Happy Birthday, Harry Potter

***I originally posted this a couple of years ago to celebrate the publication date of the first novel. I’m taking a bit of break from blogging to catch up on my reading and writing goals for this blog. I’ll be back in the Fall.

Twenty years ago on June 26, 1997 Harry Potter was first published in the UK. And the reading world has not been the same.

This series of books has launched movies, merchandise, and fan fiction. Publishers are on the prowl continually looking for the “new” Harry Potter. Children have grown up with Harry and are there are  now children being introduced for the first time to his wizarding world. But not all fans of J.K. Rowling’s series were children when the series first appeared 20 years ago.

I was in my early 30’s when I first read about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone  in 1998. I was reading an essay about children’s books since I was always on the look out at the time for good books for my kids to read. At that time both kids were close in age to Harry in that first book. Both kids were readers and I thought they might enjoy this story that had taken the UK by storm. So, the next time I went to the store I bought it for the kids. And they both loved it. Loved it! The pestered me to read it too certain I would enjoy it as much as they did. But I put it off since that summer I was taking classes at the local community college and getting ready for a cross-country move. Harry would have to wait.

By the fall of 1999, we were settled in our new home, getting ready to go back to school, and waiting for the paperback version of the second Harry Potter book to come out. I knew my kids were very excited to read more about Harry’s adventures. They pestered me to read the book too, but I was enrolled in college busy reading the required texts and hadn’t time to read for pleasure at all. So again, Harry would have to wait.

It wasn’t until the third book in the series was published that I read the books. The film version was coming out and I try to read the books before I see the movie, if at all possible. So, finally, that summer of 2001, I belatedly sat down and read Harry’s story. And I loved it. I finished the first book in a day and moved on to the second, then the third. I was hooked. Later, when the fourth book came out, we all went to the Harry Potter book release party at the local B&N. (I miss those book release parties. They were such fun.) After we bought the book, like a good mom, I gave it to one of the kids to read. In the car. On the way home. In the dark.  And “encouraged” her to stay up all night and read it. Because her brother and I needed our turn! After she finished it, the boy took his turn. But he stopped at some point to play video games. So, while he played video games, I read. I suppose I could have bought two books or books for all of us, but money was tight in those days so all three of us shared the books.

At some point J.K. Rowling slowed down a bit and needed more time to write Harry’s story. But my kids didn’t slow down. They grew up and became older than Harry. By the time the final book was published both kids were grown and gone. And they bought their own copies of Harry Potter to read.

But we three can still argue about Harry Potter when they come home. Their dad, who has not read any of the books, has seen all of the movies and can follow our discussions. Harry was such a part of their young adulthood that realizing how many years ago it all started is shocking to me. It’s shocking because the kids who read Harry Potter are now adults. My kids are adults. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are adults, too. How can that be?

Have you fond memories of reading Harry Potter for the first time? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Emily Brontë, Poet.

I’m re-posting this in honor of Emily Bronte’s birthday.

Coffee and Cats

It’s National Poetry Month and to celebrate it, I’m sharing one of the Brontë sisters poems each week. Most readers know that the sisters wrote novels and stories, but it may surprise many to find out they also wrote poetry. Here is Emily Brontë’s Warning and Reply.

Death and nature are themes found in Emily’s novels and poetry, it seems. Spoiler alert! This fascination with death and the grave shows up in Wuthering Heights. And the scene that focuses on it directly is something else. (Gothic indeed!)

**If you are interested in reading more of Emily Brontë’s poetry, you can find it where I did: Project Gutenburg. Here is a link to the collection of the Brontë sisters poetry.

Are you a fan of the Brontë sisters? Have you read their poetry? What do you think of this poem? Does it make you want to delve deep into…

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Jane Austen: A Few of My Favorite Things.

**I originally posted this in 2017 to mark the 199th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. I think I was confused about the date since last year–2018–is the 200th anniversary. Anyway, my favorite things haven’t  changed. 😎

This past Tuesday –July 18th– was the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death at the age of 41. And there have been “think pieces”  about her contributions to literature, and tributes to Jane all over the internet. So, of course, I want to add my own thoughts about Jane Austen to the deluge.

But rather than try to write authoritatively on Jane Austen and her contribution to literature, I’m instead listing my favorite books, movie/TV adaptations, and stuff that I’ve collected over the years.

So, here are  a few of my favorite Austen things.

Jane Austen Mug from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild. See the photo above for my actual mug. As I took the photo that mug had coffee in it. I love this mug so much. It’s covered in fabulous quotes from Austen’s novels. And drinking my coffee and reading the sharp and beloved words of Jane is always a good way to start the day.

And, from Out of Print, this lovely tote bag.  It’s just so pretty. And they have this P&P print on a t-shirt as well. 

 

 

 

 

Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition) by Colin FirthMy favorite TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.  There are many out there, it is true. In my opinion there is only one adaptation worth watching( this one) and only one Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) and Lizzie Bennet (Jennifer Ehle). And I will fight you about this.

 

 

 

Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition)

My favorite movie adaptation is  Sense & Sensibility. I think this may have more to do with Emma Thompson and the late Alan Rickman. I re-watched this over the weekend and it is so good.

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite Jane Austen novel: Persuasion. It’s all about regrets. The regret that Anne feels for rejecting PersuasionCaptain Wentworth. The Musgove’s regret that Anne didn’t marry Charles. He married Anne’s sister Mary-a snob-who makes them all miserable. As a middle aged person I have many regrets too, and I think that’s why I love this novel and the way Austen explores the characters regrets. And this cover on this edition from Penguin Classiscs. Love it. (By the way, the BBC 1995 adaptation of this novel is a close runners up for favorite movie adaptation.)

Bitch In a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen From the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps, Volume 1My favorite book about a Jane Austen’s novel: Bitch in a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen from the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps, volume 1 by Robert Rodi. This book explores the critical eye that Jane Austen cast on the world in which she lived.

 

 

 

LongbournAnd my favorite Jane Austen adjacent novel is LongbournI’m not a fan of novels based on classic novels like The Wizard of Oz. (I really disliked Wicked. A lot. Its one of those books I threw across the room before I finished it.) But this particular novel is one of my favorite reads of 2014.  

 

 

 

 

And finally, here are some links to two of my favorite Jane Austen think pieces published across the internet the last week or two:

This article from The Atlantic was originally published in August 2014 and came up in my Facebook feed over the weekend. It tackles an issue that is evident from the first line of Austen’s most famous novel, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Wealth is important in Austen’s novels.

And this essay published this week on the web site Literary Hub  makes a point I’ve long argued. Mrs. Bennet maybe a foolish woman, but she isn’t wrong to worry, fuss, and plot marriages for her five daughters.

Are you a fan of Jane Austen? Do you agree with my favorites? Or do you disagree most vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

The Friday 56: #100

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It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate.

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  (If you have to improvise, that’s okay.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky at Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here is my contribution:

“Nonsense. Any man with eyes can see you’re a diamond of the first water.”

‘A diamond in the rough, perhaps,” she quipped. “And apparently, only blind men live around here.”

Ah, yes. The goal of every Regency miss is to be declared a diamond of the first water.

I won this book from #GoodReadGiveaways back in April, but it will not be released until the end of July 2019. I’ll post my review when we get a bit closer to the release date.  What do you think? Will you rush out to buy it then? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading.

 

 

The Friday 56, #99

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It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate.

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  (If you have to improvise, that’s okay.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky at Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here is my contribution:

 

“Rude,” Sarah murmurs, but she doesn’t fight him when he catches her behind the knees and lifts her into his arms. Shit. Watch and learn, Ryan Gosling. This man didn’t need to wade into a lake to melt fair lady’s heart.

For clarification, I mean Sarah’s heart, not mine.

So, what do you think? Would you read this book? Have any of you read this? What do you think of it?  I know it’s a part of Reese’s Book Club, and I think she plans on making this a movie, so I imagine a lot of people have read it and like it. I read it and like it; it’s fine. I think it is very similar to Normal People by Sally Rooney and One Day by David Nicholls, but more lighthearted. And that’s fine. I guess I’m saying that it’s, you know, fine. Tell me what you think in the comments below. Do you think it’s……fine?

Happy Reading!

Quickie Review: Daisy Jones & The Six

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Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: March 2019, Ballantine Books, Hard Back

Length: 368 pages

Genre: Fiction

Source: #BookoftheMonthclub #Botm

Stars: 4.5 Stars

 

Summary:

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now….

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of  the biggest bands of the seventies.

I’m dating myself, but this book is a perfect summer read for a child of the’70’s & 80’s. If you are at all familiar with the music of the those years, you know about those legendary singers and bands. The breakups of the bands and the romantic pairs in the bands. Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, The Mamas and the Papas, and Fleetwood Mac.  There is just all kinds of turmoil that makes a good story. I’m surprised that there isn’t more fiction out there. (If you know of any novels or books about those years, let me know in the comments below.) The legendary stories of that turmoil seems to be the inspiration behind this story, especially the wild ride of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. Their story is recounted in an old episode of Behind the Music. I wonder if  it is available out on the internet somewhere? If you can find let me know me know, because I would watch it! And this book tells a story that wouldn’t be out of place as a gossipy old episode of Behind the Music and that is probably why I love this book so damn much.

Like:

Where to begin. The behind the scenes interview style of the story. I love a “spilling the tea” story and this one delivers; gossipy tales are my jam. But the thing I like best is the women of the story: Daisy, Karen Karen, and Camila. The women take control of their stories and don’t let the men take control of them.  This says it all:

I had no interest in being somebody else’s muse.

I am not the muse.

I am the somebody.

End of fucking story.

My favorite quote from the entire book. It is to be the mission statement of this story. Three strong women telling their stories with no apology. And really, their stories and points of view are the most interesting.

Not so much:

I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this story. the only thing I can think of is first person and I’m not usually a fan of first person narration. But this book wouldn’t be as good without it.

What I’ll remember :

The no bullshit, own herself with no apologies Daisy Jones and Karen Karen. Both have plans and career goals and refuse to let the gender expectations of the men in their lives to control them. It’s awesome.

Would I recommend?

Yes! Go buy this book right now and read it. Don’t wait another minute. Then come back here so we can talk about it.

You know, this book just seems to beg for a playlist to listen to while reading (or writing a review of) Daisy Jones & The Six. If you use Spotify, there is a Daisy Jones playlist, just do a search for it. If I were to put together a list it would have the entire Rumors album, a bunch of Linda Ronstadt. I just don’t think I listen to enough Linda Ronstadt, to tell the truth.

So, have you read Daisy Jones & The Six? What do you think? And so you have any suggestions for my playlist? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

 

The Friday 56, #98

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It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate.

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  (If you have to improvise, that’s okay.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky at Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

I came by this book via #BookoftheMonth.

Here is my contribution:

It is easy to copy anything these days, and most books exist in endless multiples; a single book no longer has the preciousness it had when books came to life through a cumbersome, labored process. So burning one ordinary book should have been easy for me. But it wasn’t, not at all. I couldn’t even choose a book to burn. First I thought I could burn a book I didn’t like, but that seemed to aggressive, as if I were delighting in a sort of execution.

Woo boy! What do you think of that passage? Are intrigued? I read this in April, and I love it. Such a good book. If you are looking for a book about books and libraries that’s nonfiction, well this one might be for you. I highly recommend it. Have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

And here is a link to the LA Public Library’s Instagram page. There lots of pictures of the glorious architecture of this building.

Happy Reading!