Things Books Made Me Want to Do

Books can inspire you to do a lot of things: learn a new topic, go somewhere, or eat something you’ve never heard of before. Or they can just make you wish that something existed so you could actually do it.

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, here are a few of the things books have made me want to do.

  • A Ring of Endless Light by Madleine L’Engle made me want to go to school for English. This is all because one person that the main character, Vicky, meets tells her that if she’s serious about her writing, she shouldn’t major in creative writing in college, but she should major in English so she can study stories. I may have been the only person I knew in middle school who knew what she was going to college for.

 

  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George made me want to live in the woods. If I could get my own peregrine falcon, even better.

  • Amelia’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss inspired me to fill my childhood journal with awesome doodles.

 

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis gave my a lifelong desire to try Turkish Delight. (It didn’t work out so well.)

 

  • And, of course, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling made me hope, hope, hope that I would be a witch. Still waiting on that owl…

Check out The Broke and the Bookish for more lists! What have books made you want to do? There are still so many other foods books made me want to try…

Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Where My People At

Part of this Orlando trip was spent in Universal Studios. While I find this park a lot of fun–cool rides mostly–there’s a lot I feel it lacks compared to Disney World.  One thing they certainly win at though: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
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If you’ve been paying attention you know I love the books, so last time I visited I loved turning a corner to find the Hogwarts Express. This time I visited Diagon Alley, and it is ridiculous to walk through that little slip in the wall and have the whole thing open up before you. So many shops, and signs, and a dragon… I ditched the family and spent an hour just wandering around by myself.  Read More »

Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and Bookish. This week they ask, what places have books made you want to visit? I couldn’t think of ten but here are a few.

Hogwarts. Honestly, I mean, why wouldn’t I want to visit? I want to go to school there, I want to attend their adult education program. It’s too bad Universal Studios is the closest I’ll ever get…

Japan. This should be a little obvious, too. I don’t want to go because I think it’s going to be like going into a manga, or anything ignorant like that. But reading so many stories set in the place has definitely inspired an affection and curiosity about the culture and the food that has only accumulated over the years.

The Dragon Caves, Outside the Enchanted Forest. If I remember the books correctly, the Enchanted Forest itself is crazy. But if working for a dragon is as cool as Princess Cimorene made it sound, you can sign me up for that.

The Faerie Market, Village of Wall. Again, going into the actual faerie realm sounds a bit too dangerous, but going to the Faerie Market for a couple of days? Awesome.

England. For one more “real” place. I want there several years ago, but it was part of the EF Tours in high school, and while that was a lot of fun it’s not one for taking in the scenery (good for getting me hooked on coffee though, boy).

There’s me. What places have books made you want to visit?

 

Quick Look: Hidden Details in Harry Potter

Continuing my bout of rereading the Harry Potter series, I’ve noticed again the details that were invisible to me on m first trek through. Little things that not only make Rowling’s world rich and real, but prove that she wasn’t making this series up as she went — everything was planned.

Just finishing (re-finishing?) The Half-Blood Prince, the main thing that popped out was the Horcruxes, and the fact that Harry finds one without even realizing it when he tries to hide his book in the Room of Requirement.

Would he be able to find this spot again amidst all this junk? Seizing the chipped bust of an ugly old warlock from on top of a nearby crate, he stood it on top of the cupboard where the book was now hidden, perched a dusty old wig and a tarnished tiara on the statue’s head to make it more distinctive, then sprinted back through the alleyways of hidden junk as fast as he could go…

Rowling includes so much detail in this paragraph, so the mention of a “tarnished tiara” hardly stands out. But, we learn towards the end of the seventh book that this is Ravenclaw’s tiara, and one of the Horcruxes Harry has to destroy. She tucks the detail in there so perfectly that no one but Rowling knows its importance, and also grants it the delightful feeling of an Easter Egg when us readers return to the story with our future knowledge.

I’ve never written anything meant to be a series (my current manuscript has potential for a sequel, but that’s different) and it’s only the daunting anxiety I have with world-building that gives me an idea of the forethought and planning that goes into story elements like this, ones you can’t go back and retroactively insert once earlier segments are published. It’s one reason why Rowling is a master, and one reason why returning to her books is a delightful journey–and teaching experience–for me.

Book Thoughts: A Return to Harry Potter

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireAs always, I have too many books on my list to read, from a new Francesca Lia Block novel to a nonfiction book on being an introvert. But surely I also have enough time to reread the entire Harry Potter series. I’ve read the first 4 books several times, but for some reason never got around to rereading 5-7. I became inspired to get on that when we were watching the movie marathon on ABC Family and my husband asked a question I could not remember the answer to. Unacceptable! But really, all I needed was one good excuse to read these guys again.
  • Speaking of J.K. Rowling, I’ve also gotten her new book, which she wrote secretly as a dude, from the library. Now, I’m in the minority of people who really, really liked The Casual Vacancy, so I went into The Cuckoo’s Calling with I think far less trepidation than some other people I know. Unfortunately, I’m also not a real fan of crime novels, which this new one is, but I still adore her, so I’ll get this beast read. Which I really need to get on top of to beat the hold list…
  • Other reason I have to rocket through this book: Rainbow Rowell’s new book is out! I read Eleanor & Park a few months ago, and it’s only my recent discoveries of The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief that beat out my love for that book. Her new on, Fangirl, sounds a tad less serious, but still delightful, especially since her main character is obsessed with a series that sounds a lot like Harry Potter…
  • Back to J.K. Rowling — have you heard about her movie? While I always thought that she would go back to books if she reentered the Harry Potter world, it’s still really exciting to hear about the movie she’ll be making. Even more exciting that it won’t be something potentially series-ruining like, “Let’s see what Harry’s doing now!” I don’t know if people are skeptical about this or not, but if they are, I say, leave her alone! After Harry Potter, Rowling’s got something most writers don’t: enough money and time to do whatever she wants. Let her try different genres and modes of storytelling; even if we don’t like it, we just have to remember what her first project was, and realize that no matter what, we can forgive what comes next.

What I’m Reading: Harry Potter, City of Bones

I just finished rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the umpteenth time. As much as I love reading, and collecting books, I don’t actually reread that often – too many other good books I need to dedicate my time to! It’s only the ones that are really good, or really special, that I’ll revisit again and again. The Harry Potter series is one of these. J.K. Rowling just puts this amazing sense of awe and wonder into her books that I just can’t seem to imitate in my own work. I love all of the characters, especially Neville, and I love that I never quite knew who the real villain was while I was reading any of the books for the first time. I plan on rereading the other 6 books, and I look forward to visiting them again.

After that was done, I started a new book, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I’m not quite 200 pages into it (it stretches past 400) and I love it. In case you haven’t read it, in this book Clary Fray is suddenly able to see demons and demon hunters, even when they’re hiding themselves from human eyes. Just as their trying to figure out what her deal is, Clary’s mother is attacked and disappears. Now Clary not only has to figure out why she’s suddenly developed “sight”, but she needs to find her mother and uncover her own memories that she can’t even access. This book was suggested to me by a woman in my MFA program, and I’m going to have to give her a hug for it when I see her in January. The main character is a girl I can get behind, and while my heart isn’t beating out of my chest like with The Hunger Games the pacing is still quick and exciting. And there are so many mysteries for me to guess at, which are also doing a great job of pulling me along. As a young adult novel it’s pretty obvious that there’s going to be some pairing up, if not in this book than in one of the sequels. The way the romance plays out is almost always too obvious and boring for me, and City of Bones looks like it’s going to follow the same track. Unless Clare decides to take a sudden twist – fall for the guy in glasses!

The next books on my list include Indigo by Alice Hoffman, which I’m reading for my MFA. And unless City of Bones takes a sudden downward spiral I’ll be picking up the sequel, City of Ashes. I also want to get a book we’ve recently gotten in the used bookstore, Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. This was another MFA-peep suggestion – WWI but steam punk! Awesome.