December Wrap Up

December was a pretty fun month for me, and not just because it was the last month of 2016 (which needed to be over long before it was).

Books Read

Unfortunately I didn’t get around to finishing any books because of how busy I was – finals, skating, job, etc – so both of these books are just books that I was currently reading during December.

  • Catalyst, A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
  • Winterspell by Claire Legend

Book Haul

  • Ahsoka by EK Johnston
  • Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake
  • The Heir by Kiera Cass
  • Conversion by Katherine Howe
  • A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls
  • Catalyst, A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (Illustrations by Jim Kay)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (Illustrations by Jim Kay)
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Novelization) by Alexander Freed
  • Libyrinth by Pearl North
  • The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason
  • Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Memorable Moments

Continue reading “December Wrap Up”

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Supercool Name

Stereotype Saturday
NaBloPoMo 2016 #5

You know those books (or movies or whatever) whose characters have just wild names? Sometimes all the characters have insane names, sometimes only a few do (and then it’s just really weird and slightly awkward).


Batman

If you’ve never seen the 1960s Batman TV series and/or movie you are seriously missing out on some of the best names for characters and things ever. But Batman in general has some pretty cool names. Check out the hilariously funny BatLabels twitter account for more.

Bat-Fam: There’s Batman who picked the most self-explanatory name ever, and then Batgirl the ultimate kickass batman-fangirl.

Batstuff:  Bat-erangs, bat-spray, bat shark repellant, batbombs, etc. Basically if you can name it Bruce Wayne can stick “bat” in front of it.

Deadpool

Like everything else in this movie, superhero names are often parodied.

Ajax: Deadpool jokes that he got his name from the dishsoap, when in fact both names are a play off the Greek Warrior was was “stronger than Greece”

Deadpool: Once again, he parodies himself by considering the name “Captain Deadpool”

Negasonic Teenage Warhead: She was literally chosen to be a character because of how awesome her name was and Deadpool repeatedly comments on it (and asks to trade).

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Not Harry himself (his name was chosen to be bland for a reason) but his children and some of the supporting characters.

Dumbledore: It means ‘bumblebee’ and I think that’s all that needs said.

Professor Sprout: Her name is spout and she works with plants and if you don’t think thats hilarious.

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

Pretty much all of the main characters in James Pattern’s Maximum ride fall into this category.

 

Novels of Ideas

I stumbled across a lovely phrase that really stuck with me in a Crash Course video the other day: Novels of Ideas.

A novel of ideas (which I shall be calling NOI for the sake of simplicity), according to John Green, is a novel that is “primarily about its ideas” rather than being about the story itself. This includes books such as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, George Orwell’s 1984, and many more. Now what do all of these books have in common besides being a NOI? I hate them.

“A novel of ideas is only as good or as bad as its ideas.”

– John Green

I must agree with the above sentiment from John Green, which is expressed in the video that inspired this blog post/rant/discussion. A NOI is, after all, written to teach a moral and therefore is better to be read in philosophy class rather than read for fun. It wants to teach you something, is a genre (overwhelming) written by old white males, and is (thankfully) going out of style in more recent years. It seems that today NOI are being published overwhelmingly in the Christian Literature genre. In these novels there is a very easy to find ‘flaw’ in the main character, and, once it is resolved, she (because that is almost always who the main character is) is able to settle down with a Good Christian husband and lead a Good Christian life. This is a bit different from NOI where often there were religious themes, however, there was seldom such a happy ending. (Please don’t think I’m mocking any religion by comparing it to NOI, I am not, I am however, not a fan of Christian Lit.)

Another thing that could be compared to NOI (and, for that matter, Christian Lit) are the ancient epics which tell tales of humanity and its many, many, many flaws (take for example The Odyssey by Homer where the main character messes up constantly, has PTSD, murders a ton of people, and is still regarded as a great hero). Epics were written to tell tales, but at the same time they were meant to teach important lessons (because many ancient religions lacked a ‘main’ religious text similar to The Bible or the Quran, people had to read into the texts to see how they were supposed to act. As such you could justify almost any action in Ancient Greece, including sleeping with your mother (I’m looking at you Oedipus).

I believe a NOI is not the same as a satire. A NOI takes itself very seriously and thinks it is an interesting work, a satire, on the other hand, does not take itself too seriously (on the outside), and knows when to take a break from the lesson and throw in some fun. At the end of the day the author of a novel of ideas is – for better or for worse – trying to impose their moral views on you rather than just tell you a story.

“Some books are undeservedly forgotten. None are undeservedly remembered.”

– W.H. Auden

Is that a bad thing? Of course not, there are many books that both tell a story and teach a lesson. Harry Potter by JK Rowling comes to mind. Harry Potter is, at its core, a book about the most true form of magic: friendship and love. But very few would argue that it is not still a good story. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien teaches about the value of friendship and over coming differences and the strengths of the underdog. George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire teaches the very true lesson that incest will not end well and rape will be ignored as long as the perpetrator is a good looking or powerful man. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins manages to tackle some of the same issues as 1984 – like governmental power and media bias and corruption – and still tell a very interesting story at the same time.

So, now for the big question: what do you think about a so-called Novel of Ideas?

Gotta Read ’em All!

This Read-a-Thon is hosted by Read At Midnight, who also did the Pokemon Go Book Tag just in case you were wondering how much its taken over her life.

For me this read-a-thon comes at whats either a great time or a terrible time: the first week of college. That means that I will probably be combining books – which yes, will cost me points according to the FAQ – but I’ll still be reading and posting about lots of Pokemon so it will still be fun!

I’ve set up my list so that there are some badges that I won’t have to do in case I run out of time, picking books that could work for more than one badge so I don’t need to stress if I can’t read one for every gym. That being said, I’d prefer to

My393Piplup_DP_anime_2 Pokemon

If you’ve not read the original post – and you really should which is why I linked to it in the first place – you need to know that part of the challenge can include leveling up your own Pokemon and, of course, I chose Piplup!

Evolutions: 

  • Level 50 CP is Prinplup
  • Level 400 CP is Empoleon

 

Continue reading “Gotta Read ’em All!”

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildHarry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre:
Publisher:
Series: Book 8 of Harry Potter

Here is the review that I promised in my post about the Harry Potter Release Party!

There will be spoilers, but they will be down at the very bottom and under a read more (if you see the photo of me on the floor and you don’t want to see spoilers, then its time to turn back)!

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

As I said before: I actually liked this more than I thought that I would. Yes I know a lot of people have been saying “it read like fanfiction” and, while they’re not wrong, it would have been hard for it not to have for a variety of reasons:

  1. There is so much fanfic of Harry Potter that basically every possible plot has been explored at least twice.
  2. It kinda was? JK Rowling wasn’t the only author, so her co-authors basically were writing fanfic and then getting it okayed by her.
  3. Its not the old Harry Potter and it never will be. Nothing will ever again capture the magic like the first 7 books.
  4. The fans have very high expectations. Very high. Like, impossible to achieve high.

 

Complaints

  • I can, without spoiling anything, tell you that Teddy Lupin and Hagrid are not in this book and that is completely unacceptable.
  • I wish it were an actual book, rather than a play (of course, it would need to be like, at least three books to cover everything).
  • It was definitely fan-service.
  • Its slow to get moving; a large portion of the first bit of the book is just Harry and Albus complaining about their lives.

Overall

When I finished this book I literally feel off the couch and laid on the floor (pics below because it did happen and I can prove it). There were just so many feelings welling up inside me that I don’t really know what to do. The first thing I want to do is read it again, and then I’ll be able to tell you a bit more about how it made me feel.

If you like Harry Potter – and you’re not one of those people who think “she should just stop writing” which I’ve covered here – then this is definitely worth reading.

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Spoilers

Continue reading “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child”

Musings on JK Rowling

To all of the people who think JK Rowling should just stop writing Harry Potter: just stop. Its her world and its her characters. Let the woman do whatever she wants. You cannot tell her what to do with them.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, I’ve always wanted to write and to share my thoughts with the world, but the last year, I’ve been having second thoughts. If someone can be as amazing as JK Rowling, and yet people still turn on her, what will they do to someone like me?

JK Rowling is an amazing woman and an amazing person, she does more charity work than I can begin to list (but I will if I have to), do you want her to ‘stop’ helping refugees? To ‘stop’ her charity fundraisers? Because if you’re telling her to stop writing, how can she continue helping charities?

A lot of people don’t like her because she speaks her mind and addresses her opinion. They’re not happy that her opinions don’t align with theirs. Well, newsflash, she has just as much right to express her opinion as you do.

“Why is JK Rowling still writing?” you ask. I dunno. Maybe because she’s an author?

“Why does she make all of this stuff up?” Hmmm. Maybe thats her job.

“She’s just doing it for attention.” Or maybe she enjoys it? Which is why its her job? I dunno, its seems super weird to pick something you love as your job.

If she includes diverse characters, you get mad. If she doesn’t, you get mad. This is why I’m terrified, TERRIFIED of being what I want to be.

Our society has become one in which people think their idols have to be perfect. You’re not allowed to be just a writer, or just an actor, or just a musician anymore, you also have to be the paragon of society. Everything they do, every word, every glance, is over analyzed by internet trolls who want to be able to say “I’m the one who proved Taylor Swift is sexist” or “I’m the one who proved that JK Rowling is racist.”