new eye test.

The staff fluttered around me like I was a celebrity. I'm surprised I wasn't asked for my autograph. I was in a tizzy afterwards and came back from the optometrist walking as ifmy shoes had little wings on them.

However, there was one teensy weensy problem - the machine through which I had to swipe my medical benefits card was broken at the moment but they would be getting it fixed soon, certainly in time for me to get my rebate back by the end of the year. They'd call me the minute it was fixed.

The next day I happened to be in the area so athough I hadn't received a call I decided to pop in just to see how everything was going.

No, the machine wasn't fixed, but they were definitely on to it.

What was supposed to be a 3 second pop in ended up in me chatting to the girl there about my current glasses - and ten suddenly her sitting down and giving me a whole cutesy optometry lesson - and then a whole talk about the history of glasses and contact lenses and discusing fashion - and Christmas - and work - and the Christmas sales - and current affairs ...

Oh how did that happen? Suddenly she was my best buddy, even if we were standing there bending over a counter of eyedrop displays!

The spell was broken when she said, "Whoops, a customer!" and I realised I really ought to get back. Maybe it was time for dinner.

Get your eyes checked, and make a friend. It should be the new spectacles slogan.

BTW, I'm still waiting for the machine to be fixed. Who knows what could happen when I go to swipe my card?