EBH: ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ as Seen from a Traditional Catholic’s Perspective

Welcome, welcome to another guest this week. Sayf Bowlin is a Catholic seminarian and fan of the science fiction / fantasy genre who enjoys the interplay between faith, reason and pop culture. He has graciously sent along his insights on the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for our conversation.  Thanks for helping me with this subbing gig, Sayf!–Elizabeth

Percy Jackson and the Olympians:

My Two Drachmas: Some thoughts on the Series from a Catholic Perspective

by  Sayf Bowlin, KCHS

When I was in middle school, I read ravenously, so much so that my bus driver used to call me “the Professor.”  One of the subjects which I liked to read was Greek mythology. In my reading, I remember coming across a book in the school library which had an interesting conclusion.  It said that at some point in the history of Greece, the Christians came with their crucifixes and drove the Greek gods away – but they were waiting until the day they could return.  At the time, I thought this was very clever and liked the fact that it took Christianity seriously (so I thought), acknowledging that true worship of God banishes all idolatry (or so I thought).  Another book I saw recently in a book store concluded with the proclamation that the gods “are still with us.”  It would appear that this is the case, at least per Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

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EBH: The Hogwarts Professor Will Be At Pace University Friday April 30—Mark your Calendars!

If you don’t happen to live in the Midwest and can’t get to any of the fantastic programs John will be presenting over the next several days, don’t worry: he’s coming back east. On April 30, he will be at Pace University to sign copies of Spotlight as part of their Twilight-themed afternoon and evening. Nancy Reagin, editor of Twilight and History, will also be featured and will sign books. Knowing John and Nancy, it will be an absolutely super evening and well worth a visit to the big apple (very appropriate for a Twilight talk)!

Here is the official invite: [Read more…]

Writing for ‘Twilight and History’ from the Guest Professor, Elizabeth Baird Hardy (EBH)

twihistory History is full of unexpected turns of events, moments that spin an otherwise directed course onto a completely different path.  Such moments also litter our personal histories. In the spring of 2009, suffering from a cold and just happy to curl up in a chair with my likewise afflicted daughter, I finally gave in to pressure from my students and began reading Twilight. I generally try to stay abreast of what interests my students, which is sometimes a challenge with the wide variety of ages and backgrounds in a community college classroom. On the first day of class, I have them fill out an interest sheet, telling me what movies and books they like. Of course, I often see books that I know were eighth grade reading assignments, giving every indication that the student hasn’t read anything with chapters since then. Sometimes they try to impress me by including War and Peace or the Bible (although I remind them that putting the Bible in the same category with Nicholas Sparks is close to blasphemy, and suggesting that it’s one’s favorite recreational reading is like saying one’s hobby is breathing). Time and again, I saw the Twilight Saga on these sheets, often the sheets of students whom I regarded as thoughtful and sophisticated readers and writers. So, I borrowed the well-worn paperback from the library, snuggled up with my fellow sickie and a big box of tissues, and was, completely against my will and my expectations, enchanted.

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John Goes on April Speaking Tour – and an Over-Qualified Guest Hogwarts Professor Fills In!

I’ve been away from HogwartsProfessor for a few weeks to get ready for Pascha (Christos Anesti!) and to prepare all the talks I’ll be doing around the country this month. I won’t be here this next week but I found a replacement that will make you hope I never come back, by name Elizabeth Baird Hardy, author of Milton, Spenser and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels, and a contributor to the just released Twilight and History (ed. Nancy Reagin). A Harry Potter, Narnia, Spencer, Hunger Games, and Twilight wonk rolled into one and a real world Professor to boot! Thank you, Prof. Hardy, for taking the helm here. I’m looking forward to your posts!

My speaking schedule next week and the topics I’ll be discussing are listed after the jump. Please introduce yourself if you make it to any of them! [Read more…]

Mailbag: New ‘Twilight’ Novella? Pullman Piece?

Here are some notes from my HogPro inbox about the new Stephenie Meyer and Philip Pullman books and about why each author writes books like these:

On the new Meyer novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, you can read the Press Release here and the Publisher’s Weekly piece here (H/T to Ann-Laurel and Pallas Athena). The short version is that Mrs. Meyer was writing a lot of notes for the Eclipse movie makers and had planned a short piece for her Twilight Guide expanding on Bree Tanner’s life as a New Born, sleepless in Seattle; the story became too big as an add-on for the guide and, no doubt, Little Brown was happy to get another Twilight title out there. Perhaps to short circuit the accusation that this is a money-grab, though, Mrs. Meyer is offering the book online for free as a “thank you” to her fans.

Two quick notes: [Read more…]