A new book sold in Flourish and Blotts? The Rhetorical Book of Rhetoric alongside The Monster Book of Monsters?

Well, this is not untypical for me during the academic terms: it’s 4:45am and I’ve been awake for about an hour. Someone slammed a door down the hall, and I woke up startled. I think I was dreaming about arguable theses or rhetorical analysis (!). It was something to do with my students, I know (they’re finishing up their argumentative research papers and beginning work on the rhetorical analysis paper on Monday). I went to sleep thinking about lesson plans for the rhetorical analysis. And right now I just thought of the Dixie Chicks’ song “Earl” as an example of pathos and hyperbole.

Anyway! So, to help myself get back to sleep I often read Harry Potter (though obviously it didn’t work because I’m still awake and writing this post!).  So this time I started reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban where I left off the last time. Harry is hanging out in Diagon Alley for three weeks waiting for the beginning of the fall term at Hogwarts. He goes into Flourish and Blotts to buy his required school books, one of which is The Monster Book of Monsters.

As Harry entered Flourish and Blotts, the manager came hurrying towards him.
“Hogwarts?” he said abruptly. “Come to get your new books?”
“Yes,” said Harry. “I need –”
“Get out of the way,” said the manager impatiently, brushing Harry aside. He drew on a pair of very thick gloves, picked up a large, knobbly walking tick and proceeded towards the door of the Monster Books’ cage.
“Hang on,” said Harry quickly, “I’ve already got one of those.”
“Have you?” A loom of enormous relief spread over the manager’s face. “Thank heavens for that, I’ve been bitten five times already this morning –”
A loud ripping noise rent the air; two of the Monster Books had seized a third and were pulling it apart.
“Stop it! Stop it! cried the manager, poking the walking stick through the bars and knocking the books apart. “I’m never stocking them again, never! it’s been bedlam! I thought we’d seen the worst when we bought two hunded copies of the Invisible Book of Invisibility – cost a fortune, and we never found them… Well… is there anything else I can help you with?”

Too funny. What a great way to dramatize the power of books, of writing. Though a book called The Rhetorical Book of Rhetoric doesn’t have that much punch, does it. But if the magical community did have such a book, perhaps each copy would make the unsuspecting book shopper swoon or sit mesmerized or fascinated or convinced of some new idea — or something — whenever they opened the binding.  Or, how about The Pathetic Book of Pathos? Whatever page the reader opens up to, whatever the type of pathos the author is describing makes the reader immediately feel that emotion, that frame of mind? Hmmm!

Okay! Well, anyway! I had better try to get back to sleep. I am getting a bit sleepy again. Finally.

Night night. I mean — morning, morning!


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