In honor of Her Maj’s 70 years on the biggest, most velveteen chair there is, some confederation of tweedy Eton types called “The Reading Agency” have compiled a list of the best 70 best Commonwealth books since 1952. Le Booking Lads have chosen a diverse collection of ten published books per each decade of the Queen’s reign. But among such picks as Omerus, a Caribbean retelling of the Odyssey by Derek Wolcott, and Jean Rhys’s 1966 masterpiece Wide Sargasso Sea, there’s one glaring omission: HRH Harry Potter himself.
What does Harry’s absence mean for the Commonwealth at large? He is, after all, the most British of all the little blokes, and he’s the reason I know words like “bloke” (also shout out to the late, great Louise Rennison, whose masterpiece Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging series was also rudely omitted). Could the Queen still be reeling from her own Harry’s defection from the Crown to Tyler Perry’s guest house in Montecito, and seeing the name on a list is far too painful for her to endure? Or is it another classic example of “the Orlando theme park is better than the book”?
It might be about Rowling herself. According to the Daily Mail, the snub “comes as Ms Rowling, 56, has faced continual accusations of transphobia after she mocked an online article in June 2020 which used the words 'people who menstruate' instead of 'women.’” Not to put too fine a point on it, but uhhh, wasn’t she fighting with Vladimir Putin about cancel culture like four days ago, shortly after attending a Klan-lite “boozy TERF lunch”? She’s done a bit more than “mocking an online article,” although to be clear, I do think “mocking an online article” is an offense worthy of weighty consequences, especially if I wrote the online article.
Anyway, some other shit like A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall made the cut for the 1990s and 2000s instead. Sorry, JK. JK, the Queen’s not sorry.