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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Homework: The Book Shelf: Soulmates

Homework: Pick one or the other, or be inspired.
~Read something on your book shelf for sheer pleasure.
~Blog about a book you've read over and over. Prompt: "I can rifle the pages of ____and easily find my favorite part about____."

This is kind of an easy assignment, in that, I rarely reread a book. But cripes if I didn’t fall in love, in the summer of 2003, with a series of books about a kid wizard.

I openly made fun of anyone who read, and therefore seemed to be obsessed with, Harry Potter. I didn’t buy into the accusations of the books encouraging witchcraft, but I did buy into the accusations of the books helping to spur a newfound love of reading in so many for whom that delight had long been asleep.

That summer, I decided to prove to everyone, most of all my now sister-in-law, that I could, informedly, say that those books were rubbish. I borrowed the first book from my friend Lisa, who lovingly offered the remaining 4 books, should I choose to read them as well.

I read the first 5 Harry Potter books in six weeks’ time.

I was up nearly all night long. Tearing myself away to force myself to turn off the light was painfully complicated. Dishes went unwashed, laundry too. Children probably went unfed, I can't know. I tore through those stories and became one of the many who pre-ordered, and then stood in line at midnight for, the last two books in the series.

Something about the detail in those stories – on some level, the sheer magnitude of the detail frustrated me, as I wanted to know, without taking the time. More prevalent, of course, was my gratitude to the author for letting me in on each secret, each angle.

It was through those pages that I fell in love with one of the characters, even the (seeming) antagonist. (Yes, seeming. I had faith in Snape the whole time.)

For those who don’t know the story – perhaps you have chosen to not read the books, but rather to watch the movies – I won’t ruin any surprises. But I will say that in the seventh book, the last in the series, the story for which two movies will be required to get the entire story out . . . there is a section to which I return, a section which, when I first read it, I sat in my bed and wept. I return to this book (don’t you wish you knew which pages?) when I’m feeling sentimental, when I’m feeling betrayed, when I’m feeling misunderstood.

To give further detail might ruin your own surprise.

What is this? Why, it's homework!
You can get in on the fun, too!


Grace said...

Would that be the part in the pensive with Snape's memories? I cry too!! Oh, and I have reread them several times, much to my husbands dismay - he doesn't get it. In fact, I was out of books to read last week so I picked up #7 and read it again just for fun. I was still up until 3 in the morning not wanting to put it down - and I know the ending!!

QueenScarlett said... should hear Jim Dale read them aloud to me every night. ;-)

However, when food is is hard to not get up and get a midnight snack. ;-) I want some butter beer, chocolate frogs and that Hogwarts spread.

Heather Scott Partington said...

I love them too! Found your blog through Oma. Great post.

OurSoundHome said...

Oh goodness - your story reminds me so much of my own for Harry Potter. I read the books very quickly, and cried my eyes out when I read the last book!! Goodness.

Isn't class fun?? :-) Happy reading!

Kaerlig said...

Cripes! Does this mean I have to go back and read the book again to find out what section?

(I like cripes. I think I should use it more often.)

Shar said...

I've read the first two and loved them. I need to get on those last 5! Wait... how many are there?

Rob said...

I still find every minute of reading and rereading those books immensely satisfying. Now, though, I have to wrestle them out of Maizie's hands as I often find her rereading her favorite parts.

c-dub said...

i knew it, too.

and i love a book that can open my heart enough to bring me to tears.

Travelin'Oma said...

Good post! Hey thanks for recommending my School Days seminar. 10 people have come from you! I'm keeping track. You've got influence!

heather said...

if harry potter did that to you, *don't* pick up the twilight books. i stayed up until 4:30am several times and even called off work.

sue-donym said...

A couple of weeks ago, my big Marine was talking to us about the last book, and he got completely choked up. That is only the second time in his life I have ever seen him with tears.

~j. said...

Grace - maybe that's the part. I do love me some Snape.

Queen - I should invest in the audio. And butter beer, yes, me too!

Heather & smeagher - thanks! and welcome!

Kaer - cripes. tee hee. sometimes when I say it I feel like an old man, but mostly I feel like I'm being funny.

Shar - yes, seven. It's worth the time it takes, says me.

Rob - are you actually Lisa? I'm consistently encouraging li'l ~j. to read the books, I think she's intimidated by the number of pages. Perhaps Maizie could also encourage her ... hm...

c-dub - yes, that's the perfect way to describe it, the heart opening.

oma - thanks! this is fun. thank you for all your work.

heather - thanks for the recommendation. To be honest, I wish I hadn't ever picked up those books. I have many friends and family who love those books, but they were absolutely not my style. It was a real effort for me to get through them. Did you like the movie? Looking forward to the second movie?

sue - see? You'll liiiiiike it! I dare you to read them.

Melissa said...

Couldn't agree more...I cried when a certain someone died in the 7th...Snapes memory was depressing but the death after they escape Malfoy manner brought audible sobs and I had to stop reading. My husband had to sit and comfort me. I'm currently reading the series to my daughter...she is 6 weeks on monday but I think she really connects with Herminone :)

Fig said...

Friendly blogstalker in.

I am beyond unhealthily obsessed with HP. I have not quit reading Harry since he came on the scene when I was in junior high (I'm currently on my 37th-or-so reading of book 5. I just cycle through, over and over).

And I simply have to say, one dedicated HP reader to another, that you are NOT supposed to love Snape. While I, too, always knew that there must have been a good reason for him to turn murderer, you just CAN'T love him.

He is brave and noble and everything, and there are understandable causes at the root of his unpleasantness, but still - he's cynical and bitter, and he was awful to Harry. Other characters in the book managed to come out of painful childhoods without being monsters, he could have too.

(But YEAH, his memories in the Pensieve? Just shred a sister's heart, why don't you.)

Friendly blogstalker out.

~j. said...

Melissa - I'm curious to know which death(s) made you cry! I'll bet your li'l Hermione loves that you read to her.

fig - welcome! (And, I understand congratulations are in order! Lookin' gooooood!) I don't consider Snape to have been a monster. Umbridge, now that one made me shudder and look over my shoulder and want to scream (wish they would have made her more detestable in the movie -- some REAL deception, the type Kathy Bates can pull off). I don't think that Snape was more terrible to Harry than could have been expected -- yes, he was waxing Scorned Lover (privately) and certainly didn't seem to have overcome the bitterness from being the last one picked for kickball. But taking into account the fact that if Harry trusted him even an inkling then Snape would have lost all credibility with Voldemort (or posse), he needed to act the part. His Issues fueled it (ACTING!) well.

You're probably right -- I'm loving someone/something I'm not supposed to...he's maybe just another on that list of mine.

37th book 5 your favorite, or is that just where you happen to be in that cycle? Thanks for commenting!

Fig said...

Least favorite, actually. Just where I am in the series.

Interesting analysis, I like it. I think it's a good quality you have, being able to love the less desirable broken people.

Also, couldn't agree more about Umbridge in the movies. Not remotely as hideous as she is in the book - but the movies in general just can't hold a candle.

kacy faulconer said...

Jenny, you are lucky that you have such a concrete image of Umbridge: Sherri, who hates your singing. She'll get hers from a sexy centaur.

And yeah. HP rules.