Literary Musings · To Read or Not to Read?

Harry Potter Reread. Book 1, Post 3

My thoughts on rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone pages 179-331.

  • I freely admit that I know more about Quidditch than I do any other sport in the world. Though after a discussion with a new friend we decided that the point system makes no sense at all. Oh well. Personally I think most sports make no sense.
  • As a librarian and a huge bookworm I just love that Harry gets an Invisibility Cloak and immediately decides to sneak into the library after hours. A character after my own heart.
  • It seems as though the size of the Invisibility Cloak changes each time it’s used. When Ron goes with Harry the first night they struggle to walk without being seen but then later on there seems to be no problem covering Harry, Hermione, and a crated dragon.
  • Once we go through the trapdoor things get so crazy and it becomes such a fast read. And I can only assume Dumbledore orchestrated it all so Harry, Ron, and Hermione could make it through. If not, the Hogwarts professors aren’t as clever with magic as they thought they were if a group of First Years got past it all.
  • Gotta say, the whole House Cup thing got really unfair once Harry got to Hogwarts.
  • And then the novel ends with something that really got me thinking this time around. Each student is issued with a reminder for them not to do magic during the school holidays. I have two issues with what happens here.
    • The twins say they wish the professor’s would forget about the reminder slip. But even if it was forgotten wouldn’t underage magic still be illegal?
    • Harry says something about how the Dursley’s don’t know he’s not allowed to do magic on holidays but shouldn’t Petunia have known that what with Lily being a witch? Or did the laws change that much in just a couple decades?
Literary Musings

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017: Update 1

So it begins yet again.

Camp National Novel Writing Month. That glorious time where, pretty much like every other month, I give myself an arbitrary word count goal for the month and attempt to reach it. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t and either way nothing really changes. But I do it anyways. I like goals and word counts. I like to keep track of things.

Now the thing about NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo is that, during those months, I at least try to go out of my way to write more than normal. It’s just that during camp the rules are a little less strict and I feel cool counting my novels and fanfiction and blog posts to reach that goal. And I’ve been doing that for the last couple years though it always seems that my word count goals get too lofty for my own good. (Which honestly makes sense. Summer is the worst time for a children’s librarian to try and do an excessive amount of anything.)

But this year may be different and that’s because a silly little TV that I deem one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures finally ended and it ended ridiculously. Like a “why in the freaking world didn’t you cancel it three years ago instead of turning it into this shit show?” kind of way. But it did give me an idea for a new novel. A new novel that, within just a few hours of my thinking of it, ended up with over four pages of outline. A novel that I am very excited about right now. This means that, between all of my other writing projects that I’m also excited about, I may just make that lofty word count.

Now let’s just hope I can eventually get the same kind of enthusiasm about editing.

Literary Musings · To Read or Not to Read?

Harry Potter Reread. Book 1, Post 2.

My thoughts on rereading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone pages 66-178.

  • This chapter about Diagon Alley contains so many little snippets of information about Gringotts that will become important later on and I never would have guessed how important. Dragons guard some vaults. Hey, meet Griphook! Good planning Ms. Rowling!
  • Ba ha ha! Draco Malfoy’s second line starts with “my father(‘s)…” The very line that will later be turned into a popular internet meme.
  • Hedwig! (And now I’m crying again. Damn it.)
  • Wait, why is Petunia surprised about the concept of Platform 9 3/4? Did that not exist when Lily went to Hogwarts? I mean, I know Petunia likes to say she hated her sister and her freaky magic but if you’ve read them all you know that wasn’t the case back in the day. When Petunia was little she wanted to go to Hogwarts! Wouldn’t she have paid attention to everything in regards to it?
  • Memories of Cursed Child are ruining the Hogwarts Express scene where Harry excitedly buys sweets from the trolley witch.
  • No wonder there are so many Harry/Draco shippers out there. 155 pages and barely a month into the school year and these boys are obsessed with each other. Harry’s worrying about looking like a fool in front of Malfoy during flying lessons and Malfoy is noticing how often Harry gets mail.
  • Whoa, I’d forgotten that, up until Halloween, Hermione Granger was just not likable at all.

And that’s it for my thoughts this go around!

Literary Musings · To Read or Not to Read?

Harry Potter Reread. Book 1, Post 1.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone I’ve decided to do a reread of the entire series. I also figured this was a good time to write down some of my thoughts as I go along. So here goes.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone pages 1-65.

  • “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” “There will be books written about Harry. Every child in the world will know his name.”
    • Eek! When I first read these lines nearly two decades ago I had no idea that they would become so important to me. The first line gives me chills and makes me smile because I know I’ve just begun this epic journey. I also can’t believe how true the other line has become throughout the years.
  • With some of these lines and quotes I can’t help but picture the movie and the actors/actresses speaking them. In some cases this might be annoying but when it comes to picturing Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonnagall it’s no problem at all.
  • The first appearance of Hagrid! And he mentions Sirius Black! If we’d only known then what we know now. (Also, I’m not crying. You’re crying. Shut up. Leave me alone.)
  • Wait a minute! That’s not the quote that ended up in the movie! They literally changed one word. Why?
  • Once Harry ends up at the Dursley home the plot moves fast which is probably a good thing. Also, I understand that Harry is at the Dursleys for protection and the Squib Arabella Figg is nearby but couldn’t Dumbledore have done more to make sure Harry wasn’t mistreated? Like with magic or something? Instead Harry grows up with no friends and is mistreated. You know, kind of like a certain Tom Riddle was. And we all know how well that turned out.
  • Whoa information drop, Hagrid. I get it, he’s right that Harry should know his own background before he meets other witches and wizards but he’s told about magic and Voldemort over the course of what feels like a ten minute conversation. I feel as though my mind would have just shut down if I’d been faced with so many earth shattering revelations in such a short time.

That’s it for the reread so far! I’ll be back in a day or two with more thoughts on my rereading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Literary Musings

20 Years of Harry Potter

Twenty years ago today a massive fandom was born. A fandom that I would later become obsessed with to the point where I can’t even remember how much money I’ve put into it. Let’s see. I have:

  • Three copies of the first novel. (One I had to replace due to wear and tear, the other is a special Ravenclaw edition for the 20th anniversary.)
  • Two copies of the second novel due to wear and tear.
  • VHS or DVD copies of all associated movies.
  • Homemade wands and purchased ones.
  • Pins and jewelry of all kinds.
  • Shirts. Tshirts, tank tops, sweaters.
  • Pop Funkos.
  • Tattoos.

The funny thing though? Back when the the first book was published I didn’t even care that much. I saw it in my school library in fifth grade and was somewhat interested and then someone checked it out. And every time I looked for it the book was still checked out. So, in sixth grade, I finally decided I had to do something about it. I waited and waited. I could not get my hands on Sorcerer’s Stone. This led me to doing something I had never done before and have hardly done since.

I picked up the second book in the series and I read it first.

You’d think reading book two first would have maybe put me off the series as a whole but nope. I devoured Chamber of Secrets, finally bought Sorcerer’s Stone at a school book fair a few months later, read that and then reread Chamber of Secrets. So began my life as a Harry Potter fan.

After that I started reading Harry Potter fanfiction. I started pre-ordering the books from Amazon and anxiously awaiting release days. I re-read the series each time a new book came out, timing it so precisely that I was usually finishing up the last book I already owned the day before or the day of the newest book release. I had a system.

I grew up with Harry Potter. He aged more or less as I did. He felt out of place and had a friend, Hermione Granger, who loved books and had big brown hair like I did and I felt like these characters, this author, got me like no one had before. It was amazing.

And then 2007 came and with it the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series. I had literally just finished my re-read of book six less than an hour before the doorbell rang and even though, at that point, I’d been up for nearly fifteen hours straight already I dove right in.

And then I kept putting it back down. Partially because characters kept dying and I couldn’t see straight. But mostly because I didn’t want it to end. I knew I could always re-read and yet there was always only going to be one first read and that was emotional. But finally, I did it. And though I’ve since written fanfiction that changed the plot around a bit I was satisfied.

And even though I’m nearly thirty I don’t regret the time and money and energy I’ve put into the fandom. Hell, I’m probably buying more HP merchandise now than every before. It’s just such a big part of my life and I’m not ashamed. And social media shows me everyday, but especially on HP related fandoms, that I’m not alone and that is awesome.

Just as JK Rowling once said, “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen,¬†Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

 

 

Literary Musings

Camp NaNoWriMo: July 2017

I have officially signed up for yet another session of Camp NaNoWriMo and though I started my word count goal out rather low I’m already not so sure that I’m going to make it. Mostly because it seems that every writing goal I’ve set for myself this year has not been met.

Now I do have legitimate excuses which I believe I’ve waxed on no less than a half a dozen times already on this blog. Addition of a puppy to the household, Summer Reading Program at the library, multiple sicknesses (honestly, the flu in March and a sinus infection in June? Who gets sinus infections in June?!) but I really don’t want to spend another post talking about that since I’m not even sure anyone is even reading this blog anymore other than for the book reviews. Which have also been few and far between lately…

So. July Camp NaNoWriMo. Since it’s more free form I’m hoping to take advantage of that and include blog posts, work write ups, and fanfiction in my word count just to try to get myself back on track. The puppers has finally started to settle down in the evenings so I should be able to start reading and writing before bed like I used to. I’ve finally started the reading but not necessarily the writing. (If Mycroft starts acting up it’s a lot easier to get a hardcover book/Kindle out of his way than it is a laptop or a notebook with loose pages and a pen. Pages and pens which he likes to chew on. Remind me why I wanted a puppy again please?)

This all means that, hopefully, you will be seeing a lot more from me here shortly.

Hopefully.

Literary Musings · To Read or Not to Read?

To Re-read or Not to Re-Read

My current Goodreads list of books I want to read contains over two hundred titles. And yet I still sometimes find myself re-reading books I’ve already read. This may seem like a silly idea. Why read something old if I can read something new? But sometimes I just feel the need to read something familiar. Other times, I have other reasons for my madness.

So let us get into more specifics about why I re-read.

  1. Nostalgia. Some books just have certain memories attached to them. Case in point: Harry Potter. I grew up with those characters and they shaped a large part of my bookish life as a teenager and as an adult. And reading those books is like going to a school reunion and only seeing the people I want to see/or at least knowing that those I don’t want to see won’t be there for long. It’s like returning to my childhood.
  2. Comfort. When I’m not feeling well I usually still like to read but I’m not always in a condition to really absorb new information. But when I’ve read something a few times I don’t need to create the whole world in my head because it’s already there.
  3. When life gets in the way. I feel better when I get a chance to read but when life gets busy (around the holidays or during a trip) I don’t want to/have the time to escape into a fictional world as much as I would like. So a reread it is. That way I can get my reading fix but I don’t have to say “hey, I don’t want to go to the beach because I have to know what happens next in my book” because I already know what happens next.
  4. Series. I have this bad habit of reading books that are in series that haven’t been completed. And sometimes I don’t feel the need to reread before the next one comes out. But other times, when I really really loved the first book or two, I decide I need to read them again before I can keep going. With trilogies this isn’t too big of a deal but sometimes that can be a massive undertaking.

The above are just a few reasons why I am an advocate for rereading books. What about you? Do you reread or is life too short for that?