Tag Archives: Harry Potter

40 Things (17)

Global constellation map
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, her 17th topic is:

17) A book with the best evil character

I don’t read many books with truly evil characters.  He Who Shall Not Be Named was pretty terrifying in the Harry Potter series.  The bad guys in Stieg Larsson‘s books were pretty terrifying, because they were more human, I’m afraid.  Evil people scare me more than evil wizards.

The 17th thing on my list of 40 things was to “Learn the constellations from one season.”  Pretty specific and measurable.  But sadly, I’m lacking.  But not for want of trying!  We did have several successful star gazing parties at a friend’s home – lying on a blanket in the country gazing in wonder at the many stars.  I love the app on my phone called Google Sky that shows the constellations as you look at them.  Now I can always learn something!

Off to read!

 

40 Things (15)

Cover of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly C...
Cover of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 15!  Her topic for today is:

15) A book that I have read the most number of times

Well, I don’t tend to re-read books too much (save the kiddo books I read when smaller), so the books I’ve read twice include: the Harry Potter series, Pride & Prejudice, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  That’s all I can remember.  I sort of have a “keep moving forward” philosophy and so use my limited time to try new books.  I had some poetry books when I was younger (“Now We Are Six” and “Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle”) that I read over and over again because they were so clever and fun.

#15 on my list of 40 things was to WRITE.  Blog, journal, stories, poetry, letters and postcards.  Again, not measurable but it has made me more purposeful and intentional and to put stamps on things and to keep a book for haikus.  Good stuff.

Off to read!

40 Things (7)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, her next question is:

7) A favourite YA book

I had to go to goodreads to find a list of “best YA books” to see if I had read any – and of course I have read quite a few!  The Harry Potter series would rank up there as favorites, but also “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and Louise Rennison’s books about Georgia (“Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging” et al).  When I was a YA, I read and re-read “A Wrinkle in Time” and as a grown adult with a YA of my own, I tried to read it and found it slightly disturbing.  So interesting how your brain changes…

#7 on my list of things to do before 40 was to “experiment with recipes.”  Wow.  How vague is that?  Since my daughter went to college in ’06 and the flood of ’07, I have cooked less and less.  When I do I like to try something new.  I set it as a goal in 2011 to cook weekly and have mostly failed at that as well.

What I am learning from reviewing my list of 40 things is that I need to be better at setting measurable and specific goals!  Although, it still was fun to create a list of the way I wanted things to be.

Off to read!

40 Things (3)

Elizabeth tells her father that Darcy was resp...
Image via Wikipedia

Playing along with Boof’s 40 Day Book Challenge for her 40th birthday, day 3 –

3) A book with a favourite character

I’m sure that there are others but last summer I read the book “Love Walked In” by Marisa de los Santos and I remember vividly that I wanted to be friends with Cornelia.  She was spunky and fun and kind and quirky and I wanted the best things for her.  There are a lot of other favorite characters, too.  Elizabeth Bennet (AND Mr. Darcy) in “Pride & Prejudice,” Lizbeth Salander in “The Girl…” books, Harry Potter, Oskar Schell in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” and I could go on and on.  But these are a few favorites.

Looking back on my list of 40 Things, my #3 was to “Learn some Italian.”  Not a very good goal – not specific or measurable – but again it’s more about the big picture than the minute steps.  I listened to a bunch of Italian podcasts and downloaded some vocabulary lists and that’s as far as it got.  I’d love to go to Italy someday and think that would be incentive to actually get the words to stick in my head.  I think my Italian Ferragosto holiday at the lake each August will also help inspire me to learn more Italian and get to Italy some day.

Off to read!

40 Things…

My Year in Lists
Image via Wikipedia

Boof at the Book Whisperer turns the big 4-0 this year and is counting down to her birthday in October (shortly after mine!) with a 40 Day Book Challenge!  I think I’ll play along (when I can) and also will write about my own list of “40 things to do before I turn 40” from a few years ago!

Her first question was:  1) A favourite book of 2011 (so far)
When I looked through my Goodreads “read” shelf, the books that had five stars include all the Harry Potter books, which I listened to on audio this year, two Maeve Binchy books, and “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky”.  So I’m going to say my favorite of the year is “Finding Frankie” by Binchy.  I’ve expounded on my love of all things Binchy before, so I’ll just leave it at that.

My friend Deadra and I were both looking at turning 40 in 2008 and wanting to commemorate it in some way.  We love lists so decided to each write our own list of 40 things to do before turning 40.  We wrote the lists in late 2006, giving us plenty of time to accomplish them.  Looking at my own list of 40 Things Before 40, my #1 started out simple –
1)  Re-read “Pride and Prejudice.”
And I did.  To me, Austen is a great book to laze away the summer with, absorbing each word, paragraph and page.  It’s relaxing and a lovely way to spend time.

My list of Things was a lot of fun to write and accomplish, even though they were pretty small feats, for the most part.  Some of them were more about a way of thinking than doing.  It’ll be fun to relive it a little here…

Off to read!

 

Catching up on Book Talk

Cover of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan:...
Cover of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

It seems that I haven’t written about the books I’ve read lately!  I do post quick little reviews on goodreads (it’s just so easy to keep that site updated and write some thoughts) so I’ll recap here…

Reverse, chronological order 🙂

House Rules – I’m currently reading this book, after attempting to listen to the audiobook.  I was given the book and its heft made it pretty easy to grab the audiobook that was sitting on the shelf at the library, in order to replace my Harry Potter listening time!  But, oh!  How awful it was to listen to this book, narrated by four individuals, and told at a painfully slow pace.  Sometimes I thought the disc must be done but it was simply a pause – between sentences or paragraphs or chapters.  No matter.  Ugh.  So I picked up the book and have been ripping through it!  It is a fast read and I’m sure I’ll finish it tonight or in the morning. It’s hard to put down.  Isn’t it great when a book grabs you like that?

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – I have loved books about the Far Eastern culture for a long time.  Probably at least since I returned from my visit to South Korea, if not before. Lisa See has written some great books about the Chinese culture – in America and coming to America in recent history and in a more historical China. “Snow Flower” ia the first of Lisa’s books to make it to the big screen (I believe I’m right) and I am excited to see it. (I may have to make a trip to the Cities if I want to see it in the theatre!  Durn limited releases!) This book is about Snow Flower and Lily, who are matched as laotong or “old sames” as young girls. They communicate to each other mostly through the “women’s language,” nu shu, written on a fan.  The match is made so that one girl may rise up and the other may learn the ways of those lower than her.   A good read about these two women through their lifespans – one reaches 80 years.  I look forward to reading Lisa’s newest book – Dreams of Joy – a sequel to Shanghai Girls.  Yay!

The Girl in the Garden – Kamala Nair, an author who grew up in Rochester, wrote a charming and sweet story about a girl whose troubled mother brings her to her home village in India for a summer. Now an adult, Rakhee writes the story of the Girl in the Garden to her fiance as she returns to India to obtain resolution for the secrets that she learned as a 10 year old during that fateful summer.  I am also fascinated by the mid-Eastern culture and have read a lot of books set in India.  This was easy to read and a sweet story.

Olive Kitteridge – A book club pick that was lukewarmly received.  It was good.  Not great. Not gonna be something I will remember a year from now (well, maybe the fun time we had at book club not discussing it will be remembered!). But it was well-written and kept me reading, looking for Olive in the short stories.

Second Thyme Around; Stately Pursuits; Highland Fling – These three books by Katie Fforde were light and fluffy and predictable.  Good summer fare, but again not great.  I think in another post I listed other similar authors that I would recommend before Fforde (Jane Green; Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy) . Of these three books I would recommend Second Thyme Around as the most interesting.

I think I’m about caught up.  I will remember this spring/summer as being very full of Harry Potter, and now I’m done talking about that.

After I finish House Rules I will pick another book from my ever-growing pile and will let you know what’s next!  I encourage you to be my friend on goodreads and let me know what you’re reading!

Off to read!

Half-Full

Factura Electrónica 2011
Here comes the second half! Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to believe that 2011 is half over, now that July (and some steamy summer weather) has arrived.  I know that writing my “end of 2010 letter” in February probably makes mid-year creep up sooner, but nonetheless, it is amazing how fast the time goes.

I set a goodreads reading goal for 2011 of 55 books.  I’m happy to say I’m ahead of the game, with 30 books read at the halfway point!  And much summer reading time still to come!

I’m half-done with book 7 of Harry Potter.  Unfortunately, the library audiobook was missing a disc (ugh) so I’ll be reading a little bit of the book again.  It’s just so good.  And I’m so excited to make the deadline of getting all the books read before the movie comes out halfway through July!

I’m still reading way too many book blogs.  It can overwhelm.  And it impinges on book reading time!  I’ll have to start culling my blogger feed.  And the book blogs only make my to-read list longer on goodreads!  Not a bad problem, I guess, but I think for now I’ll work on the pile of books by my bed.

I just finished my third book by Katie Fforde, and they were fun but not the best fluffy British books I’ve ever read.  I love Jane Green books; Marian Keyes is light and fun; and you know of my love for all things Binchy.  I’d put them all before another Katie Fforde book.

I’m looking forward to a great second half of 2011 – the first half has had some downers so it can only get better, right?  Since my glass is always half full, I know it to be true!

Happy July, all!
Off to read…

Last post about SPRING READING THING!

summer reading
Image by ruminatrix via Flickr

Tomorrow is the LAST DAY OF SPRING!  Thus, this is the end of my SPRING READING THING posts.  I feel great about what I accomplished this spring, and with the most current list of books, I will leave it.  Thanks for the challenge, Katrina at Callapidder Days!

  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2)
  • Harry Potter (3)
  • Harry Potter (4)
  • Harry Potter (5)
  • Harry Potter (6)
  • Harry Potter (7)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
  • Twenties Girl
  • The Carrie Diaries
  • Minding Frankie
  • Sweet Revenge

Off to read!

Spring Reading Thing Countdown…

Spring Blossoms
Image by jnyemb via Flickr

Katrina over at Callapidder Days is hosting the Spring Thing Reading Challenge, 2011, and I’ve been participating.  It’s hard to believe that it will be done with the first day of summer (YAHOO) next week, but how exciting is that?  It was a pretty loosely defined challenge – challenge yourself to read books during the three months of spring.  You could add to the list, take away from the list, whatever you needed to do to challenge yourself.

My list has expanded greatly since my first post and one book that was on my initial list remains unread – so far.  I still have time.  It is in my possession from the library reserve.  It’s hard to say there was a favorite that stuck out in my spring reading, because there were quite a few books that I loved.  Or really liked, at any rate.  The Harry Potter series is so fun to listen to.  Jane Eyre was a great listen and I’m thankful for that experience.  I’m reading my second Maeve Binchy book of the spring and they just are so comfortable and lovely that they just feel good to read.  I really enjoyed The Carrie Diaries, meeting Carrie Bradshaw pre-NYCThe Twenties Girl was fun fluff.  Major Pettigrew was a nice read.  Both Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet were sweet and not as heavy as I’d feared.

If I had to choose, I’d probably say I’m so glad I found a few Binchy books that I haven’t read.  They are reliably wonderful, in my book.

And when I’m done with Minding Frankie, I’ll start Fly Away Home.  I’ll also finish listening to book 6 in the Harry Potter series, on the list for book 7 from the library.  I’m sure that will conclude my Spring Thing Reading Challenge.

I signed up for a goodreads challenge, to read A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I have on audio, so I’ll listen to that after book 6 of HP, too.

INITIAL LIST:
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
the next book from the library… will have to look it up as it’s downstairs.  It was a new release that grabbed me.
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

CURRENT LIST:

  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2)
  • Harry Potter (3)
  • Harry Potter (4)
  • Harry Potter (5)
  • Harry Potter (6)
  • Harry Potter (7)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
  • Twenties Girl
  • The Carrie Diaries
  • Minding Frankie
  • Sweet Revenge

Well, off to read!

Audiobook Week 2011!

It’s Audiobook Week, hosted by Devourer of Books (http://www.devourerofbooks.com/) and I couldn’t let the week go by without writing about my love of audiobooks!  (Although I’m SUPER-DUPER frustrated right now because for some reason WordPress is saving my document as BLANK!  Third time is the charm???  I’m learning and actually typing this into a word document so that I can save it and see if I can eventually publish it!  Yikes and Ugh!  Has this ever happened to anyone???)

As I say over and over again, I am currently listening to the Harry Potter series on audio and enjoying every minute of it (when I’m done I’ll have to figure out exactly how many minutes I spent listening!).  I cheated and didn’t listen to book 1, as I forgot what was book 1 and what was book 2 and so I started with book 2.  I’m currently on book 6 and really looking forward to book 7!  It has been some years, but I read all of the books before and some of them I remember more than others.  Listening has just brought them to a whole new level.  Jim Dale is an incredible narrator, providing voices for all the characters that are recognizable and not at all distracting.  What an incredible series.

I have been a commuter for 18 years, driving at least 30 miles one-way each day.  I have never minded commuting because I choose good stuff to listen to in my car.  I am totally unaware of top-40 music, but I am well-read!  I frequented the small-town library where I lived, and they had an extensive number of audiobooks so I read every book that I wanted to, and even some that I didn’t know I wanted to read.  I have listened to memoirs, thrillers, non-fiction, children and YA literature, and fiction.  When I bought my car in 2005 it only had a CD player, so I had a cassette player installed so that I could continue my habit!  Fortunately, books are now on CDs (and they were in 2005, too… just not as many!) and with the purchase of my iPod I also checked out digital audiobooks from the library system.  I live in a bigger city now and the library audiobook section is overwhelmingly large, so I often reserve a book I want to listen to rather than browse the many shelves.

Some of my favorite audiobooks include:

  • Diane Mott Davidson’s catering mysteries are always light and fun
  • Lillian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who… books are also always light and fun
  • Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series were unexpectedly interesting to me
  • Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries were also fun and interesting – Kinsey Milhone
  • Audrey Niffenegger’s books were good listens, although The Time Traveler’s Wife was difficult to follow with the dates and ages changing at the beginning of each chapter
  • Life of Pi was a beautiful listen
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was fun to listen to because I felt like I was in the boy’s head
  • Same with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (although I missed the visuals that are in the print version, so I re-read that one)
  • Anything written and read by Bill Bryson is a good time – he’s witty with a dry humor
  • Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto was a beautiful book, beautifully read

The thing I love best about audiobooks is that it fulfills my wish to be immersed in a story at all times.  I can listen while cooking dinner, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn and vacuuming, exercising, and driving.  Someone complained to me recently that they dreaded the tedious drive down Broadway, but getting into the car is something I rarely dread.  Thankfully my commute never entails rush hour traffic, but I think with a good audiobook I could even abide stop-and-go traffic.

I remember things differently when I listen to them rather than read the print version.  When I listen to a book I remember fewer details – like names and dates – but I remember more about the visuals drawn by the author’s words and the feelings that are evoked by the story.  So listening to a book I’ve read or reading a book that I’ve listened to is never a bad thing.  Each provides a different experience.

What are your favorite audiobooks?  What’s the longest audiobook you’ve ever listened to?  Do you find you remember things differently by listening?

Well, off to read!