Books, Diversity, Geek Culture, Opinion, Primer

The Thursday Book Beat: Harry Potter and the Lackluster Curse(d Child)

I’m back from vacation, dear bookworms, and ready to dive right back into book news! While I was away, I got to read Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter and Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott by a lake, both of which are books you should definitely add to your TBR piles.

But of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the book that’s been on everyone’s mind this past weekend: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two was launched on Saturday night, and fans have been racing through it in the last few days. io9 brings up 9 3/4 WTF moments during the five-hour play, while Time compiles 8 questions they’ve been struggling with since closing the covers. And well, there were quite a few fans who were befuddled by the fact that Cursed Child is a rehearsal script and not an actual novel.

As it’s been about four days since I finished reading the play myself, I must admit that I still can’t tell how I feel about the story, or whether it was a satisfying addition to the Potter canon. Let me know what you thought in the comments!

My second bit of book news concerns a title I’ll be picking up later this week, now that I’ve knocked a few out during my time away. Not only has Oprah Winfrey revived her book club, but her newest pick just jumped up a full month from its original publication date! The Underground Railroad is Colson Whitehead’s next novel, and it wasn’t due out until September. Thanks to Oprah’s influence, readers can pick up a copy right now.

The publication date change is rather unprecedented, and says a lot about the pull Oprah has in the industry. Let’s hope that this is a good sign for the book’s success.

Speaking of influence, Khzir Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention has vaulted the United States Constitution into becoming an Amazon bestseller. Khan spoke of his deceased son, Captain Humyaun Khan, and the Khans’ sacrifice for their country, citing the rights that Captain Khan died defending in Iraq, the same rights contained in the Constitution. It was a powerful speech, and powerful evidence of the support for Muslim-American families like the Khans.

Similarly, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time also saw an uptick in Amazon purchases, after Chelsea Clinton spoke of how she shared her reading experiences with her mother, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The news comes at a rather perfect time, as Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation continues to move forward, with (and here we come full-circle in today’s column) Oprah joining the cast as Mrs. Which.