Percy Jackson

… is the young hero of a series of fantasy novels by Rick Riordan.

… is the young hero of a series of fantasy novels by Rick Riordan. A friend just gave me the first, The Lightening Thief.

Even to explain the premise would be a spoiler, but it’s both unexpected and profound. The stories are very nicely written. The obvious comparison is the Harry Potter series; these books are shorter, without the wealth of Dickensian characters, but correspondingly more tightly plotted. Overall, I’d say the literary level is about the same, and I rate Rowling high, though not as high as Ursula LeGuin, whose Earthsea stories are unmatched.

And, as it happened, Moe’s in Berkeley turned out to have a hardcover copy of Tolkien’s superb Smith of Wootton Major, an astonishingly fine performance and with nary a hobbit in sight.

Update A reader points to a newly published Tolkein volume containing not only Smith of Wootton Major, but Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and the wonderful and underappreciated Roverrandom.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com