Upon Re-Reading the Harry Potter Series

Not too long ago, my husband was going through the remainder of his possessions that were left in his parents’ attic and found the entire Harry Potter series, so he brought them home and I started reading them.

I absolutely loved the series when it first came out and obsessively read the first four books over and over (I didn’t own the last three) until I practically had them memorized. But when I went to college, I was finished with the series and didn’t pay any more attention to it beyond watching the movies (and I hardly remember the movies).

So these are my main impressions after not having read the Harry Potter books for a number of years:

(1) It’s a great story. The plot is well done, and I have always liked how things that don’t seem to have much significance suddenly become significant later on. J.K. Rowling is a master at “planting” items or people in the plot.

(2) It’s still impossible to put down. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I plowed through the books as though I had never read them before. In a way, this is almost annoying because you want to keep reading so badly that it’s hard to take a step back and savor the books. I suppose that’s why they get read multiple times.

(3) I don’t know why the haters say the series is poorly written or bad. Yes, J.K. Rowling does have some annoying quirks to her writing (using em dashes and ellipses too much is one that comes to mind), but what author doesn’t? I stand by my statement of some years ago that Harry Potter is not “literature” per se, but it is a good, classic story. Just because something’s not “literature” doesn’t mean it’s trash. Everything has a purpose.

Maybe after this, I should re-read the Chronicles of Narnia series (another that I dearly loved) and see if it’s held up well over the years. I already tried getting back into the Dragonriders of Pern series a while back and found that it had no appeal to me whatsoever (and I was absolutely obsessed with those books in middle and high school).

Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Time

Sadly, it is nearly NaNoWriMo time again. I say “sadly” because I’m not going to be participating this year, and my participation has dwindled in the past few years. I got partly through 2016 before giving up, didn’t even try 2017 (but my intentions were there), and I’m not even getting my hopes up for 2018 (but I might lie and say I’m participating just to keep up my “streak” on the NaNo site).

I did remember that this year would be my 10-year NaNo-versary, and that first NaNo was a time I will never forget. October 25, 2008, was the day I first heard of NaNoWriMo (and I forget where I heard of it—probably on the old Evthreads forum or maybe even Deadjournal), and it immediately struck a chord with me. Here was an excuse to get that crazy idea out of my head, even if it sucked! So I signed up and history was made.

I had completed novels before hearing about NaNoWriMo, so the draw of it wasn’t the fact that it would help me finish something. It was the idea that I truly could write much faster than my leisurely pace of 1,000 words a day (sometimes more, sometimes less). It was also the idea that there were other crazy people who liked to write as much as I did (although I’ve found the community, however nice they are, to be a drawback at times).

So every time the weather turns colder and November rolls around, I find myself really wanting to write. It is probably no more than an ingrained habit from all those years of participating, because I have the urge to write now, but I haven’t a single idea in my head except trying to pick up the pieces on stories that I have abandoned. Perhaps I should try to participate and make this my last NaNo hurrah, because next year at this time, I’ll have a ~10-month-old child and be even less inclined to participate. (To all you brave souls who write and have kids… power to you. I don’t know how you do it, and my kid’s not even born yet.)

Posting the participant banner here because it’s super cute!

Thursday Three #43

  1. My thought on the Kavanaugh affair (well, on sexual assault in general): I honestly feel like some women are crying wolf for various reasons. It seems like something accidental or even looking at a woman the wrong way is now considered sexual assault if it is a painted a certain way. If that is really the case, then high school was one long, drawn-out assault, and practically every high school boy is an assailant. True, drawing the line is difficult, especially when it’s one person’s word against another’s, but the definition of “sexual assault” unfortunately tends to be flexible.
  2. Parenting books. Usually, if I tell someone I’m reading a parenting book, they start laughing because there is apparently nothing about parenting that can be learned from a book. But I find them useful because they seem to give at least an idea of what to expect, even though all the ones I’ve flipped through come with the caveat that “every child is unique. Don’t freak out if he or she doesn’t meet each milestone exactly on time.” OK. Easier said than done, I guess.
  3. Everybody needs to read We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. I’ve read a lot of “realistic fiction,” but this book is by far the most realistic of all the realistic fiction I’ve ever read and one of the better books I have read so far this year. Yes, it is incredibly sad, but it’s sad because everything in it is true. Nothing is sugar coated. The book is pretty long, but it is actually a fairly quick read.