Featured Author: J.K. Rowling

J.K. RowlingThis is something new I’m going to try on this blog, a featured author. I’ll be doing this every month with a new author and just talking a bit about them and their work. Why? Because I love reading posts like these so I decided to try my hand at writing them.

To kick things off I thought I would start with my favourite author: J.K. Rowling!

Even if you haven’t read one of her books you probably know who J.K. Rowling is. At the very least you’ve heard her name. But who is she? Where did she get her start?

Well, the basic information is this:

Joanne ‘Jo’ Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 (The same day as Harry Potter) in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. Her father was an aircraft engineer, her mother a science technician, and she has one younger sister, Dianne.

She started writing from a young age and in 1990 dreamed up the idea of a young wizard boy on a train ride to London. Rowling taught English for a period of time in Portugal in night classes and wrote during the day.

She has three children: Jessica (with her first husband), David, and Mackenzie (with husband, Neil Murray).

Rowling used a lot of real life influences while writing Harry Potter. The death of her mother greatly influenced how she wrote Harry’s feelings towards the loss of his parents. Not only that, but for a period of time Rowling was clinically depressed and it was this period that inspired the dementors.

Harry Potter was rejected by twelve publishing houses when she first sent it out, but was eventually published in 1997 by Bloomsbury. Despite the initial reaction, it seems there’s a good chance J.K. Rowling already knew how the entire series would end as it’s been said (meaning I’ve read on the internet and seen in interviews, but can’t find the sources right now) that she knew there would be seven books and had already written the end of the seventh.

Harry Potter isn’t her only work. Since the series finished she’s written The Casual Vacancy (I have, but haven’t read yet) and has written other novels under the name “Robert Galbraith”.

But this is all just the basic stuff. What you might not know is that J.K. Rowling is the Twitter Queen. Or that she is a sassmaster and actively engages in debates about things she cares about online.

Seriously, if you don’t follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter you are missing out.

J.K. Rowling

This is just one of the little gems you will find if you follow her. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to see the humorous and wonderful interactions with the Harry Potter cast. Her tweet to Matthew Lewis when he did some scantily clad photos was particularly wonderful.

J.K. Rowling 2

She has had a major influence on many people. One individual in particular was Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood). Lynch wrote to Rowling and told her about her struggles with her eating disorder and Rowling encouraging words back assisted in Lynch finding the strength to not only fight back, but audition and get a role in the film series.

J.K. Rowling has also been a huge influence on me. I’ve never met her (one day), but I can say completely, 100% that I would not be the same person I am today. Not only is Harry Potter a major part of my life, but she’s a big reason why I started writing. Who knows where I’d be if it weren’t for her.

So this was my first Featured Author post. I’m liking the idea, but I may try and change it up a bit in future. Unfortunately I don’t know any of the authors I’m talking about so most of my information has to come from the Internet or my other thoughts. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to talk to one of the people I’m talking about. Maybe I’ll interview one of them for this blog.

The possibilities are endless.

Let me know what you thought and what you’d like to see in future for these

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Happy Birthday J.K. Rowling!

J.K. Rowling

Happy birthday J.K. Rowling! Thank you for creating Harry Potter. It truly changed my life and I can’t imagine where I would be today without it.

Also, a big happy birthday to Harry Potter! Apparently he’s 35 and I’m not quite sure how that happened, but here we are!

Harry Potter Bday

25 Books to Read Before You’re 25

25 BooksI am not 25 (yet) nor am I probably qualified to tell you all you should read these books before you reach 25. But hey, it’s the internet and even if you’re already past 25, you should read these books anyway.

1) Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

Does this one really need an explanation? It’s Harry Potter, even if you haven’t read the books or seen the films yet, you know what it is. I don’t think it’s possible to go through life anymore without knowing what Harry Potter is. This seven-novel series influenced entire generations and it continues and will continue to do so for decades (probably centuries) to come.

Buy Harry Potter on Amazon


2) Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown Up, Grace Helbig

Grace's Guide

What better way to enter adulthood than with a guide to adulthood? Grace Helbig is exactly the same in writing as she is on Youtube and her guide to pretending to be an adult is exactly what you would expect. It’s witty and funny and totally relatable.

Buy Grace’s Guide on Amazon


3) Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is like the ultimate fantasy series. It combines magic with epic battle sequences and family drama and is unlike anything else I have ever read. I highly recommend starting it as soon as possible, but don’t worry about finishing the series before you’re 25. By the time the final two novels are published, you’ll probably have passed that age already.

Buy Game of Thrones on Amazon


4) The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Hobbit_cover

The Hobbit is one of those books that everyone needs to read. Whether you’re five, fifteen, or twenty-five, The Hobbit is a timeless classic. It is also surprisingly relatable despite the fact that majority of the main characters are dwarves, hobbits, and elves.

Buy The Hobbit on Amazon


5) Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Lord of the Rings

If you read The Hobbit you should probably read Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s trilogy is an adventure pack series that, if anything like The Hobbit, you’ll be sure to enjoy.

Buy Lord of the Rings on Amazon


6) F*ck! I’m in My Twenties, Emma Koenig

Fck Im in my Twenties

Similar to Grace’s Guide, Emma Koenig created a relatable guide to getting through adulthood. The perfect book for anyone entering their twenties, F*ck! I’m in My Twenties perfectly encompasses all the emotions and happenings of being a new adult.

Buy F*ck! I’m in My Twenties on Amazon


7) Chicken Soup for the Soul, Various Authors

Chicken Soup for the Sul

They have Chicken Soup books for everything: kids, teens, parents, certain careers, and even pets (which is great cause my dog loves to read). The stories in these books all come from real people which makes them easy to relate to and probably some of the best books to read as you start your journey as a real life adult.


8) Anything by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

I could probably fill four or five spots on this list with books by Jodi Picoult. She is an amazing author and her books are great reads even for people who may not read much outside a certain genre. They deal with real people with real issues and you won’t be able to put the book down until you’ve reached the very last page.


9) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This coming-of-age novel should be a mandatory read for all high school students. It is probably one of the most realistic portrayals of what it’s like to be a teenager. The main character, Charlie, deals with friends, bullies, family, suicide, depression, drugs, and so much more. Through a series of letters he describes his first year of high school in a way that you sit back and go, “Hey, yeah, I get that. That happened.”

Buy The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Amazon


10) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Gatsby

Most have you probably read/will probably read this book at some point as I’m pretty certain it’s a mandatory read in most schools. As it rightfully should be, though you probably won’t enjoy it very much because it’s assigned reading. Gatsby has a lot of messages and meanings behind it, including how a person can be lonely and miserable even if they have almost everything they could ever want.

Buy The Great Gatsby on Amazon


11) Matilda, Roald Dahl

Matilda

It’s a book about a little girl who loves to read and finds solace in books. Need I say more? Read it as a child, a teen, an adult, and then read it to your own kids. Whatever you do, read Matilda.

Buy Matilda on Amazon


12) Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s novel is a like The Hobbit, a timeless classic. It is a novel that can be read by anyone of any age and enjoyed just the same (though some of the stuff will probably go over the heads of kids). Carroll wrote a book that is comprised of colourful characters and fun songs that will have you reading cover to cover.

Buy Alice in Wonderland on Amazon


13) Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet

This is another one you’ll probably read in school and again, because it’s required reading you probably won’t enjoy it. So, once you’re done school read it again. Before you enter your twenties and start thinking logically about the whole situation, read it while you can still romanticize it and enjoy it without the boundaries of reality. Plus, it’s Shakespeare, you need to read Shakespeare at some point in your life.

Buy Romeo and Juliet on Amazon


14) Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Grimm Brothers

Grimms Faitytales

Everyone loves a good fairytale, right? I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t read/seen at least one. But what about the older, more gruesome versions of the stories? Well if you want those, look no further than the Grimm Brothers book. You read the ones with happy endings as a child, now as teen/young adult, read the versions with not-so-happy endings. You’ll probably enjoy those just as much, if not more, than the cheerful ones.

Buy Grimms’ Fairy Tales on Amazon


15) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

There are two strong reasons as to why you should read this book. First, reading it as a teen or young adult instead of waiting until later in life will allow you to understand Holden Caulfield and all the things he talks about and deals with. Second, it’s a banned book and what better book to read than one people really don’t want you to?

Buy The Catcher in the Rye on Amazon


16) Keeping You a Secret, Julie Anne Peters

Keeping You a Secret

It’s 2015, do you know what that means? Not every couple comprises of one man and one woman. Keeping You a Secret is a very real portrayal of two girls, one who is out and confident and the other who has no idea who she is, trying to find a place in the world together despite everything that’s against them. This novel is a great coming-of-age read for anyone trying to find exactly that.

Buy Keeping You a Secret on Amazon


17) A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket

Series of Unfortante Envets

Snicket deals with some pretty horrific situations in his 13-novel series, but he manages to do so in a way that keeps it humorous while still making you think about things. His writing style is so unique and you will be laughing out loud as you read and learn alongside the Baudelaires.

Buy A Series of Unfortunate Events on Amazon


18) The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

John Green is kind of like Jodi Picoult in the sense that I could fill several spots on this list with his novels. While he is known as being an author of Young Adult novels, his books aren’t just for young adults. If you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet go get it and read it now. Stop reading this blog post and go get the book. Go.

Buy The Fault in Our Stars on Amazon


19) Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

A classic. The story about Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth’s crazy family is one that, whether you’ve read the book or seen the film, you most likely know what it is. Before you reach the age where your whole life becomes consumed with real life issues, take the time to sit down and read about one of the greatest romances written.

Buy Pride and Prejudice on Amazon


20) Inkheart Trilogy, Cornelia Funke

Inkheart

Inkheart is essentially three books written about books and it is wonderful. There is a book the characters read called “Inkheart” inside the book you’re reading called Inkheart. Not going to lie, that messed with my head a bit the first time I read it. The book also has quotes from other books and authors at the start of the chapters and it was definitely one of my favourite parts.

Buy Inkheart on Amazon


21) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne

Theboyinthestripedpyjamas

This is one of the most powerful books I think probably exists out there. Talking about the holocaust from a child’s point of view was a risky move, one that had people talking which is exactly why people need to read this. The best sort of books are the ones that leave people talking after they’ve put it down, and that exactly what The Boy in the Striped Pajamas does.

Buy The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on Amazon


22) We All Fall Down, Eric Walters

We All Fall Down

A book that detail the events of 9/11, We All Fall Down is an important read for any and all middle and high schoolers. It is the sort of book that, like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, deals with a serious and difficult issue in a way that makes younger generations understand the gravity of the situation without scaring the living daylights out of them.

Buy We All Fall Down on Amazon


23) Save the Humans, Rob Stewart

Save the Humans

Technically this falls under the category ‘biography’, but this is such a good and important read that I felt it deserved it’s own spot on the list. Rob Stewart is a long-time environmental activist, speaking out especially against shark finning. He has directed two films on environmental issues and his book goes into even greater detail about why all of this is so important. Basically, if the oceans die, people die. Everyone should read this book, but I’m including it on this list because it’s especially important for young people to read things like this as they’re the ones that are going to fix things.

Buy Save the Humans on Amazon


24) Anything by Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel is kind of like Jodi Picoult except her books are more aimed at kids and teens rather than adults. Dealing with the same sort of issues as Picoult does, McDaniel’s books are fantastic reads. It explains so-called “adult situation” in a way younger people can understand with dumbing it down so much that they feel stupid.


25) Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

Twilightbook

I debated a lot about including this on the list and was actually slightly worried I’d be smited for putting it on here. But you know what? You take a moment to forget the teen obsession, forget the faces of the actors playing the characters, forget the fanfiction that followed. Twilight was actually a pretty good series. It gets a lot of flak, but I read it before it was the best thing since sliced bread and before there were shirts with “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” written on them and you know what? I’m really glad I read this and I think you should read it too.

Buy Twilight on Amazon

But why you should read these before you’re 25? Why not 30? Or 35?

Well first of all I couldn’t think of 30 books along with reasons to go with them. And second these books have already had such an impact on my life whether it was because they’re relatable or it was just because the story was enjoyable. Either way, I highly recommend the books on this list. There are so many others too that I almost included, but maybe I’ll save those for future posts.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have a book you would recommend reading before 25? Or any age for that matter?

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling

200px-Tales_of_Beedle_the_Bard
It probably would’ve made more sense for me to review The Deathly Hallows before this one, but that’s okay.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a companion book written by J.K. Rowling to go along with the Harry Potter novels. Beedle the Bard is actually talked about in the seventh novel and one of the stories in it (“The Tale of the Three Brothers”) is read out by Hermione.

The book contains five wizard fairy tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”, “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”, “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”, “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump”, and “The Tale of the Three Brothers”. It’s a bit like Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but instead of Snow White we have Babbitty Rabbitty. Each of these five stories is unique in its own way and, no matter how old you are, it is incredibly entertaining. Beedle isn’t a long book, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for children. Anyone who has enjoyed Harry Potter should read this.

Out of the five stories, my favourite has to be “The Tale of the Three Brothers”. From the time it was first read in The Deathly Hallows to reading it as its own separate story, I have always found it to be probably the most interesting. It’s the sort of story you can imagine reading as a child and being totally intrigued by. However, unlike “The Tale of the Three Brothers”, I was not that big of a fan of “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”. Why? Because it is about exactly what it sounds like: a warlock’s hairy heart. I’m not going to delve into what happens in great detail, you’ll have to read it and decide for yourself what you think.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a short, fun read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys Harry Potter or who enjoys a good fairy tale (which, let’s face it, who doesn’t?).

Have you read The Tales of Beedle the Bard? What did you think? Which story was your favrouite?

 

Buy The Tales of Beedle the Bard on Amazon

 

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Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling – Part 2

052014-books4-6Last month I reviewed the first three Harry Potter novels. Today, I’m going to review books four, five, and six: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Now, if for whatever reason you have not read the books then I’m going to suggest you STOP READING. This book will contain spoilers.

The fourth novel in the series is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This book details Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts which, because he’s Harry Potter, does not go the way a normal year at school would. Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, encounter many new adventures this year. From the Quidditch World Cup to Death Eaters (Voldemort’s Followers) to the Triwizard Tournament to fighting dragons and mermaids, Harry’s fourth is year is not one of rest. There are several new characters introduced in the fourth novel. First off, is Cedric Diggory, Hogwarts Champion for the Triwizard Tournament. Then there are the students from the visiting schools, Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang respectively. They both act as champion for their schools for the Tournament. The next new character we meet is Rita Skeeter, a journalist for the Daily Prophet who loves sinking her claws in Harry. While there are several more new characters, I’m only going to mention one more: Mad-Eye Moody. The new Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professor, Mad-Eye is a little mad, as you may expect. But he has a good reason I can assure you. Now I’ve mentioned the Triwizard Tournament several times and if you haven’t read the book, but are reading this post anyway (firstly, why?) then you’re probably wondering what the heck the Triwizard Tournament is. Well, you’re just going to have to read the book to find out.

The next book is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In this book we are introduced to the Order of the Phoenix. The Order is an organization led by Dumbledore in the fight against Voldemort. With the introduction of The Order comes the introduction of several new characters. While there are many members in The Order, the two I want to mention are Kingsley Shaklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks (my favourite character in the series). Both work for the ministry as aurors, but rather than listening to the lies the ministry tells, they believe Dumbledore and are Harry’s side. Returning characters are Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Mad-Eye Moody. Of course, it’s not just The Order and it’s members that are new this year. Most notably is probably Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters and Sirius’s cousin. There is no doubt that Bellatrix is evil, but she continues to get even worse as the books go on. Finally, there’s the new DADA professor who is determined to make Harry’s year even harder by convincing everyone that the supposed threat of Voldemort is nothing except crazy lies.

In the sixth novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry’s struggle only continues. The magical world now knows he was telling the truth about Voldemort, but that doesn’t matter to Harry after having lost his Godfather. Instead, Harry focuses on helping Dumbledore with a task hes assigned him: find a way to defeat Voldemort. This includes making nice with new professor, Horace Slughorn. Harry succeeds in this when he suddenly becomes very talented at Potions, a subject which he’d previously been awful in. Surprisingly, this new skill is not found with Hermione’s help, but with a textbook who someone – The Half-Blood Prince – has scribbled his own notes in. But who is The Half-Blood Prince?

The fourth Harry Potter novel is brilliant. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The new characters J.K. Rowling introduces make the story that much more interesting. I always think it’s great when new characters are introduced, especially to a series as extensive as this one, as it adds a new dynamic to every situation. We know Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but now we’re getting to know Cedric Mad-Eye and, as the story continues, several others. This is also the first book with what I would say is the first major character death. Yes, Quirrel died in book one, Ginny almost died in book two, and several people thought they were going to die in book three, but here we lose Cedric. A character that, over several hundred pages, we’ve been learning about and getting attached to. He was a view into the other students of Hogwarts, outside of the trio, and I think his death is both incredibly sad and extremely powerful. All in all, I love the fourth novel and think it was definitely the perfect start to the darker path Harry and his friends started on.

The fifth novel is one of my favourites. I love the dynamic between the new and old characters. It adds a whole new spin to things because we get to see the characters we know and love interacting with new people we haven’t met until now. This book had my emotions going up and down. From anger to confusion to joy to sadness. I was all over the map with this one. The loss of Sirius at the end particularly had me in a mess. Like the death of Cedric in book four, this was a major character death. Except this one was someone who Harry viewed as a father figure and I think Rowling did a great job at making it so we, the readers, felt the pain along with the characters.

I think the sixth novel was great. I feel that J.K. Rowling managed to balance the serious with the humour amazingly in this one. While there are many serious and emotional moments in this book, there are still times where you go, ‘Oh yeah, these kids are sixteen,’ and it really shows how awkward and weird it can be to be a teenager. As someone who was reading these books when I was around the same age as the characters, this meant the novels were very easy to relate to, even though they took place in a magical world.

I love these three novels. I think they were all fantastic and each was better than the last. From book one to book six, J.K. Rowling did an amazing job at leading up to the moment we were all waiting for: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Have you read books four-six? What did you think? Which was your favourite?

 

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Buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Amazon

 

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Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling – Part One

harrypotter1-3Today I’m going to review the first three books in the Harry Potter Series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Before I talk about the books though, I’m going to warn you that if you haven’t read the books then there will be spoilers here.

Now, first in the series is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In this first novel we are introduced to an array of characters and a magical world that would help shape many lives for years to come. We meet the titular character, Harry Potter, a boy with messy black and a lightening-shaped scar, who is living with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. After a series of strange happenings, including owls delivering him letters, it is revealed that the boy with the lightening scar is a wizard. He attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he meets his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and many different professors, including the headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore. Together, the three of them get into more trouble in one school year than should be possible for a bunch of eleven year olds. But I guess when the darkest wizard of all time is after you, that’s just how it goes. The three of them manage to fight off Lord Voldemort (He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named), the same wizard who killed Harry’s parents and gave him his scar. However, just because they defeated him once doesn’t mean the danger is gone.

The next book in the series is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. While we met Ron’s family breifly in the first book, the only character truly explored was Ron himself. Now in the second novel we get to meet more of Ron’s large family and even visit his home at The Burrow. One of the members of the Weasley family we meet is Ron’s younger sister, Ginny. Ginny ends up being a key character in the novel after she finds a diary that previously belonged to Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort. Little does she know the diary contains a piece of Voldemort’s soul that is using Ginny to do his bidding. Once again Harry comes to the rescue, with the help of Ron and new Defence Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professor, Gilderoy Lockhart (who turns out to be completely useless, but that’s beside the point). Harry defeats Voldemort for the second time, but, being Harry Potter, you can only expect more danger to come.

The third novel is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry returns to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione for their third year where they encounter many new adventures. From new DADA professor, Remus Lupin; escaped convict Sirius Black; and creatures known as Dementors, nothing is what it seems. Remus Lupin is one of the good guys, but has a dark secret come the full moon; Sirius Black is Harry’s godfather, falsely accused of murder; meanwhile, the Dementors are searching for Sirius and Harry must learn to fight them off. It once again falls to Harry to save the day, and stop innocent people from getting hurt. Kind of a lot of pressure for a thirteen year old.

I love these books. I read the first Harry Potter novel when I was a kid and I’ve grown up with it. Reading the first novel I had no idea what it would do, but it ended up being the start of something wonderful. As each book came out and then the films, it was literally a magical experience. I think J.K. Rowling did a wonderful thing with the first three novels. New characters are introduced in pretty much every novel, but if the characters introduced right near the start had been boring then what would’ve been the point in continuing to read? You’re immediately drawn in by the boy with the lightening scar who lives under the stairs. You want to know more about him. Where did his scar come from? What makes him so special? Then you meet Ron and Hermione and I think they were just as vital as Harry. Without them, I think it’s safe to say Harry would’ve done a lot more stuff that would’ve led to him getting killed. They are so much more than just comic relief and a knowing voice, they are Harry’s best friends and this friendship is something so many readers can relate to.

With the second novel we are introduced to the family aspect. Harry’s aunt, uncle, and cousin have never treated him very well so when Harry meets Ron’s family it is a whole new experience for both him and for the readers. You see a new side of the characters when they are in this new environment and I think that’s important because without depth these characters cease to really exist. The family aspect is carried out in the third novel when Harry meets Lupin who he finds out was best friends with the parents when they were at school. Lupin gives Harry a connection to his past that he’s never had before, and for anyone who has ever lost someone I feel like this is an important aspect that J.K. Rowling included. Similarly, Rowling has said that the Dementors were inspired by depression. I won’t go too much in to that here, but if you’d like to hear more than visit this video.

I haven’t really talked much about the characters in Harry Potter, but if I did that I think we’d be here all day. There’s so many brilliant characters and as a huge fan of the series I could probably go on for hours about each one. Maybe that’s something I’ll keep in mind for the future if people were interested. Each of these first three novels is brilliantly written, descriptive, and relatable (despite it taking place in a world of magic). These novels helped shape people all around the world and I believe they will continue to do for many years to come.

What did you think of the first three novels? Which was your favourite?

Buy Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Amazon

Buy Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Amazon

Buy Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Amazon

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Twenty Banned Books You Should Definitely Read

45eab7085491bf8d2d50f622c61e9fd6It’s Banned Books Week! To celebrate, here’s a list of twenty books that have been banned/censored for one reason or another!

I apologize for the weird formatting! It was fine in preview and then I published and it went all wonky and this was the only way it finally looked somewhat normal and readable. I tried everything I could think of it, but it wasn’t cooperating.

1) And Tango Make Three, Justin Richardson
And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three is a picture book based on a true story about two penguins, Roy and Silo, in the a Central Park Zoo who were given an egg to raise. The catch? Both penguins were male and this caused some issues who felt the homosexuality (even amongst penguins) was not appropriate for the readers. You can find out more about this wonderful book and the story behind it here.

Buy And Tango Makes Three on Amazon


2) Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter

Harry Potter is widely popular series all around the world and has been read by millions of people. However, that didn’t stop the controversy surrounding this book by people who believed these novels contained black magic.


Buy Harry Potter on Amazon


3) To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is a story that explores racism and discrimination through the perspective of a young girl who grows up and realizes how unfair things are. This book has been banned and censored due to the profane language and adult themes (one of the main plot points of the novel is man accused of a rape he didn’t commit).

Buy To Kill a Mockingbird on Amazon


4) Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
E&P

A young adult novel that follows to misfit teenagers as they fall in love over a mutual liking for music and comics. Sounds like a really great young adult novel, but some people had issue with the book due to the profanity, some sexual language, and some have even called the book pornographic. Rainbow Rowell was actually asked what she thought about this and you can read the full interview here.

Buy Eleanor and Park on Amazon


5) On the Road, Jack Kerouac
On the Road

On the Road is a novel based on the cross-America adventures of Kerouac and his friends. It’s a novel said to have defined the Beat Generation. So what could possibly be wrong with it? It’s a novel that defined an entire generation! Well, apparently when you combine “[profanity, misogynistic men, and immoral women]” it doesn’t matter what you define.

Buy On the Road on Amazon


6) A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange follows teenager, Alex, as he goes from violent youth to prisoner of a state determined to reform him. This book was banned from several schools due to so called “objectionable language”. A man was even arrested (not charged) for selling the book. Now, I haven’t read the novel yet, but I have seen the film and I’m not going to lie, I can understand why some people would have issue with this book (not enough to ban it, but still). It turns out that most of the controversy surrounding this book didn’t actually start until after the film came out.

Buy A Clockwork Orange on Amazon


7) Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Fahrenhait 451

The novel takes places in a futuristic-America where books have been declared illegal and are burned when found. People have fought at different times to have this book banned due to the profane language (one school even blacked out all the words it declared as “obscene”). Pretty ironic when you think about.

Buy Fahrenheit 451 on Amazon


8) Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
Bridge Terabithia

This book is kind of similar to Eleanor and Park in the sense that it follows to lonely kids who become friends. However, unlike Eleanor and Park, Bridge to Terabithia ends with the death of a character. As this is a children’s book, this ends up being an introduction to death for many children. This caused some issues for parents because apparently they felt their kids were too young to know about death.

Buy Bridge to Terabithia on Amazon


9) Lord of the Flies, William Golding
Lord of the Flies


Lord of the Flies
is about a group of children who become stranded on an island and it really shows how quickly things can fall apart when there are no rules. Without anyone to dictate right and wrong, the children take it into their own hands. This book faced controversy due to the profanity and violence depicted by the children.

Buy Lord of the Flies on Amazon


10) Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Moby Dick


Moby Dick
follows a sailor who boards the ship of Captain Ahab, a man bent on getting revenge against Moby Dick, a whale who is the cause behind Ahab’s lost leg. I did a lot of research on this book why it was banned and all I could find was that it was banned from a school in Texas because it “conflicted with their community values”, but I can’t find what those values are.

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11) The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank
Diary of Anne Frank

Most people know who Anne Frank is. A young girl who hid for two years with her family while the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. This book was censored and banned in several schools due to sexual and inappropriate content. I’ve read this book and think it’s brilliant and moving and more truthful than anything I’ve ever read. And that’s because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a diary, it’s honest and truthful because it’s true.

Buy The Diary of Anne Frank on Amazon


12) Looking for Alaska, John Green
Looking for Alaska

This young adult novel follows a boy who heads to boarding school to discover new things and leave behind his safe haven. This book has been banned in some school due to being “pornographic”. You can see John Green’s reaction to this statement in his vlogbrothers video.

Buy Looking for Alaska on Amazon


13) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger’s novel is told from the perspective of protagonist, Holden Caulfield, who has become a sort of teenage icon for younger readers as he is surprising easy to relate to. This book deals with things such as angst, identity, and alienation. However, it is often censored from schools due to being obscene and undermining morality.
Buy The Catcher in Rye on Amazon


14) The Giver, Lois Lowry

The Giver

Set in a dystopian society, this story follows thirteen year old Jonas who lives in a place where everyone has converted to “Sameness” so as to remove pain from their lives, though no one remembers this. Jonas discovers the state of their society and struggles to figure out what to do. This book has been banned for various reasons, from profanity to sexuality to violence.

Buy The Giver on Amazon


15) Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland


Alice in Wonderland
follows a young girl as she enters, you guessed it, Wonderland. Once there she meets an assortment of characters, from The Mad Hatter to The Queen of Hearts and encounters all sorts of crazy adventures. This book was once banned in China for depicting animals as being as smart as humans.
Buy Alice in Wonderland on Amazon


16) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

This book is set in a psychiatric hospital and through the eyes of the narrator, Bromden, we see the antics caused by another patient, Randle Patrick McMurphy. A brilliant novel that examines institutions like this as well as the various behaviours of people, this novel is actually one of the most highly banned. Some have said it is pornographic or too violent, while others have just called the book garbage.

Buy One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Amazon


17) Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak
Told from the perspective of Melinda Sordino, a student who has been outcast by others after she called the police on a party. It is not initially revealed why she called the police, except the incident has caused her to stop speaking, communicating with others through art instead. This book has been banned due to be being considered pornographic.
Buy Speak on Amazon


18) The Color Purple, Alice Walker
The Color Purple

This story follows the life of coloured women in Georgia and examines issues like them being considered lesser in society. This book has been banned and censored for being sexually explicit and containing homosexuality and profane language.

Buy The Color Purple on Amazon


19) The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree

A children’s picture book that depicts a friendship between a boy and a tree. It sounds really simple and I’m not going to lie, I don’t see how anyone could find something wrong with this book to ban it. However, the book has been called sexist and the young boy “predatory” because the boy takes from the tree, but never gives back. You can read more about this here.
Buy The Giving Tree on Amazon


20) Howl, Allen Ginsberg
Howl

Howl is a poem by Allen Ginsberg and has been called a great piece of literature in America. Like On the Road, it is related back to Beat Generation (Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were actually friends. One of the characters in Kerouac’s novel, is based on Ginsberg). This book received a lot of controversy due to the fowl language and sexual nature contained in the poem. You can see the entire depiction of the trial in the film adaptation of Howl starring James Franco.

Buy Howl on Amazon

All the books on this list and the information related to them were found on Buzzfeed, Goodreads, and Banned Books Week. This was obviously a very short list and definitely does not contain all the books that have been banned or censored. For a longer list you can visit the American Library Association website.

Now, personally I don’t think any books should be banned. I think that if someone doesn’t want to read a book containing certain subject matter then just don’t read it. Simple as that. A lot of these books were actually protested against because they were going to be taught in schools and some parents didn’t want their child reading the book. I think there’s a pretty simple solution to this to: tell the school you don’t want your child reading that book so the school can find an alternative. Rather than protesting the book altogether because really, no one person gets to decide what the rest of the world reads.
What do you think? Should some books be banned or should people be allowed to decide for themselves?

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