Tag Archives: J.K. Rowling

All the things the Witches of Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 3)


See part one here (all about Hermione) and part two here (Luna and Ginny)

molly_weasley_sketch_by_crazyukulele-d73s1rl

Image by Jodi Jones

Molly

I doubt there is a Potter fan out there who doesn’t love the moment when Molly shouts “Not my daughter you bitch!” before defeating Bellatrix, in some ways it’s a surprise because we never really saw Molly using non-household spells, we know she’s good at those, but it doesn’t make us expect her to be a powerful witch, but on the other hand we know how much she cares about her family, of course she’s going to do everything she can to protect Ginny, and we know she’s fierce, even Arthur seems a bit afraid of her! It’s easy to underestimate her, but we really shouldn’t.

lily__s_sacrifice_by_julvett

Image by julvett

Lily

Lily shares a lot with Molly when you think about it, her strength is her love for others, she even sacrifices herself for Harry. That’s pretty much the bravest thing she could have done. From what we have been told about her we also know she is a very powerful witch.

I also want to mention Narcissa here, although not exactly a hero just as Molly and Lily she puts her family first. She took a risk with making the unbreakable vow with Snape, and lying to Voldemort about Harry’s death. Her decisions weren’t the best, but I sort of see her as how Lily might have been if she had followed Voldemort to protect Harry instead (which I know wouldn’t have worked, but if it could have she may have been quite similar).

 

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All the things the Witches of Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 2)


Hermione fans see part one here

luna_with_gryffindor_lion_by_feliciacano-d55yjto

Image by Felicia Cano

 

Luna

If you were to ask me who my favourite Harry Potter character is I would probably tell you that it’s Luna. Luna is ‘different’ but she doesn’t seem fazed that people think she is ‘loony’, she stays true to who she is which is a really difficult thing to do when you don’t really fit it, especially when you’re a teenager. I also love how Luna is so able to believe in things, maybe they don’t exist, but rather than believing what she can see Luna also believes that you can’t prove that things don’t exist just because you can’t see them. It’s where Luna and Hermione can really clash, but in a way they are both clever for the way they see things, Luna wants to explore and discover, whereas Hermione is about knowing things which are already known, Luna might not be able to reel off parts of Hogwarts; A History, but she could tell you how to know when a wrackspurt is about.

Luna is also very loyal, even though the trio haven’t exactly been the best of friends to her she still helps fight, firstly at the Ministry of Magic, and the mural in her room, whilst a little disconcerting shows how much her friends mean to her. Plus she’s kind and caring to others, helping Mr Ollivander when they are both locked up in Malfoy Manor, and helping those students who were having trouble once the deatheaters ruled the school.

Ginny

Initially I didn’t really like Ginny, she just seemed a bit flat as a character, I suppose at least part of that is because we see things through Harry’s eyes, and Ginny was fan girl type obsessed. In that sense she’s probably initially the closest we get to a stereotypical teenager, and also with how she comes out later. I also didn’t really like the Harry/Ginny thing, I think it was just too perfect, although by that point I did like Ginny herself.

As we learn more about Ginny I came to like her more. Despite being the youngest of 7, and with all her older brothers she managed to make herself known. From breaking into the broom closest to practice flying, to her bat boogey hex, size is no measure of power.

We also see her caring side with Luna, and with Harry.

One thing I really haven’t like is a tendency for fans to ‘slut shame’ Ginny for basically being a normal teenager. So she dated more than any of the trio but they are probably the exception, I imagine that there are plenty of others in Hogwarts who dated just as much (or even more) than Ginny did, we just never heard about it (I bet Bill was popular in his day!).

 

I think this post is long enough now. I’ll continue later in the week.

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All the Things the Witches in Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 1)


It has been 20 years (20 years!) since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first made it’s quiet little entrance onto our shelves, who would have thought that kid’s book I pulled out my stocking on Christmas day 20 years (20 years!) ago would turn into what it has today. Books, and films, and spin-offs and theme parks. My first home online, with the old DSL connection, on the very basic Bloomsbury message board where you had to type in your username everytime, was because of Harry. I have spoken often before about how much these books have been so important to me, and I don’t want to just be rehashing old ground (I’ll leave some links at the bottom though). but I do need to do something.

So I was thinking, and I thought about those beautiful new house editions which came out yesterday, and I was thinking about how they are a thing to possess and treasure, rather than just a book to read, but it’s not really the books as an object that are the things you treasure. You treasure the memories, and the stories, and the characters.

Then I started thinking about how J.K has been criticised for her books being too white, too middle-class. Maybe it’s not representative of the whole world, maybe it doesn’t have to be because guess what? There are some amazing characters in there. And, at a time when J.K was being told not to put her first name on books because it would put boys off, she wrote some really amazing, strong women. Harry Potter isn’t a feminist novel, but maybe it should be. Let’s see we have to of course start with…

hermione_-_jim_kay_1_

Copyright Jim Kay

Hermione

The ‘Greatest Witch of Her Age’. Hermione I think is so many of us, she was certainly the character I would have said I had most in common with, at least early on. She’s smart, and bookish, and ‘good’, and she doesn’t have many friends. She’s not beautiful, she has big teeth and bushy hair (let’s put to the side the idea that she’s black, imagine her how you always imagine her). I even thought that I looked like Hermione. We can all see why she’s bookish, we are all the readers escaping into another world, and think about it Hermione was actually escaping into another world, she was muggleborn, she’d probably read The Hobbit, and The Secret Garden, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, things like that don’t happen to ‘normal’ people. She must have been so excited.

So with this bond of hers of course Hogwarts was exciting, and of course she wanted to do well, so of course she spent days reading the textbooks and anything else she could lay her hands on, it was a dream. I even imagine that it was disappointing to find how much was the same as a muggle school. No wonder she was upset that ‘nobody liked her’ it stopped the place from being an amazing fairytale she had ended up in. The  Harry and Ron brought that fairytale back (maybe more than she would really have expected!).

She was the clever one, Harry may have thought with his heart, but he really needed Hermione to be his head. And she ended up not being such a goody-two-shoes after all.  In first year she set a teacher on fire. In second year she brewed an advanced potion which required taking a book from the restricted section of the library, stealing potions from the Snape’s  personal supplies, and hiding it in a bathroom. And that was just the first two years!

I guess what I’m saying is that she had a sense of being good, and right. She appreciated the rules, but she was willing to break them for the right reasons, and her friends were top of that list of reasons.

She taught us that it’s ok to be clever, and strong, and to stand-up for people (and house elves). She showed us that women can get high up  politics without having to be ‘bitches’ (even if she did have a slight bossy streak).

We are all Hermione, and that’s awesome.

(ok so I got here and realised I’d basically written a mini essay on Hermione….so stay tuned for part two)

Other places where I rave about Harry Potter:

How to Know You’re Still a Potterhead

If You Could Only Remember 1 Book

Chamber of Secrets Forum- In Memoriam

Looking back, teenage reading

Harry Potter Week

Me and Harry

Me and Books

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The Casual Vacancy- J.K. Rowling


Synopsis (from Amazon)

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Review

It’s taken me a long time to actually get around to buying and reading The Casual Vacancy. I love the Harry Potter books so I had some reservations when it came to J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel. What prompted me to actually read it was the series starting on TV, I wanted to read the book before I watched it (and I managed it, just!).

When it comes down to it you probably can’t get much further away from Harry. You probably wouldn’t even know that The Casual Vacancy was by the same author unless you’re a Potter addict who can spot J.K’s style. I can’t help comparing to Potter but it’s not really comparable. If you are looking for something with magic, or something exciting, or something fast paced you won’t get it with The Casual Vacancy.

The Casual Vacancy, you see, is not plot driven, it barely has a plot at all to be perfectly honest. It is more of a study of the characters. That means that despite the characters being very flawed you come to care at least somewhat, even whilst not liking most of them. Probably the most likeable character was Kay, she cared, but she was weak. Krystal was probably the standout character though, at least for me. She was caustic, but I admired her (note admired, not liked). I can’t imagine being friends with any of these people, but they are real.

It took me a long time to get into the book, you need to be prepared to wait, to take the time. There was enough to keep me going, until I realised that it was sort of like a soap (you know how in soaps there are no ‘normal’ families, they all have these ‘issues’). I suppose it’s meant to be a sort of ‘you never know what goes on behind closed doors’ type of thing, but it did put me off a little.

The ending hooked me though, one of those stay up for just one more paragraph/page/chapter type things. I hear that the TV series has changed the ending. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

A lot of people have criticised how much sex and bad language J.K has used in A Casual Vacancy. There is a lot, but I don’t think it’s completely unnecessary. People have been saying that it’s J.K’s way of saying she can write adult fiction. I think that makes her sound like a former child star who does a nude photo shoot to show that they are ‘all grown up’ (because of course becoming a woman automatically makes you a sex object). I don’t see it like that. People swear, people have sex. Can it be realistic if you make it all family friendly? Life isn’t always family friendly.

I intend to write something about the first episode of The Casual Vacancy later in the week.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.85)

Kindle (£3.66)

Hardback (£13.60)

Other Reviews:

Book Jay

Words For Worms

The Eye of Loni’s Storm

Alison McCarthy

Reading With Tea

Recovering Potter Addict

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sam Still Reading

Mama Kucing Reviews and Ravings

Heavenali

Nishita’s Rants and Ravings

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Famous Writers and New Books



I have posts planned to write, reviews, a different musings post, but yesterday the news was revealed that Harper Lee is releasing a new book, after over 50 years.

Technically it’s not a new book, but an old one. It features ‘To Kill a Mockingbird”s Scout as an adult and was actually written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, only the manuscript was thought lost.

This got me thinking about authors who are famous for one book releasing new books. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a modern classic. It has lots of fans who think it’s one of the best books ever written.

So what does this mean for ‘Go Set A Watchman’ (that’s the title of the new book)? Well for one thing it will probably be pretty much required reading. Whether or not it’s any good I should think that it will get plenty of sales (which almost makes one doubt the lost manuscript story).

Then of course there are all the expectations which come with the book. You would expect it to be at least as good as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, so if it isn’t then that would be a great disappointment. You would expect some great moral story, but does it really have to be that, after all authors have worked in different genres before. Although it still featuring Scout suggests that it will at least have some moral standing.

Will it be as good though? It was written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ which could suggest that Harper Lee knew less of what publishing wanted (whether or not they know what will make a good, and successful book is a discussion for another day). In fact it was because the editor liked the looking back sections of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was written, and it seems that it was meant as a replacement, rather than a prequel. Does that mean that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is basically the best bits of ‘Go Set a Watchman’?


It reminds me a little of when authors back catalogues are re-released because they have become more popular since the books were first released. The author who springs to mind is Jodi Picoult. I’ve still (generally) enjoyed her older books, but they have been a bit disappointing in comparison to some of her more recent novels.


At the moment I’m reading J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know what a big Harry Potter nut I am. So why has it taken me so long to get around to reading The Casual Vacancy. Partly it was that I was worried I would end up being disappointed, or that I would have a bias favourable view just because it’s J.K. I think I might end up the same with ‘Go Set a Watchman’. I certainly want to read it, but I have reservations (not least that Harper Lee may not actually want it to be published). I will probably wait for the paperback.


I’ve always thought that I understand J.K. Rowling wanting to write a novel not as J.K. Rowling, which she did. It means it would be judged for it’s own merit. The Cuckoo’s Calling did get quite good reviews prior to J.K. being unmasked as the real author, but it wasn’t until after then that it got to be a best seller. It’s a shame in a way because it is a pretty good crime story, and so many people read it because it was J.K. rather than because they actually wanted to read it.

So what do you think. Do you want to read the new Harper Lee? Do you think that your reading of books by favourite authors are coloured based on who the author is?

You can already pre-order ‘Go Set a Watchman’ which is set for release on 14th June 2015

Hardback (£18.99)

Kindle (£10.99)

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Harry Potter re-reads


If you follow me on twitter or facebook you may have noticed that I’ve been re-reading the Potter books.

After each book I have done a ‘thoughts on re-reading’ post on facebook. I thought I would post them all here, with the photots I posted to twitter.

This post contains spoilers

Philosopher’s Stone


1) a lot happens for such a short book

2) chapter 1 is so Rowling… it’s the best way to see her style… and be able to tell Galbraith is her

3) Reading PS with a knowledge of what happens later is heart wrenching

3a) and in light of that Dumbledore is the stupidest genius

4) Considering Harry’s link to Voldy do his dreams in PS mean now than it seems? They are described in surprising detail

5) Hermione really keeps her promises

6) I should have started this re-read as soon as I first had wanted to

7) Why did Harry’s scar hurt at the welcome feast? Voldy wasn’t attached to Quirrell then and Harry didn’t get the same affect from shaking Quirrell’s hand

8) Chamber of Secrets next… my joint favourite

Chamber of Secrets

I’m Sure I remember writing thoughts for Chamber of Secrets, but I can’t seem to find them

For some reason I can’t imagine Harry clutching a mop without seeing him laughing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prisoner of Azkaban

1 ) you know what POA might be my least favourite *cue cries of horror* I know it is important plot wise but it doesn’t seem to add much. Not that I don’t still love it

2) Lupin oh Lupin what happened?

2a) Only kidding… still can’t help loving you even after the fiascos of Deathly Hallows
2b) and you are more attractive than David Thewlis

The introduction of Lupin

3) If Lupin isn’t gay Sirius has to be

4) Whatever happened to Penelope?

5) ugh, Snape

6) The way Pettigrew pays back his debt to Harry is rubbish

7) Did Lupin really think Sirius being an animagus wasn’t something people needed to know?

8) Why was Sirius so insistent on killing Peter? He was the easiest way to show proof of Sirius’ innocence

Goblet of Fire

So of course Harry gets it

1) How many girls actually are there in Hogwarts? It seems there are more boys

2) If the Patel twins are the hottest in the year why didn’t they get dates sooner?

3) This one took me longer this time, not sure why.

4) Charlie is the most underated Weasley. He works with dragons, that’s hot.

5) Harry is a real idiot sometimes

Touching an unknown magical substance with your finger is dangerous, but obviously touching it with your wand will be ok


6) as is Ron (but that is a major characteristic of him)

7) If Barty Crouch Jr was a deatheater why did he teach kids how to fight the Imperius curse?
7a) yeah, yeah, I know it’s what Moody would have done

8) How would anyone ever be able to complete the triwizard tournament without cheating. I mean how do you just know how to get past a dragon? Who would think to open an egg under water? The only vaguely possible task to complete without cheating is the last.

9) I really do like Hermione

10) Why did the films give do much Dobby material to Neville? It would have made Harry’s life easier if Neville knew his problem with breathing underwater

Order of the Phoenix


1) I really enjoyed it this time for some reason

2) I am still in denial about Sirius’ death

3) If I could ask JK anything it would probably be about the veil

4) Luna is awesome…There should be more Luna
4a) I’m convinced she had a thing for Ron

5) Umbridge is the worst. I actually hate her more than Voldy
5b) And it really irritates me that I can’t see Harry getting angry at her without seeing Daniel Radcliffe’s awful emotionless acting

6) The best fighting scenes are in this book

7) why is it that we know Fred and George passed a handful of OWLs when school finishes in GOF but the trio have to wait for the holidays?

8) We never really do find out when James stops being an ass

9) The DA. Yay!

10) Harry, it is time I told you everything… except that you’re a horcrux, because, you know, that’s not important…

When you know what it really means this moment is so sad


11) It’s actually quite surprising Harry isn’t all emo before now

Half-Blood Prince

1) My favourite along with Chamber of Secrets

2) oh the feels! Snape kills Dumbledore! Hogwarts might close

3) I think I have finally accepted the Harry and Ginny thing. It was always just too expected, I wanted a coupling which wasn’t so set out from the start

4) Voldy is 1 evil dude

5) I never got why they didn’t just try spilling the green potion. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but you know they didn’t even try

6) How do you actually learn to fight like Dumbledore? Harry really doesn’t seem equipped to fight Voldy

7) Here goes Harry being noble and stupid again. Does he really think Voldy wouldn’t use Ginny just because they spilt up?

8) Harry also doesn’t seem to be very equipped for finding other horcruxes, or destroying them. Couldn’t Dumbledore just have told him there are 7 horcruxes, here’s how you destroy them,and here are some awesome spells so you can actually defeat Voldy?

9) If Snape is the half-blood prince then why doesn’t Harry do better in potion lessons prior to this book? Does Snape just not teach the best method?

10) Luna is the best commentator

11) So close to getting another Horcrux

Deathly Hallows

1) Whilst not my favourite Potter this has probably been my best re-read. I felt almost as hooked as first time round (although without having to read a bit if I awoke during the night). Probably because I haven’t read it as much so there were bits I had forgotten, or at least don’t know off by heart.

2) Lupin is such an idiot in this book, but still understandably so.

3) If Harry’s cloak is THE cloak of invisibility why can Moody see through it?

4) All the tears

5) I still don’t 100% get why Harry doesn’t die

6) Neither do I think Snape is a big hero. He may not be a villan as such, but I don’t think his motives are completely good either

7) The epilogue still disappoints me

8) Dumbledore is totally channeling Stephen Fry in ‘King’s Cross’
8a) and he is rather shady

9) I can’t believe my re-read is over

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The Silkworm- Robert Galbraith


The Silkworm is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series

Synopsis (from amazon)

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

Review

After really enjoying the first Cormoran Strike book I was rather excited for the second. In terms of excitement it was probably a bit higher than The Cuckoo’s Calling, although it took a little longer to set off. However it missed a certain something which The Cuckoo’s Calling had, something which I struggle to put my finger on, but which made the book less easily readable.

Maybe it was that in The Cuckoo’s Calling Cormoran was working completely on his own theories. As far as the police were concerned it was s done deal- as it were, whereas in this one Cormoran was still trying very much to work on his own and use the same theories but he was investigating something a the same time as the police. It felt more like he was snubbing the police, and that he didn’t think they were good enough. He could have worked with them but he kept information from them. I get that he was being paid a fee, and I get that they didn’t agree on certain elements, but maybe if a bit of information sharing went on there would have been able to work together.

He was certainly still clever, and Robin was still very much his right-hand woman. There were still lots of twists and turns. It still kept me on the edge of my seat. I still really enjoyed it. There was a certain sense of ‘this is an adult novel’ about it. There was a particularly graphic scene, which did add something to the story, but was also rather brutal. There was lots of sex, which didn’t always add something.

4/5

Buy it from an Indie store (via Hive):

Hardback (£15.60)

On CD (£25.18)

Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£6.99)

Hardback (£9.99)

Other Reviews:

Alison McCarthy

Recovering Potter Addict

Mama Kucing Books and Ravings

The Eye of Loni’s Storm

 

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The Cuckoo’s Calling- Robert Galbraith


Synopsis (from amazon)

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

Review

Ok, everyone know it, but we can’t not mention it can we? Robert Galbraith is J.K Rowling. She always said she wanted to have a pen name and write crime after Harry Potter.

Would I have read it if I didn’t know it was J.K. Rowling? Probably not. For one thing until it was leaked that The Cuckoo’s Calling was written by J.K it wasn’t an especially well known book, for another I don’t read that much crime.

The person who ‘discovered’ the truth said that it was because they could recognise J.K’s style of writing. I certainly could see her style, especially in the opening to The Cuckoo’s Calling. I don’t know if I would have noticed if I didn’t already know Galbraith and Rowling were one and the same, however. Unless I approached every crime novel released post-Harry as having the potential to be written by J.K

One more thing, before I get to the actual review. I kept hearing an Audible advert for The Cuckoo’s Calling on Spotify before I read this. Anyone else find that really off putting? It almost made me not want to read it.

I did like The Cuckoo’s Calling, you know. It was rather compulsive reading. There were lots of twists, and the end was unpredictable, I might even go as far as to says it seemed impossible…except it wasn’t! It’s rather memorable too, I was trying to think of what I wanted to write in this review (I’m about 10 books behind…I think I need a bloggiesta…), and little bits kept resurfacing in my memory- although nothing specific that I want to mention.

There was one little thing that annoyed me. There were moments when strange specifics were put in, like the names of pubs, or even the beer that Cormoran was drinking, they weren’t important to the story, maybe they were meant to make things more authentic, but I began to think that the series had been sponsored by Doom Bar (and I can tell you it doesn’t stop in The Silkworm either)

4/5

Buy it from an Indie Store (via Hive):

Paperback (£7.11)

Hardback (£12.75)

 Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£2.79)

Paperback (£3.85)

Hardback (£14.95)

Other reviews:

Recovering Potterholic

The Eye of Loni’s Storm

Quirky Bookworm

Alison McCarthy

Books By Rotten

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Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review

Changing Book Titles


US cover

UK cover



In my recent review of The Officer’s Lover I mentioned that in America The Officer’s Lover has the title Almost Home. I also briefly said that I believed the American name was better. I certainly think it reflects the story better. Whilst The Officer’s Lover does have a slight baring on the story I feel it doesn’t reflect the main content of the story at all. However I an see Almost Home working. The main character, Jordan, had been floating since the death of her boyfriend. Making few connections, moving frequently, but never returning to England where she dated, and lost, him. I can see that her search for closure could make her ready to settle and get ‘home’.

So why was the novel name changed? Well I can see a little that it may have been changed to fit with other books by Pam Jenoff. It fits with the pattern of Kommandant’s Girl, The Ambassador’s Daughter, and The Diplomat’s Wife.

That’s what it often comes down to, marketing. It’s similar to changing book covers to film covers. Generally speaking I don’t like film covers- and them often being cheaper suggests to me that many people feel the same. However I can understand why the covers are changed- to make a link for people who have seen, or want to see, the film.

UK cover

US cover


Another notable time that a book title has been changed is the changing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in America. Apparently because American’s won’t understand the word philosopher. If I was American I think I would be offended at the assertion that I wouldn’t be able to understand a word- or even have the sense to look up a word I didn’t understand in the dictionary. I’ve heard of a few books being ‘dumbed down’ in this way for America.

 

UK cover

US cover

There are times when it works of course, when a word is something which is not used internationally. I did think that Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging had been changed to take out snogging in America, but apparently not. Some of the others have been changed however (USA list, UK list) I had heard it was due to the UK titles being too racy, although someone in America will have to tell me if they actually appear to be racy!

Generally speaking I think authors chose to title books by a certain name for a reason. And whilst other titles may work well on a marketing point of view I think really the author’s title should be stuck with. What do you all think?

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Filed under general, Musings

Book Blogger Hop


It’s Friday, and the Book Blogger Hop started yesterday. I actually have a chance to sit down and write a post so thought I would join in this week (despite to fact I have a couple of reviews waiting to be written…shhh).

This week’s question suits e quite well as I’ve been in a bit of a rut recently- although I seem to be coming out of it now.

Who is your go-to author when you are in a reading rut?

Well I tend to more go for a style than anything else. Most books I can just read through a rut with, but when I’m really struggling I know if I find an easy read I should be okay. For this reason I tend to only read Chick-Lit when I’m in a reading rut, (generally speaking) the writing style is easy to understand, the stories aren’t too complex (although they can often be rather predictable), you never really have t think when you’re reading chick-lit. I also find that Jodi Picoult rarely fails to draw me in- her books do make me think, but the writing style is easy and there tends to be a great need to know what’s going to happen next. The other thing is my Harry Potter books. I know them pretty much off by heart but they still excite me.

Related Reviews:

Harvesting the Heart- Jodi Picoult

Sing you Home- Jodi Picoult

Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult

House Rules- Jodi Picoult

Songs of the Humpback Whale- Jodi Picoult

Picture Perfect- Jodi Picoult

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

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J.K. Rowling new book details.


Image from Little Brown

So today the details of J.K. Rowling’s new book, to be called The Casual Vacancy have been released. How can I as a self-confessed Potter-geek not comment?! So what’s it all about? Synopsis comes from Little Brown

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

I must admit to me that sounds kind of interesting. War in a village. Vaguely political, I can imagine that being quite funny in a sort of Yes, Minister way but smaller scale. All about people thinking they’re fantastic and wanting to do anything for power- which is just made silly by it just being a parish council. Yeah I can see black comedy there.

Of course it’s very different from Harry, but at least it can’t be compared (although I am sure someone will try). A good move by J.K. I think, she really needs to get away from Harry if she wants to be seen as an author who is more than a one-trick-pony if you will. To keep going with Harry it may seem a bit like she’s in it just for the money (and God how I hate when things go past their best and people still keep trying to go with it.)

I probably will read it, although a part of me does wonder if I’m more interested in reading it because it’s J.K. rather than because it sounds like a good read.

You can already pre-order The Casual Vacancy on Amazon

Related Articles:

From The Guardian

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So, J.K Rowling is writing again.


Image from The Telegraph

JK Rowling announces new novel – for adults | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Not much to tell really…barely makes an article. J.K will be releasing a new book which is aimed at adults and “very different” from Harry Potter. She is going with a new publishers, supposedly to separate her new novel from from her Harry Potter novels.

In the past I remember her talking about the possibility of writing a crime novel after Harry Potter (although I can’t seem to find the interview so I could be wrong), which isn’t actually a genre that far from Harry Potter, what with the solving of mysteries that tend to happen especially in earlier Harry Potter books- Chamber of Secrets leaps to mind. However in the past Rowling has said that she would want to write crime under another name- maybe she has abandoned this plan, or has been persuaded to- I am sure her name adds a lot to the prospects of a book selling, at least her first novel for adults anyway. Or maybe she already has done this and now that no new Harry Potter books are coming out she has decided to start using her names to sell things.

I don’t really care about her motives for choosing to use her name- or not as the case will be, I am however intrigued to see what she has come up with away from Harry, and it she can pull off writing for adults. Personally I’ve always thought that her writing style had more to it than you would initially see. This I suppose is from years of dissecting Harry Potter on The Chamber of Secrets Forum.

The real question I suppose is will I read it? And that, well, to be honest I really do not know.

There is a part of me that really wants to. The part of my that wants to see what a different novel by J.K. is like. The part of me that wants to read it just because it could be just as good as Harry- and that doesn’t want to miss out on that possibility.

Then there is the bit of me that says, but what if you don’t like it? Won’t that be a great disappointment? The part of my that says I should just judge it as a book rather than a book by the author of Harry Potter.

The thing is can I judge it just as any other book? Even if I try to do into it open minded won’t there still be the bit of my that’s squeeing to have a new book by J.K. Rowling…because I always wanted more Harry, and well isn’t this the next best thing? Will I ever be able to get past comparing it to Harry Potter, when he has been in my life for so many years, and been a big part of my life for some of that?

I would love to walk in to a bookshop, maybe see a book I like the look of, read the synopsis and like the sound of it and not know right till the end that t was by J.K. that way I would have no preconceived ideas. But that’s not going to happen is it?

Related Links:

J.K. Rowling’s New Book: Clues Suggest a Turn to Crime Fiction (Guardian online)

Chamber of Secrets Forums

J.K Rowling’s Site

Accio-Quote (Quotes from interviews)

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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince- J.K. Rowling


Image from Amazon

This book was read as part of the Harry Potter read-a-long.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

‘In a brief statement on Friday night, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He Who Must Not Be Named has returned to this country and is once more active. “It is with great regret that I must confirm that the wizard styling himself Lord – well, you know who I mean – is alive and among us again,” said Fudge.’ These dramatic words appeared in the final pages of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In the midst of this battle of good and evil, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes up the story of Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with Voldemort’s power and followers increasing day by day …

 

Review

Oh dear I am a bit late with this one aren’t I? November’s read for the Harry Potter read-a-long. I almost finished it in time, I finished on the 1st December so only a day over but it’s taken me up till now to actually write this post.

Half-Blood Prince is my favourite Harry Potter book along with Chamber of Secrets. I especially like learning about Voldemort’s background, and I would probably quite happily read a book just about his rise to power, as a sort of prequel. There is quite a romantic level to this book too, I think we know by now where things are going in this sense. Initially one of the pairings I wasn’t too happy about, mainly because it just seemed too predictable and…perfect, but it grew on me.

And of course we know know what everything has been leading up to.

5/5

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- J.K. Rowling


Image from Amazon

I re-read this book as part of the Harry Potter read-a-long.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. ‘It is time,’ he said, ‘for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.’ Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry. He is desperate to get back to school and find out why his friends Ron and Hermione have been so secretive all summer. However, what Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his whole world upside down …But before he even gets to school, Harry has an unexpected and frightening encounter with two Dementors, has to face a court hearing at the Ministry of Magic and has been escorted on a night-time broomstick ride to the secret headquarters of a mysterious group called ‘The Order of the Phoenix’. And that is just the start. A gripping and electrifying novel, full of suspense, secrets, and – of course – magic.

Review

Considering that Order of the Phoenix is the longest Harry Potter book I feel that very little of importance really happens in it. After the ending of Goblet of Fire I must admit I would have expected a really action packed book, but really it isn’t. That’s not to say it has nothing of importance to the overall Harry Potter storyline. The prophecy is of utmost importance, and some of the knowledge about Voldemort and the Order are useful later on too. Of course to say a book contains little of importance doesn’t mean it’s not good. In fact as a stand alone book Order of the Phoenix is quite possibly my favourite. I really enjoy reading about DA (yes DA not the DA, that would mean the Dumbledore’s Army, which makes no sense). I love hating Umbridge, in the same way I liked hating Snape in the early books, it actually makes her a really entertaining character. Oh and Fred and George’s antics in this book are a favourite bit too, especially the ‘Give her hell from us Peeves’. Awesome. I wish there were more fights like the one between Voldemort and Dumbledore too. The battles are good but you never see that expanse of magic again, and haven’t before. Oh and the introduction of Luna who is my very favourite character.

Plus you know this is the book which really introduced me to Harry Potter fandom. There is no greater praise.

5/5

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Image via Wikipedia

This book was a re-read as part of The Harry Potter Read-A-Long.

This review contains spoiler for the Harry Potter series

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s always a relief after summer with the Dursleys, however, Harry doesn’t realise that this year will be just as eventful as the last two! The atmosphere at Hogwarts is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, even the Muggles have been warned. The sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school and Harry, Ron and Hermione rapidly discover why all witches and wizards live in fear of being sent to Azkaban. Lessons, however, must go on and there are lots of new subjects in third year – Care of Magical Creatures and Divination among others. Plus the delights of Hogsmeade, the only village in the UK entirely populated by the magical community.

Review

I know this book is a favourite among many of Harry’s fans but of the books I’m read so far it’s been the one I’ve looked forward to the least. It’s not my least favourite but it is far from my favourite and my excitement about the read-a-long has abated a little. I was trying to stop myself reading The Prisoner of Azkaban at the beginning of the month but suddenly the end of the month was here and I was worried I wouldn’t finish it in time! Luckily I finished it today just within the time!

Having said this is not my favourite there still are a lot of things I like about it. Not least of all. I love the introduction of Lupin in this book, I think he remains my favourite teacher, or at least my favourite Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. In fact Lupin remains a favourite character of mine all the way through, despite his behaviour in Deathly Hallows. I also quite like hearing a little bit about James’ time at Hogwarts and his friends, and finding out a little about what happened the day Harry’s parents died. Those who know my love of Harry will confirm I’ve always been very interested in back story. However Marauder back story, although interesting is not something I feel the need to explore, I would much rather read about Voldemort’s school days. I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t like Prisoner of Azkaban so much, it’s very light on Voldemort. Despite that I do think it’s important in Voldemort’s gradual rise to power

5/5

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Deathly Hallows Comic


So I completely and utterly failed to get a post up yesterday but (in my defence) I was ill with a migraine and could barely see let alone type!

Tomorrows review list will have to be massive because I should really me getting to bed but I still wanted to give you something for today.

These amazing comics are made by the fantabulous Lucy Knisley (the link is to her livejournal but if you google her name she also has a website, do check both out)

She has done a comic for each book in the Harry Potter series, as well as a giant picture summarising the whole series. Seeing as Harry Potter week is to commend the release of Deathly Hallows though I thought that would be the best to show you. Click to look closer.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Hope you like them 🙂

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Pottermore


So I did find out about Pottermore not long after it had been released that Pottermore is the answer to the clues but I thought here I am self confessed Potter addict and I haven’t even mentioned Pottermore on my blog!

Of course there is little really to say, I mean it’s just “Coming Soon” currently which really shows very little about what it will actually be. J.k. has said it’s not a new book but I am still hoping for the encyclopedia (or The Scottish Book).

Still something new that actually comes from J.K. Rowling…very very very exciting! And it means my final Harry Potter straw will not have to be the last Harry Potter film, this make me very happy as I don’t even really like the films.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- J.K Rowling


Cover of "Harry Potter and the Philosophe...

Cover via Amazon

I read this book as part of my re-read of the Harry Potter books

This review contains spoilers

Synopsis (from Waterstones)

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.

Review

Oh Harry how I have missed you! I didn’t realise until I was getting excited about every little bit of Philosopher’s Stone (if you follow me on twitter I am sure you will agree with me on this point!) how much I have missed Harry. Since the release of Deathly Hallows (the book not the film) my Harry Potter activity has dropped dramatically. I barely ever visit the Chamber of Secrets forums anymore, I don’t really use my Livejournal now except to read other people’s posts (and I didn’t talk about Harry on there much anyway, it was just very connected to the Harry Potter side of my life)., and unless you count my re-read of Deathly Hallows last year I haven’t read the books for years.

It’s a bit difficult for me to write a balanced review of Philosopher’s Stone simply because Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life for so long. I love it just because it’s part of Harry and part of my history. I am trying to remember how I viewed it when I first read it but it was so long ago that I can barely remember. I grew up with Harry so my first reading of Philosopher’s Stone was over 10 years ago.

I do know for sure this is my least favourite of the books. First time round I actually almost gave up within the first few chapters just because it takes a long time to get going. Of course I am glad I didn’t because by the time Harry got to Hogwarts I was beginning to really get into it. In truth I usually actually don’t start my re-reads at the beginning but skip to Hagrid’s entrance at the shack in the sea. This time though I decided I should do it properly and actually found myself really enjoying reading those bits I usually miss. I mean the bits when the letters come give a kind of exciting anticipation for what I know is coming up.

As I came further towards the end it struck me that although this is the lightest-hearted of the Harry Potter books in some parts it is pretty dark. I mean that image of Quirrel-mort drinking that unicorns blood is certainly very chilling, and when you are so engrossed in Harry’s world you can actually feel the revulsion Harry would feel from seeing that image. Then there is Quirrel having Voldemort sticking out the back of his head, that isn’t exactly a nice image either. Of course the way Harry wins in this book is amazing, and in some ways less scary, although you’re rooting for Harry there is something about the way he wins that seems so innocent and right, almost as if he is not really fighting.

I remember eagerly looking for the next book after I finished this one and now I am eager to start my re-read of The Chamber of Secrets.

4.5/5

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Image via Wikipedia

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.

In this final, seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling unveils in spectactular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited. The spellbinding, richly woven narrative, which plunges, twists and turns at a breathtaking pace, confirms the author as a mistress of storytelling, whose books will be read, reread and read again.

Review

I am a complete Harry nut but all the same it’s been a couple of years since I last read a Potter book, and I’ve only read Deathly Hallows a couple of times. Part of it is that there’s a sadness to this book other than the story itself. It’s the end of something which has been in my life for so long, and which has effected my life. If it wasn’t for Harry this blog would probably never exist because it’s Harry that started my internet life. I wanted to re-read Deathly Hallows after seeing the film, I felt I wanted to know it better- as well as I know the other books, and I wanted the satisfaction that doesn’t some from the film. I never really like the films, they just don’t match up to the books.

As far as the book itself is concerned it’s not my favourite (that jumps between Chamber of Secrets and Half-Blood Prince….can you see the common theme?) but it’s not my least favourite either. There is a lot of time when there isn’t actually that much happening. When they have no idea where to find a horcrux- or at least no probable idea. In fact finding out where the next horcrux is was pretty much good luck really, and not that much they actually worked out for themselves. That’s not to say it was boring. Maybe it’s my love for Harry that kept me reading, that I had to know how it ended? But I don’t think that would keep me reading a second and third time. I think that there was the right balance of realistic timing and events which kept the reader reading.

This book is by far the saddest for me. In a way it is sadder after the first reading because you anticipate what is coming. You’re sad before what makes you sad has actually happened. There was one bit which was less sad than the first time for me because I know what was about to happen, although it was still somewhat upsetting. (highlight for spoiler)This was when Harry thought he was going to die. I can remember being so shocked the first time and trying to convince myself that he couldn’t die , and I really thought he might. Deaths wise this book was so sad because there was a realism there. That war isn’t fair and the people who ‘shouldn’t’ die aren’t exempt. It’s not nice but it seems right, I think I would have disliked it if only people we didn’t care for died, because it would be like Rowling was trying to stop fans from being upset.

As for the controversial epilogue? I’m not a fan. It answered very little for me, and somehow made everything as the fans expected- not that that’s a problem, but it’s kind of too perfect, and it’s what I would have presumed for myself- I wanted to know other things. Some of it Rowling has revealed in interviews but I am still hoping for the rumoured encyclopaedia. I like to debate but it would be nice to know.

5/5

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