Why did you not tell me there is a Harry Potter Prequel?

Apparently I live on a different planet than most geekdom fans. Although, I can tell you all about the Disney Star Wars sequels and the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, I had NO IDEA THIS HAPPENED! Why did no one tell me???

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This apparently came out in 2008 and I was… hmmm… I was… I have no idea what I was doing but it wasn’t reading the prequel to Harry Potter, that’s for sure because NO ONE TOLD ME! I am pretty sure I wasn’t on Facebook yet and my kids were still young-ish. Had I known, I would have read it immediately. Why you ask? Because Sirius Black is a delicious male character. Not Gary Oldman from the movie because the same sex appeal is just not there. But Sirius Black from the books? Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

He is the ultimate bad boy with a good heart. Every girl’s dream when I she isn’t dreaming about George Clooney or Mark Messier or Doctors or Mr. Big or Mr. Darcy… anyways….

This prequel was too short, but so smart-ass fantastic, just like you’d expect James and Sirius to be. Only 6 pages long, it left me wishing for more. The worst of it? J.K. Rowling writes a note ” Not the prequel I am working on, but this was fun!’

DUDE! Ouch! I am sure it would be WAY better than A Casual Vacancy, that was just boring. At any rate, I had a taste of what I had been missing for a while. Now back to my regularly scheduled book Solar by Ian McEwan – with a little Pride and Prejudiced on the side.

You can get a free copy of the prequel here.

15th Anniversary of the beginning of Harry? I suddenly feel very old and melancholy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 years ago the J.K. Rowling released the first of her epic series of Harry Potter Books. I know the first one as Harry and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Americans know it to be the Sorcerer’s Stone. Why? I don’t know, something to do with it being more marketable in the USA. I HATE it when they do that to books.Publishers did it with The Book of Negroes in the rest of the world and Someone knows my Name in the USA. Anyways…

I became a Harry Potter fan by accident. I needed to find a story book to engage my young son in so he would want to become a reader. Books that girls would like to read seemed easier to find. I picked up this book in the Scholastic Book Club Flyer and decided it would be the bed-time story for the next few weeks. By the time we had caught up on the series, we were waiting for The Goblet of Fire to come out. We dressed up and went to the book launch at the local book store, picked up the book and went home. I read the first chapter to him for bed-time as was our usual routine. I then took the book to MY room and finished reading by 4:00 AM. This became a trend for me. Taking the book and reading it in one go, then preceding to read it my son.

By the time we had reached the (near) end of the series, my son was reading novels on his own. He preferred adventure stories but would never read Harry Potter on his own, that was reserved for me. He would watch me read the book through with tears rolling down my face, or so caught up in adventure I couldn’t hear what was going on around me. The advantage to reading first was I knew when a good time to stop the book for the night. Chapters aren’t always a good break in the story.

Rowling isn’t the worlds greatest literary author, but who cares. She made children readers because they finally understood that a book can transport you away to another time and place and lets you spend time with characters who might resemble you and your friends. Better yet, they might show flaws that make you feel normal. I knew Harry had an impact on my son when, as a 16 year old, he came home from a School Trip to California sporting a wand, 11 inches long, made of holly and had a phoenix feather core. It made me smile. The movies were fine, but both of us agree the books had that extra detail that became important to the characters and their lives.

They were important to me, because it gave me some extra cuddle time past the age when your mom reading to you at bed-time was not so cool. Those books were important to him too and set the stage for the future us to discuss books, movies and other geeky things we both find so fascinating. Even now, both my kids like it when I read to them occasionally  I take advantage of every second because these times are growing few and far between. One day it will be me and my grandkids cuddling up to read new adventures.

I’ll leave Harry Potter for the future grandkid’s dad to share with them because that needs to be a special time between a parent and child to let the tradition continue.

“We read to know that we are not alone.” ― William Nicholson

 

“We read to know that we are not alone.”
William Nicholson

 

I just came off a weekend reading frenzy. I love those kind of weekends. You know the type, lay around in comfy clothes, snacking instead of eating meals and reading 3 books that had me a Page 1.

The first book was J.K. Rowling’s A Causal Vacancy. This was my least favorite of the 3 books this weekend. The story line was just fine, there were a couple of characters I really enjoyed. I loved reading about Krystal’s family and I really liked Andrew. The rest of the town was just overloading me on not caring very much. There was something about this book that made me wade through the crappy bits to get to the climax. Rowling is a master of creating excitement and building to a big finish. That was obvious from reading all her previous works. A Casual Vacancy also had a big build up. I LOVE that in a book. It was unfortunate that this story line was less than interesting. Even with the big build up to the end, I was left with disappointment in her plot line. It was just a regular little town with regular weird residents that resemble people I know. I have to admit of being sucked in by the author’s name. I will likely read her next book but am still holding out hope she will create a Marauders series. Her small town book was dull….except for the end. I rated this book 3 out of 5 on Goodreads.

After I read that book, I immediately picked up A Dog’s Purpose. My friend and bookclub mate The Reader suggested it to me. Our taste in books is very similar, so I figured I would likely enjoy this one too. Did I ever love this book! You don’t need to be a dog lover to enjoy it. The story is from the perspective of the dog, who reincarnates 4 times and has memory of his previous lives. The interesting part for me was how this pup would learn from lessons taught in each life and bring it forward to the next one knowing he has a purpose and must fulfill it. I read this book in a couple of hours and was enchanted right from the time he was Toby until the end of the book as Buddy. I rated this book 5 out of 5 on Goodreads. Love, love, loved it!

The last book I read was the Book of Negroes by Canadian Author Lawrence Hill. It won the Canada Reads award and is a book that everyone should read. I rated it 5 out of 5 on goodreads. For some reason, it is called Someone Knows My Name in the USA.  Which is a shame because of the historical importance of the book entitled The Book Of Negroes (a log kept by the British military to keep track of the slaves, endentured slaves and people freed from slavery who were transplanted to the British colonies in Nova scotia and New Brunswick). It was the story of an 11 year old girl who was captured by the slave traders in Africa. It talked about her 3 month journey to the coast where she was branded and sent on a slave ship to Sullivan Island where she was sold. The story moves throughout her amazing, yet tragic life and the 7 different places she lived. She was more fortunate than most but her life was tragic none the less. I was shocked and shamed to learn about Nova Scotia’s part in the slave trade. The underlying message from this book was timely. It stressed the importance of educating women,especially after Malala Yousafzai was shot for being an activist for girls right to education. Shining Hope for Communities is an organization that combats gender inequality and extreme poverty in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, by linking tuition free schools for girls to accessible social services for all. Studies show that by educating women, poverty can be reduced and violence is lessened. Women who are educated and well read tend to are less fearful. People shouldn’t have to live in fear.

The Dali Lama said this today on his facebook page:

Comparing the 20th century to now there are many hopeful signs. Look at the way people view war. These days many people challenge the need for it, they question why we have to resort to it. In the early twentieth century there was no talk about protecting the environment, yet now everyone is aware of it. Our perceptions are coming closer to reality; humanity is becoming more mature and I am optimistic about the future.

I think we are making gains. Keep Reading people!