Soggy Potter book could be sign

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Guest columnist

My life is not so boring that I need to go out of my way to poke somebody,
offend a few, or otherwise provoke e-mail to further bury my in-box. (My
saved e-mails just broke into five figures.) But, I’ll tell you anyway: I
love Harry Potter.

If confession is called for, I confess: I am a serious fan. I’ve got all
the books. I’ve read them, loved them, and I think, somewhere along the
line, I’ve listened to all of the unabridged audio versions on CD at least
once. (The guy who reads for those audio recordings is outstanding.) I’m
ashamed to say that now that the sixth movie has been released (I’ve
heard it was great) I’m two Harry Potter movies behind, but I’ll enjoy
catching up.

Two of my all-time favorite gifts were given to me by the same dear
friend. Both have to do with Harry.

One is the first edition English version of “Harry Potter and the Order of
the Phoenix,” bought in person at a bookstore across the street from
Buckingham Palace.

And the other? Well, it’s an edition of the very first book, “Harry Potter
and the Sorcerer’s Stone” — in Latin: “Harrius Potter et Phosophi Lapis.” No,
I’ve not yet sat down to try to read much of it. I was blessed to go to
school when Latin was available, and I still think this “dead” language,
very much alive in its influence on English, probably should be required
for students. But my Latin is as rusty as my hair is gray. By the way,
Latin is only one of the 50 languages into which the Harry Potter books
have been translated.

But I’ve got a complaint about the most recent one, and my gripe has
nothing to do with the subject matter.

You see, for my part, though I respect others who disagree, I think the
Harry Potter story is just that—a brilliantly imaginative and delightful
story, and, by the way, a story based on the Christ-like sacrifice of the
main character’s mother. The story is based on a fight against evil.

But maybe I ought to be more worried about my own tastes. Two of my
all-time favorite book series—”The Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis, and
“The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien—also have a few witches and
wizards scurrying about the pages.

I’m not worried.

Aside from the usual decisions about “age appropriateness” that are always
called for, I doubt Harry Potter will do any harm to kids or adults, and
my wife thinks I’m old enough to read it.

I love John Wayne movies. I’ve watched them all my life, and it’s been
years now since I shot anybody in a saloon. I even like the Little Red
Riding Hood story, but I’m quite agaisnt siccin’ wolves on sick
grandmothers. A story is a story, and a good story is a wonderful gift.

But I do have a complaint.

They released this last book on a weekend. I was off at a wedding. The
book came. Good. It was left on the porch. That would have been good, but
the rain got home before I did. One very soggy book.

Maybe God does have something against Harry Potter. But I really don’t
think so.