Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cast a Harry Potter Spell Tag

So I try to keep loose tabs on Kate's many blogging friends. There are so many that it's nearly impossible to keep up.

I follow Nevillegirl's most of all (and even then, I don't keep up very well, though I'd like to), but the others, I mostly check in on now and then. I randomly browse my Feedly for posts (except for Nevillegirl's, whose blog I search for specifically by name in my feed reader). I wish I could remember how I found her blog in the first place (or did TMV find it first?) - I don't remember. But it is a great blog. Straightforward and thought provoking. Plus, she's awesome at interacting with her readers and following their blogs, too. I like that.

Well, I happened to see this tag on Layla's blog (another fun blog and good blogging friend of TMV's) and my inner nerd rose up with widened eyes and arms held high - "YES! I want to do this tag!" I excitedly told our family about it and The Magic Violinist totally did it. Like a month ago. Me? Grown-up responsibilities keep getting in my way.

For example, since starting this post 3 paragraphs ago, I've received numerous texts, answered a couple of quick phone calls, found out that two different groups of people are stopping by our house (one for a check and one for some Nerf weapons), responded to some emails, worked on dinner, and addressed my ever-demanding dog's needs. Why don't I write more? It's a mystery.

Anyway, this blog tag looks like SO MUCH FUN, so here I go:

But wait! Both the home phone AND the cell phone rang at once while I was on the phone with our friend Dave who is in the hospital. Before that, I got a few texts to arrange various things going on today. And Thing 2 came to the door to pick up a Nerf weapon to go to his friend's house to play Hunger Games (not as horrible or violent as it sounds) and left with his friend's family. In a minute, Mark is getting back from a Nature Club homeschool activity with Thing 1 and her BFF who comes over every week and stays over. And my text just dinged again - Dave, who had to get off the phone to do paperwork, is now available to talk. I'll call him back. Oh wait. He's calling me. And my dog's stance at the window along with her plaintive cries tell me Mark's back with the girls. WELCOME TO OUR LIFE. We love it. :)

Be back later . . .

Several phone calls (what's funny is that we don't get many phone calls usually, but we happen to have a lot going on at the moment - yes, more than usual), messages, texts, doorbell rings, dog demands, dinner prep steps later . . . I'm ready now (though the rest of this blog took all day to write due to all-day interruptions. I'm considering becoming a recluse).

Fixes damaged objects
A book that needs some serious fixing: They Did it with Love by Kate Morgenroth was a bit of a *shrug* and an eye roll for me. Imagine the Stepford Wives having a book club and then solving a murder amongst themselves. Not my cup of tea. Not the greatest thing I've ever read. Flat characters, lame ending. 

Creates a narrow beam of light
A book that deserves more attention: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is one of the best books I've read in quite some time. It is a YA (young adult) book, but that shouldn't scare off adult readers at all. It is an incredibly compelling read - wonderful character development, sweet story. The characters have depth and dimension to them, more than most you can read in any one book, in my opinion. This is the kind of book I wish I could write. I've said it before - I love quirky, indie films and the simple-plot films of the 80s, as both tend to focus more on characters in a simple plot than on grand adventures. So often I watch those films and think about how one could capture the same kind of idea and feeling in a book. Well, now I know. Rainbow Rowell can do it! And how! She is the kind of author I'd love to be.

Counters the effects of Lumos
An overhyped book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Yep. I agree with Kate. I think it was way too gimmicky and way too long. The weird lists of words before every chapter (random and distracting), the gimmick of death narrating (didn't work), and the sheer length of the book . . . it's too much. It's a WWII story and you would think, given the hype, that it would have something different to offer and I'm not convinced that it did. It was a chore to finish, though I must admit that once I did, I liked it overall, but it really shouldn't have been so tedious to get through.

Summons an object from a significant distance
A book you’re anticipating: Landline by Rainbow Rowell! And very, very much so!

Opens unlocked doors, unless bewitched
A book you want to be more open about: I'm not sure what this means - one I'm more open to reading? One I'm more open about in sharing with others? Hmmmm. Well, I'm a pretty open person and tend to share quite a bit of myself on here, so I can't think of any books I've not shared openly (no weird stash in my room or anything like that). I'll go with the first definition. Hmmm. Well, I'm not very closed off to reading different genres either, though I tend to stick with contemporary novels. Um, gah! Decisions. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. And to be clear, it's not that I'm not open to it, I would LOVE to read it. But I don't care for violent books (and movies) and I know it's pretty graphic. I'm fairly obsessed with Harper Lee and have been reading about her and her relationship with Truman Capote and so that one is on my mind right now. I've spent a couple of hours today reading about them both and talking with the kids and Mark about it. (Nerds). Fascinating stuff. The reason it's on my mind is that I'm reading To Kill A Mockingbird with Kate and I'm falling even deeper in love with that book. 

Expecto Patronum
Conjures an incarnation of positive feelings
A book that made you cry, or at least want to: Oh, I cry with books. I've cried with Harry Potter, Wonder, and The Fault in our Stars to name a few very good ones. Oh, and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. Oh, and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

Conjures the Dark Mark
A book you wish to mark as one of your favorites: I refuse to pick one. I have 5 favorites: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Petrificus Totalus
Petrifies victim
A book you wish to keep forever: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Used against a boggart
A book with a deceiving synopsis: Hilarious answer for this one on Kate's post by the same name. Umm, let me think. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Irresistible? Hysterical? Marvelous? I didn't get it. Like at all. I feel like I've flunked some kind of geek class by not getting or liking it, but so it is. Granted, those are reviews and not a synopsis, but I couldn't think of anything else. Oh! I didn't like The Name of this Book is Secret either. Yuck.

Lacarnum Inflamarae
Shoots fireballs
A book you wish to burn out of your mind completely: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I loved the title and love, love, love The Fault in our Stars, but I did *not* like this book. Thing 1 encouraged me repeatedly to stop reading it if I was disliking it so much, and eventually I did. Boy, was I glad. Couldn't get into the characters or the setting and really? A guy being dumped by 19 Katherines? C'mon!

Wingardium Leviosa
Levitates objects
A book you wish to reread: I am not generally a re-reader, but there is one book I've read a half dozen times and loved every. single. time. and that is To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a wonderful book. I fall in love with it more and more with every read. 

Avada Kedavra
Causes instant death
Worst book EVER: Wow, that's a harsh one. Well, I remember reading a book a few years ago that was so bad, I couldn't believe it had been published at all. It gave me a great deal of hope that I could one day be published (kind of a if-that-can-be-published thing . . . ). I've looked and looked, but can't find it online or remember what it was. I think it might've been by Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed?) or some other chick lit author. I don't tend to read a lot of chick lit and it's driving me crazy that I don't remember what it was. I specifically remember a scene where the main female character goes dumpster diving and describes, in detail, a feminine product that was in the trash. It was stupid and disgusting and poorly written. I think it was in that moment I thought, "What the heck am I reading?!?" And then promptly stopped.

Puts victim in an unconscious state
A book with a chapter you couldn’t seem to get over: The Harry Potter series (spoiler alert) broke my heart when Fred died.

Causes befuddlement or forgetfulness
A book that generally confused you: Again, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Inflicts unbearable pain
A book that was a pain to read: These are hard to come up with. Thankfully, I generally like the books I read. Um, whatever that stupid chick lit book was that I can't remember. I'd put that one here.

Heals relatively minor injuries
A feel good book that you enjoyed: Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Such a beautiful, moving, inspirational book. Read it. Read it now.

Impedes target’s progress
A book that kept you up all night reading: Harry Potter - particularly the 4th book. I remember reading the graveyard scene and being freaked out, because it was creepy and I was reading it late at night and Mark was asleep next to me. I kept fidgeting and fidgeting, really hoping he'd wake up and as soon as he stirred at all, I said, "Oh! You're awake! Good!" and he stayed awake with me while I read the scary part. He's the best. Another story I have about staying up with a book also involves Mark and it's super sweet. When we first got married and were finishing up college, I had to read a book for a class and I was struggling to stay awake reading it, not because it wasn't good (it's a great book), but because I was exhausted. So, I caught Mark up on the story to that point and he read to me (he's so sweet), but after a while, I fell asleep anyway. Well, he got so interested in the book while reading it to me, that he stayed up into the wee hours to read it himself! The book? The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Such a good book. Such a great husband.

Immediate silencing
A book that left you speechless after you read it: I agree with Kate. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. It stayed with me in a beautiful way and nothing has since compared.

Allows you to delve into someone’s mind
A book with well-developed characters: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, hands down. The beauty of her books is that she develops rich, complex characters with great depth and the focus is on that, rather than some grand plot. I love it. And besides obvious gems like To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I'd also add characters in The Help, Water for Elephants, One Day and All is Vanity. I loved how all of those books were presented uniquely and how they all made me think and feel things and tap into ideas and emotions deep inside of me. Inspiring! I also very much enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind and The Thirteenth Tale. I'm a huge fan of gothic novels.

A spell that turns you upside down
A book that changed your mind about a character from its prequel: Well, Harry Potter obviously. First there was Sirius. Then, of course, my view of Snape changed drastically and I think the scene with Snape's memories in Harry Potter 7 is one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire series of films. That was an Oscar snub for Alan Rickman and that is a shame.

Used to hide memories
A book with a story you can’t remember: I can't remember.

Peskipiksi Pesternomi
Useless spell
A boring book that had absolutely no effect on you: I can't think of one. Usually a boring book makes me crazy, so I'm struggling to come up with one that had a neutral effect.  

Breaks through solid objects
A book that convinced you to reconsider a certain genre: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I don't read a whole lot of non-fiction and I generally think of them as being factual and straightforward and not really reading like a story or novel, but this one is WAY different. The prologue had me shouting to anyone who would listen, "Are you KIDDING me?!? This is real?!? This is crazy!!" Seriously. Read it. True story. It will captivate you from page prologue. Other non-fiction books that I have really enjoyed include The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd (life altering) and Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks (absolutely fascinating!).

Tickling spell
A book that made you laugh: The Fault In Our Stars and Wonder. I know I listed both of those as books that made me cry, but they also made me laugh. I think it's a sure sign of a great book when it can do both. I also enjoyed the humor in Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - so funny. Oh, and Bridget Jones's Diary made me laugh at a time in my life when I was struggling to do so.

Offensive spell that violently wounds the target
A book that may have scarred you for life: It may sound cliché, but I have to say The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I read it before it was big and it moved me. I cried HARD when I read that book as a newlywed. Beautiful love story. I've always refused to watch the movie, because I didn't want to mess with the picture in my mind from that beautiful book.

Makes you dance uncontrollably
A series finale that made you feel giddy: Believe it or not, I'm not a big series reader. I can say that A Series of Unfortunate Events didn't make me giddy. I didn't love the ending of that one. I'll have to go with Harry Potter. While I was so sad to be done with the Harry Potter series, I was mostly very satisfied with it. What a series!

Bombarda Maxima
Causes an explosion that breaks through obstacles
A book that made you explode with the feels: To Kill a Mockingbird, Rebecca, The Fault In Our Stars, Eleanor & Park, The Harry Potter series, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Help, Wonder, Bridge to Terabithia, to name a few.

Finite Incantatem
Nullifies other spells
A book you thought you’d dislike, but ended up loving: Well, I resisted Harry Potter for a while, because I thought I wouldn't like it - a boy wizard? Fantasy? Magic? Not my thing, I thought. Boy, was I wrong! Love, love, love Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling is a genius. And how appropriate, being that this is a Harry Potter Tag post. :)


LMW said...

There's no way I haven't said this already, but To Kill A Mockingbird is my very favorite book!

I love Anne of Green Gables too. You're probably already aware of it, and I don't know if you like more quaint shows, but I enjoyed the Road to Avonlea television series. It's kind of a spin off of Anne of Green Gables. It's definitely schmaltzy, but it's heartwarming too like Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons, two other shows that have my heart.

A book that made me cry was Little Men. I'm sure there have been others, but that's the one that comes to mind right now...probably because I'm thinking of wholesome books.:)

I'm not a re-reader either. I can watch TV shows (Friends, Gilmore Girls, Big Bang Theory) and even some movies over and over again, but not books so much. I guess my imagination has its limits for books. To Kill A Mockingbird is the book I'd like to read again if I had to re-read a book though.

Jimmy said...

Wow, you were really unimpressed with The Book Thief. I ended up loving it, and I thought the movie was underrated.

You've given me some great suggestions of books I need to read. Thanks!

Boquinha said...

You guys are the best! I love getting comments from you!

"To Kill A Mockingbird" is such a beautiful book. SUCH a beautiful book. Also, I'd forgotten how FUNNY it is. I've laughed out loud several times reading it with Kate. Oh! I should've added that to the post under books that make me laugh out loud.

We've been watching Little House on the Prairie! And I love "Little Women" and "Little Men." We've even visited Louisa May Alcott's house.

Yep - I can rewatch those shows, too! Books are (generally) a different story, but "To Kill A Mockingbird" . . . aaaaahhhhh. Read it again! Read it again! Immediately, you're drawn in.

I liked it well enough once I finished it, but not nearly as much as most people seem to like it.

Oooh, ooh, what do you think you'll read next?

Jimmy said...

I think it's time for me to try Rainbow Rowell. I've had a couple of road blocks to that though. First time I went to look for a book by her at the library, I thought her last name was Roswell. (BTW, did you ever watch that TV series back in the 90s? Great show). Anyway, now that I have her name right, her books are all checked out with 4 month holds on them. So I'm going to break down and buy her book. The two titles you've mentioned both sound great.

Dr. Mark said...

Phew! I can tell you put a lot of effort and thought into this post. I thought about doing it myself but realized very quickly that I'll never get it done before 2015. Although, if you could finish it with all of those distracting forces assaulting you, maybe I can.

I think you and Kate are experts at casting Lumos for Eleanor & Park. Rainbow Rowell should give you a cut of her royalties.

I'm not at all surprised at your list of books. I agree with so many of your selections (at least the ones I've read as well).

Very nice post. I'm impressed.

Boquinha said...

Jimmy, I highly recommend "Eleanor & Park" to start - you are a loving father of girls, and I think the book will break your heart and move you. (Didn't ever see Roswell). I like everything by her, but that is far and away my favorite. There's something special about it.

Mark, it's fun, but LONG. Thanks. :)

The Magic Violinist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Magic Violinist said...

Ha! Loved your answer for Obliviate. And I can honestly say that I agree with you on most everything you wrote. A few of my blogger friends have recommended The Notebook to me. Do you think I'd like it?

Anonymous said...

Eeeep, thanks for the shout-out and compliments! :)

Nooooooooooo! *shrieks dramatically* An Abundance of Katherines was lovely! It's part of the reason TfiOS disappointed me... I felt Katherines was nice and quirky while the other one was trying too hard.

Emily Foley said...

Oh, I loved the Book Thief! Really loved it. I just bought it for my dad for his birthday. I got him the movie too, though I haven't seen it.

I've never read to Kill A Mockingbird. Whaaat?

I loved Pride & Prejudice so much I decided to read all of Jane Austen's works but ouch, they're mostly painful. I really liked Mansfield Park but Emma? Oh my gosh that was the WORST BOOK EVER.

at the end of the 6th Harry Pottery my brother wrote a thesis on why Snape would turn out to be the hero of the books. It was shockingly accurate--always trust Dumbledore is the lesson here--and it tainted me. I started to love Snape at the end of the 6th book because of my brother's opinion. But I agree, I can't get through that chapter of memories without bawling. Such a beautifully written character, so brave. When Noah had to choose a name for a story he was writing at OT he chose Severus Snape. :)

I've tried to read the Thirteenth Tale more than once and cannot get past the first chapter. It's painful for me. Weird.

Boquinha said...

The Notebook is a BEAUTIFUL book. I read it as a newlywed and it really affected me. I don't think of it as a teen book, but maybe?

Nevillegirl, you're welcome! They're deserved. :) I just couldn't get into the characters in AAofK. It was all too over the top for me - the 19 Katherines particularly. And I really dislike the setting (the South) - blech. Have you read "Looking for Alaska?" That's my next John Green book. I thought Paper Towns was okay. I've heard LFA is better.

Oh Emily, TKAM is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful books ever written. From page one, you love the characters, laugh, cry, are drawn in. Read it!

Oooh, the Thirteenth Tale is delicious. A woman recently joined our book club and her eyes positively lit up when she heard that we'd read that book.

I think Alan Rickman deserved an Oscar for his performance of that scene. Talk about a snub.