To her consternation, Jenny has finished her "module" on astronomy in science, as astronomy is one of Jenny’s interests, and is now onto "reproduction". Grim indeed, from her perspective, not least because she has a male science teacher, but also because this squirm-inducing topic was rammed down her throat in year 6 of primary school via 3 repeats of a government mandated video, including sex and childbirth (both "disgusting"), and she thought she’d seen the back of it for a while.  She was mortified, however, by tonight’s homework:

"Imagine you are a sperm cell. Tell the story of your epic journey from the testes, where you are made, to the woman’s egg. Describe the structures you pass through, and explain what happens when you finally meet up with the egg and get inside."

The horror. (And is it just me, or is it rather disturbing to mix anthropomorphism with biology education in this way?)

Random Jottings heads the list

Link: TypePad Featured Blogs: Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover.

Elaine of "Random Jottings" is at the top of the Typepad featured blog listings today. What a fantastic achievment. Well done to Elaine, whose blog I have come to look forward to each day.

From Typepad’s post about Elaine’s blog:  "Readers will delight in her trusted book reviews, of which there are many. Check out her favorite reads from 2006, and then visit her left sidebar to see what’s currently on tap. This is a valuable resource for avid readers of Victorian Literature, as well as book groups looking to add some classics to their 2007 calendar. Taking inspiration from her 94-year-old mother, Elaine has started a Personal Challenge. She will stretch her boundaries to include one new modern novel every month this year. Help her with suggestions, and have fun following along. Every once in a while she gets side-tracked by an episode of ER or The West Wing, but that just makes her voice more human. Shakespeare fans, you’re not alone. In fact, there’s room for everyone to follow this Renaissance woman from Colchester to Covent Garden and back again."

A word about Harry Potter

Link: The Millions (A Blog About Books): Harry Potter is Dead, Long Live Harry Potter.

From the above post: "While it’s unclear if the book industry will ever experience a phenomenon quite like Harry Potter again – the first six books have sold more than 325 million copies in 64 languages, dwarfing even The Da Vinci Code’s 60+ million copies in print – we can be sure that the press will spill many gallons of ink on the end of the series over the next six months or so. And to be honest, it’s probably deserved. There’s never been anything else quite like it."

Exactly. There are already hundreds of articles about the last book in the series, as well as at least two "pre-HP7" books that I know about. As we approach 21 July, there will be a lot more. Then there will be the reviews, the analyses and the postmortems. And the backlash or the glowing reassessment, depending on what position the commentator took last time round.

But at the end of the day, there it is. 325 million people are buying and reading (no "Brief History of Time" effect here) Harry Potter. What a wonderful, magnificent and rewarding experience for Harry’s creator, J. K. Rowling.