Tag Archives: books

Harry Potter Forever

Harry Potter is having a bit of a resurgence in my life right now. Actually, he seems to be having a bit of a resurgence in general. Myself and two of my friends all decided within the last few months, completely independently, to re-read the entire series. Truth: I’ve done this several times since reading the first book when I was 11.

They never get old to me. They’re as enjoyable on the 10th read as they were on the 2nd (but let’s face it, NOTHING compares to the first read through of any book, let alone a series as universally beloved as Harry Potter). I watch the movies regularly as well. ABC Family makes it easy because they have Harry Potter marathons pretty much every weekend (and they air deleted scenes, you guys!). I have a Pottermore account, which goes largely unused until recently, when J.K. Rowling posted new material about where our favorite Hogwarts alums are now in the form of a Rita Skeeter article that was supposed to be focusing on the Quidditch World Cup, which took place this year (spoiler alert, Bulgaria won, with Krum out of retirement as seeker!).

I’m sure there are lots of articles and blog posts ruminating on why Harry Potter has such staying power, why the series is loved by children and adults alike, so I won’t go into that here. But I will talk a bit about why I think Harry Potter still means so much to me.

I grew up with Harry and the gang. The first book came out when I was 11, the same age Harry was in the first book. I remember very clearly sitting in my living room and my dad handing me this book he said he had read about in the newspaper. At this point I was old enough to think that whatever my dad thought might be “cool” probably wasn’t at all and I was also not yet old enough to think anyone could find anything of interest in a newspaper.

I didn’t want to read it. I started reading it anyway. And I was immediately hooked. What 11-year-old doesn’t dream that perhaps they are really a prince or princess or maybe they were switched at birth their rich, famous parents could show up any minute to whisk them away into a life of luxury? (Still waiting on that, actually.) Point being, the idea that poor Harry had a half-giant show up and tell him “Hey, you’re a wizard and you can do magic and you’re going to come with me and live in this magical world and have an owl for a pet” was extremely appealing. HOW COOL.

I then spent the next ten years of my life beholden to the publishing schedule of these books. I waited YEARS between some of the last ones. I went to midnight book releases. Then, they started making them into movies. This wonderful, magical, imaginative world that I was so enamored with was being brought to life. I stood in line for midnight showings (but I did not dress up. I had to draw the line somewhere). And don’t even get me started on Harry Potter World in Florida. (I DID wear Gryffindor colors for that visit…)

And then, when I turned 21, it all ended. Coincidentally, I suppose you could say the books ended when my childhood did. (When you can go to a bar and legally order a [butter]beer that basically means you’re an adult, right?) It was the weirdest feeling. Like someone died. NO more Harry? But…what? That’s probably when I decided to re-read the books for the first time.

They’re always there for me. The books are kind of like a security blanket for me. Nothing to read? It’s ok, all seven books are on my Kindle and I can read them whenever I want, complete with my favorite lines highlighted. I also have all eight movies on DVD, in case it’s a rainy weekend and for some weird reason they’re not on ABC Family. I have the Harry Potter theme music on my phone, as both a ringtone and the actual song, just in case I need a touch of magic during my morning commute.

I have all these things, and I enjoy them, because they take me back to when I was 11 and finding Harry for the first time. Nothing can compare to the original time you read a book, but every time I start the Sorcerer’s Stone (“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much”) it takes me back a little bit.

When life is rough or in some kind of flux, I turn to Harry. Because he doesn’t change. He always makes it out okay in the end. And whatever is going wrong in my life at the time prroobbably isn’t as bad as an evil wizard constantly trying to kill you. Perspective.

They stand the test of time. There’s nothing in these books that dates them. No pop culture references to make it obvious when they were written. The stories themselves never seem trite or immature, even reading them as an adult. They were enjoyed by people of all ages when they were originally published, and I don’t see that changing.

I can’t wait to read them to my children someday and share the magic with them. I can only imagine that the next best thing to being able to read them for the first time again is getting to see a child experience them for the first time. Lord help me if my kids don’t like Harry Potter. I”m sending them back.

I don’t know how J.K. Rowling managed to create this amazing global phenomenon. I mean, she jotted down the original idea on a napkin, and it somehow grew into what it is. Still, nearly 20 years later, Harry Potter is A Thing. Rowling is still giving us some original material via Pottermore. They’ve just expanded The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. It truly is magical.

So obviously, J.K. Rowling is a witch.

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April Books

I did way better with my book count in April. This is mainly in part to a horrendously boring work project and my discovery of audiobooks. The two went together like peanut butter and jelly and I managed to finish THREE books while working on the project. So I guess the horrible, brainless project was balanced out by getting to enjoy three books while I did it.

I’d never listened to an audiobook before. I thought I wouldn’t be able to focus. Now I’m obsessed. I listen in the car. I listen before bed, like someone is reading me a bedtime story. It’s amazing.

Anyway, here are the books for April!

The Here and Now – Ann Brashares

I didn’t love this one. The premise was intriguing and I loved the Traveling Pants series when I was younger, but I felt meh about this. The love story part of the book was really just horrible if I’m being honest.

Timebound – Rysa Walker

This one wasn’t too bad. It was about time travel, which for some reason always sucks me in. It had a lot of historical elements which could get a bit snoozy. Lots of heavy blocks of text. The romance aspect felt like it was tossed in at the last minute and added nothing to the story, so that was problematic once again.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I had an interesting reaction to this one. I enjoyed reading the book, but when I went on Goodreads and read the reviews I found myself agreeing with many of the complaints people had. It ended up changing how I felt about the story. In any case, it was an enjoyable read if you don’t think too deeply about it.

Looking for Alaska – John Green

John Green is my man. While this was no Fault in Our Stars, it was good.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

This started out so strong! A mysterious bookstore, how intriguing! This was also my second foray (more on the first later) into audiobooks and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this. But as the story went on, it just kind of started to suck. So that was super disappointing. Womp womp.

The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak

Amazing. Everything you’ve heard is true. Don’t bother with the movie.

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman, oh how I love thee. This was an audiobook which was delightfully read by Gaiman himself, thus making the entire experience that much more magical.

And finally, though this doesn’t count towards my total for this endeavor,  The Devil in the White City (Abandoned).This was my first audiobook attempt and holy crap. More like The Mayor of Boring City. As my mom would say this just “wasn’t my cup of tea”. I ditched it about 1/4 of the way through.

Total: 20

I’ll be back next month with my books from May! (I’m already getting a slow start, ugh.) Also, are you on Goodreads? If you are, add me as a friend! I love seeing what others are reading, and occasionally I’ll write slightly better reviews than the ones I write here.

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January Books

So, remember when I made the resolution to read 100 books this year? It turns out that’s a lot of books. I mean, I know how much 100 is. I knew it was a lot going into it. But then N so helpfully did the math for me (math is obviously not my strong suit) and told me that meant I needed to read one book every three-and-a-half days.

That’s a lot of reading, you guys.

No matter, I am still trucking along. Let’s see how close I get to 100, at the very least. These are the books I finished in January:

 

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If You Were Here – Jen Lancaster

Thoughts: This was just okay. It was a fluffy, easy read. It read like a fictionalized account of her real-life experiences, which is pretty much exactly what it was. Her memoirs are all really funny, and I think her writing style is better suited for memoirs.

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The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

Thoughts: Loved this one.  A unique story, it didn’t feel like anything I’ve ready before, which is always refreshing when you read as much as I do. Definitely pick this one up.

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The Boy in the Suitcase – Lene Kaaberbol

Thoughts: Meh. I didn’t love this one. Apparently it’s the first in a series and I don’t care to continue with the series, so that says something. It’s a crime drama which I can take or leave. It’s somewhat in the vein of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, but only in that it’s Scandinavian and involves crime, I suppose.

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Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Thoughts: Loved this one. Adding everything else Gaiman has written to my list for this year. This was a wonderful, whimsical, fairy tale. Ugh, so good.

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The Phantom Tollbooth – Norman Juster & The Mark of the Dragonfly – Jaleigh Johnson

Thoughts [Tollbooth]: I didn’t love this one. I know it’s a classic and all, but it didn’t knock my socks off. It was definitely clever and fun, but not my favorite.

Thoughts [Dragonfly]: The publisher was giving away ARCs for this book, and I like free things. That being said, I also thought the cover was pretty, and I judge books by their covers. Now that we know I am a cheap and judgmental person, I will tell you that I thought this book was pretty good. It’s sort of a middle grade steampunk-fantasy type story. I hope this is part of a series, because while this book stands on it’s own just fine, there’s definitely a lot more to explore in the world Johnson has created here.

 

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Hollow City – Ransom Riggs

Thoughts: Obviously I ordered this as soon as it was available, since I liked the first one so much. I don’t know why. These books are good (I read both really quickly), but they’re so weird. I don’t know how else to describe them. Good but weird.

So that rounds out my January total at 7 books. I gotta step up my game here.

*Note: This post does contain affiliate links. They will all re-direct you to Amazon, where I purchased 90% of these books.

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Friday Night Likes

I’ve decided to start a new series here on ye olde blog, and I’m calling it Friday Night Likes, an adorable play off the title of everyone’s favorite television series, Friday Night Lights.

In this series, every Friday night I will post something I’ve been crushing hard on lately. This could be anything – clothes, food, beauty products, TV shows, songs, movies…you get the idea. I’m a Lover of Things and I enjoy sharing my love.

For my first installment, I am sharing the book series I am currently completely obsessed with, the Deadwood Mystery series by Ann Charles:

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The first book in the series.

I found these delightful gems via BookBub, have you guys heard of it? It’s a brilliant concept. You sign up for their services (completely free!) and choose which genres of books you like to read, and each day they email you a listing of ebooks that meet your specifications and are also on sale or FREE. You can click right from the email to a link where you can buy a title and have it on your Kindle, nook, iPad, whatever, in seconds. It’s perfect for when you want a good book quick and don’t want to spend a ton of money on it. It’s also excellent if you’re a voracious reader like I am and find yourself spending your nest egg money on books (better than on drugs, I suppose). The company is actually based in Cambridge, MA and I have been desperately trying to get a job there. BookBub, if you’re reading this, you have found your next phenomenal employee. Please contact me!

Ok, this has turned into a two-for-one Friday Night Like, since I hadn’t originally planned on waxing poetic about BookBub, but there you have it.

Back to the books.

They’re fantastic. They’re funny, suspenseful, charming and unique. They have romance and supernatural elements (but not enough for me to fully lump them in the supernatural category, so if you’re not into that I wouldn’t let it discourage you) and are very well written. They even have some juicy dirty bits thrown in there in a way that makes sense and won’t make you feel uncomfortable and weird (*cough* Fifty Shades *cough*). Each books is a new mystery, with some overarching stories that span the series woven throughout as well. They have great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

And, the best part, all the ebooks are on Amazon for under $4. Can’t beat that! Go check them out if you’re looking for a new read!

**This is NOT a sponsored post. I just really love everything I’ve mentioned here. I am receiving no compensation to say any of this.**

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