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…

Links: We Alll Read Books

The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenI learned on Kathy Temean’s blog yesterday that out of the top 17 bestselling, top earning authors, 6 of them are YA or children’s authors. Obviously J.K. Rowling’s there, I’m sure she’s been there for ages, but there’s also Veronica Roth, Jeff Kinney, and, of course, John Green — who knew you could make so much money off bringing legions of teenagers (and adults, ahem) to tears? — among others. As Kathy points out, it’s inspiring to see people writing in my age group genre making that list. But, it’s also a little overwhelming. Oh, all I have to do is sell millions of copies and nab a movie deal? On it.

I also found on The Mary Sue that millennials read books. Also, they use the library! Yes, I could have told you that, with the weekly teenagers I see come up to me at the library desk with a book stack so high they could topple over. Still, I like hearing proof of these things. I don’t consider myself a millennial, exactly (am I? Am I just outside of it? I really don’t know what the cutoff is), but I find millennial bashing massively annoying, so I like proof to the contrary.

What do you think of the articles? Did you hear any interesting book news this week?

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.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

…except actually J.K. Rowling. We all know it was Rowling, so I’m not even going to use the name Galbraith again, after that time right there.

As always, the British cover is better.
As always, the British cover is better.

When I found out that Rowling had used a pseudonym to write a mystery novel, I was very interested, but not exactly excited. Not that I’m not thrilled every time I find out that she created something new, but mostly because mystery novels aren’t usually my thing. I don’t know why, I mean, I watch enough Law and Order and true crime specials, but those just aren’t the types of books I zoom in on when I need something new to read.

After reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I have to say that I liked it. The characters were interesting, and pretty fleshed out, even the ones you don’t really see too often through the book. And there were almost as many people here as in The Casual Vacancy, but because only a handful of them were major players, rather than, like, all of them, and they were all pretty distinctive, it was only once or twice where I lost track of who someone was. With the eventual revelation of the killer, I was pleased to find that Rowling also did my favorite of her tactics from the Harry Potter books: make you so positive that it’s a certain person or persons, then turn around and make it someone you never suspected, yet still have it make total sense.

But remember, I said that I liked it, not that I loved it. It was really long, over 400 pages, and I don’t know if it had to be. Sometimes the characters would spend a long time analyzing a situation or examining exact feelings, or remembering something from the past that relates to that moment, and spend a few paragraphs going over it, which would often slow things down and cause me to zone out. Also, there was a trope that always bothers me a bit: here’s the guy that everyone acknowledges is not very attractive, but look at all the hot women who want to sleep with him. But since these hot women are also, like, crazy, eh, I can let it go.

Again, I don’t read a lot of mystery novels, so I can’t really compare it to others, but I think The Cuckoo’s Calling is a good book in the genre. I certainly enjoyed it, enough to read big chunks at a time, and I can see other readers enjoying it as well. Of course, this could turn out just like The Casual Vacancy, and I’ll be the only human I know who liked it.

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.