Ok, so I am about to start my epic Harry Potter reread. I haven’t read the books in ten whole years and I have been promising a reread for ages but now I am actually doing it. Yay!

I’m not going to review these bad boy books because there are no words to accurately describe my utter adoration for the Harry Potter series and equally there is no way I can be neutral about them either so instead I will share my thoughts that happened during my reread.

Here goes:

  • Oh my god. I’m so excited but so very nervous. What if they aren’t as good as I remember? I run the risk of ruining my memories from youth.
  • Oh the covers are so pretty. I don’t want to break the spine. I’ll have to buy myself a new set…to add to the second unopened set that I have upstairs and the new covers of the Philosophers Stone and the illustrated edition…maybe I’m a bit obsessed.
  • Twenty years since The Philosopher’s Stone was released. How is that even possible?
  • “Even muggles like yourself should be celebrating.” (P5) I am so sad that I am a muggle.
  • The introduction of Dumbledore. What a wise old man. I always wanted him to be played by Sir Ian McKellan but Richard Harris was pretty brilliant.
  • Dumbledore is an archaic word for bumblebee. Great word.
  • The Put-Outer is a more subtle version of the clapper. I’ve always wanted a clapper.
  • Professor McGonagall was perfectly cast as Maggie Smith. Fact.
  • Dedalus Diggle – I wonder if he ever gets mentioned again.
  • For 11 years Voldemort put fear in the wizarding community – surely there are 11 books here for the writing. Come on JK! Give the people what they want.
  • When Voldemort was all bad ass was Hogwarts running as usual?
  • “All these things he’s done.” (P13) Re point 10. See JK, the story practically writes itself.
  • “There will be books written about Harry – every child in out worlds will know his name.” (P14) How bloody right you were JK.
  • Hagrid – again perfect casting with Robbie Coltrane.
  • I remember on my second reread of Harry Potter and gasping at all of JK’s cleverness with her reference to Sirius Black – well played JK – well played indeed.
  • Harry has a lightning bolt scar on his head. A few years ago I got really sick which left me with a scar on my chin which I kind of like. My illness was really rare and it nearly killed me but it didn’t. I’m the girl who lived through my illness ergo I am Harry Potter.
  • Mrs Figg – utter legend. If only we had known sooner.
  • JK called on of Dudley’s friends Piers and described him as having a “face like a rat” (P25) – is this JK’s hate for Piers Morgan showing 2 years ago? If so then kudos for the foresight JK!
  • There has been a theory bandied around that the snake in the zoo is Nagini. How mad would that be? But then it said in the information box that it was born in captivity so I guess that poo-poo’s that theory.
  • Harry hopes for a distant relative to save him – oh sob!
  • Harry gets his Hogwarts letter. I have never gotten one. I swear I am not a muggle and if that letter arrived tomorrow and at the age of 34 I had to do seven more years of high school just to go to Hogwarts then dammit I would do it. I wonder if there is a wizarding university?
  • Maybe this is why I am obsessed with getting post? Maybe I am just waiting for that damn Hogwarts acceptance letter.
  • For Harry’s 10th birthday he was given “a coat hanger and a pair of Uncle Vernon’s old socks” – technically Harry is a free wizard now.
  • Is Petunia a non magical magic person? Is she a squib? Or do you have to show no magical talent in a magical family to be a squib?
  • What happened to Harry’s grandparents?
  • “Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die.” (P62) Good god the clues were everywhere.
  • New mention Doris Crockford. Will she get mentioned again? Dammit how does JK keep all of these people in check?
  • I always imagined Diagon Alley to be the most amazing place. Random segue but I am engaged to be married and since I’m not your typical bride I will not be going to watch half naked men shake their tushes or out drinking. No folks I am going to the Harry Potter Studios because then I will feel like I am a wizard. I think it is the closest I will get to being a wizard. Sob!
  • Harry is in Gringotts. The stalagmite/stalactite line has always been one of my favourites from the entire series of books. Even now I still don’t know the difference. I do think that he ride that Harry goes on to get to his vault would make a boss ride. I wonder if they included it in Harry Potter World? Googles it – apparently yes.
  • I like trains. I went to Platform Nine and 3 Quarters but the queue was massive and I was like the oldest person there. I will go again one day and get my picture take and I will do it with aplomb.
  • It’s a shame that Peeves wasn’t in the films. Rik Mayall would have played him brilliantly.
  • Snape was a right nasty sod towards Harry that first Potions lesson. I work in a high school – that form of bullying wouldn’t be tolerated. Believe you me!
  • I’d be crap on a broom. I definitely wouldn’t be on the Quidditch team. Not even the reserves.
  • Halloween sounds magical at Hogwarts…well you know except for the troll.
  • I always loved Oliver Wood’s inspirational pre-Quidditch match speeches. Sean Biggerstaff who played him in the films was quite a fittie. Wonder what he is doing right now? Googles Sean Biggerstaff. He has actually been in a fair few productions. Sadly, I have seen none of them. Ah bygones.
  • The Mirror of Erised chapter is just heartbreaking. Poor Harry.
  • Dammit Harry! Look at your chocolate frog cards. That is where you heard about Nicholas Flamel.
  • Oh man, what I wouldn’t do to have an invisibility cloak. Ok I know what I would do. I would hide under it and just read books all day. No one would be able to find me. Moo hoo haa haa!
  • Dumbledore is right. You can never have too many socks. (P230)
  • Seriously, I have never wanted to be in someone’s mind as much as JK Rowling’s. She gives hints about things that won’t happen for several books. This is totally the Back to the Future Hypothesis. Without a doubt, JK Rowling is a genius.
  • Ron really does have some great one-liners.
  • Of all the pets I’ve ever wanted a dragon has never been on the list. A dinosaur has been but never a dragon.
  • “It is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn.” (P277) Well said Firenze!
  • See you can understand why Harry reckons Snape hates him. He threatened to get him expelled.
  • Poor Neville. Little did us readers know how big a part he would play in the overall story.
  • I’m terrified of dogs. This all stems from an incident as a child when a greyhound stalked by whole family. One day my older sister sent me to the shop because Smash Hits! magazine was giving away 100 free stickers. I saw the greyhound ahead of me so I decided to cross the road. The greyhound followed me. So I crossed back and the grey hound followed me. I decided I just needed to be brave and walk past it and as I did the damn dog bit my leg. It didn’t break the skin but when I ran home my sister was more concerned about not having her smash hits. What was worse was that after the dog had bit me it walked away an I swear it was laughing like Dick Dastardly’s dog Muttley off Wacky Races. Now this dog only had one head. If I came across a three headed dog I am pretty sure I would pee my pants. Harry, Ron and Hermione are way braver than me.
  • Quirrell man. What a bitch.
  • Why couldn’t Quirrell touch Harry without burning in pain?
  • Was Voldemeort/Quirrell a horcrux. I forget. I hope I find out in the rest of the story. See this is why a reread is needed.
  • Ah the Quirrell touch question has been answered. Mother’s love.
  • And it is over. I feel pleasantly full. I don’t have a book hangover just book fulfilment. Like when you eat the right amount at a meal without overdoing it and needing your stretchy pants.

Now on to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secreets. Dum dum de dum dum dummm dum.

Book A Day

At the beginning of the month The Borough Press tweeted this photograph to get book enthusiasts (and you know, regular people) to think about the books that they have loved or had recommended to them or books that they haven’t managed to finish (you get the picture). Due to the phenomenal response of this project they have issued a July photograph. For now, here are my June picks. I hope you enjoy. #BookadayUK

1st Favourite book from childhood

I had a lot of favourite books from childhood. In particular, I loved the Sweet Valley Twins/High and Babysitter Club series but one of the books I loved most as a child was The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. Before Hogwarts we had Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. I loved following Mildred Hubble’s misadventures as she faced arch nemesis Ethel Hallow under the watchful eye of Miss Hardbroom. She is the classic underdog.

2nd Best bargain

The best bargain book I have ever bought is A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. This is one of those book moments that I think every book lover experiences when they see a book cover but they forget the title and author name. I went to several different book stores asking for a book with a white cover speckled with what appears to be metallic ticker tape. No one could help me. However, I knew one day I would find it. Whilst looking for a second hand bookshelf I magically saw it sitting on a shelf. This bad boy (which is a fantastic read by the way) cost me the grand total of 20 English pence.

3rd One with a blue cover

I have several books with a blue cover but this has to be one of my favourites. Citadel by Kate Mosse is the third book of the Languedoc trilogy and if you have not read it before, and are planning to, then be warned it is a blood bath. A brilliant read though.

4th Least favourite book by favourite author

I don’t know if I have many favourite authors. I love JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series but she has three other books that I haven’t read. I don’t think I have read every book that a particular author has released. So for this one I am going to select David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. The other Dickens books that I have read I love; I would go so far as to class Great Expectations as one of my favourite books but David Copperfield just didn’t do it for me.

5th Doesn’t belong to me

A book that I have that doesn’t belong to me is Robert Rankin’s The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. This book technically belongs to my boyfriend but I should confess now that I don’t intend to give it back to him. Not because I particularly liked the book. In fact, it was possibly the strangest book I have ever read and was at time bat crap crazy but I am a sentimental person and I have found a man that will indulge my love of literature…no matter how obscure and random that the book is.

6th The one I always give as a gift

Lately, the book that I have given as a gift is The Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie Hart. For most book people that I know the escapism that a good chick-lit book can give is immeasurable. The moment that I finished this book (which I owned in Kindle format) I automatically bought it for my mother. I knew she would love it. For days whenever we would bump into each other at home (which by my description may seem massive with various cavities so the likely hood of us meeting would be slim but in reality is a 3 bedroom ex-council house) she would tell me where she was up to, which character she loved, what she thought would happen next. I love that my mother and I have that bond through books. Since she finished the book we have both bought it several times over for our friends; friends that have fallen in love with the story too.

7th Forgot I owned it

This one goes to Carry You by Beth Thomas. It is strange that I should forget this because it is a relatively new book having only been released recently. However, I pre-ordered it on my kindle and when I was out shopping one day I bought a physical copy of it having completely forgotten that I already had it. Ah well, you snooze you lose.

8th Have more than one copy

I have two copies of The Goddess Experience by Gisele Scanlon. In my defence, they have two different covers but I just love this book. If I were to ever write a book I would want it to be like this.

9th Film or TV tie-in

I love Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. I also love the books sequel, Porno; since that hasn’t been made into a film (yet) it doesn’t count. I first read Trainspotting in high school. I borrowed it from the staff section of the school library that I, being a senior librarian at the time, had privileges to. It was too advanced for me at the tender and innocent age of fourteen, however, I gave it another attempt a few years later and whilst I still found it out of my usual book comfort zone I was entranced. I had never read a book that had been written entirely in Scottish dialect. I love this book and therefore have both a physical copy and a kindle edition.

10th Reminds me of someone I love

The book that reminds me of someone that I love has to be The Railway Children by E Nesbitt. This book reminds me of my boyfriend (not that I am likely to forget him). He and I live a million miles (well approximately 240 miles to be less dramatic) away from each other and so we are doing the long distance thing. There are constant train journeys involved so for Valentine’s Day 2014 he bought me the Folio Society’s edition of this book. It is gorgeous and it makes me smile every time I see it on my bookshelf.

11th Second hand bookshop gem

I am going to choose The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon as my second hand bookshop gem; mainly because I love Zafon’s books. I would be more than willing to pay full price for his books which are so full of atmosphere and mystique but I recently found this one in a charity shop’s book section and didn’t hesitate in picking it up. Read Carlos Ruiz Zafon!

12th I pretend to have read it

I don’t think I have ever pretended to read a book before. I’m the kind of person that if someone starts talking about a book that I haven’t read then my interest is piqued and I go and buy the book. However, there is a book that I can’t remember if I have read or not. This is because the story is so well known that I can’t seem to determine if I know it from hearsay or from actually sitting with the paperback and devouring the story myself. That book is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I think that a timely reading of the classic is in order.

13th Makes me laugh

One of the books that always manages to make me laugh is Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. I first read it when I was a teenager and sadly I empathised too well with the protagonist, Georgia and found the embarrassing situations that she found herself in rather too familiar.

14th An old favourite

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks is definitely an old favourite of mine. I’m going to be quite controversial here. I don’t like The Notebook. I don’t fancy Ryan Gosling. I just don’t get why girls go crazy over him. I think out of the two books that A Walk to Remember has the better story. It is certainly much more heartbreaking.

15th Favourite fictional father

It would have to be Georgia’s dad in the Angus Thong series. He was so hapless and a source of all things funny.

16th Can’t believe more people haven’t read it

One of my favourite books is Derby Girl by Shauna Cross. I have always wanted to be part of the roller derby and this book is the basis for the movie Whip It, starring the delightful Ellen  Page and whilst people have seen the film they may not know that it is based on a book. It is, in my opinion, the best book to movie transformation that I have ever seen.

17th Future classic

A bookish friend and I were talking one day and she had asked me if I had read this book called One Day. I told her that I hadn’t and she begged me to keep my eye out for it because I would love it. I thought nothing more of it for a while and then one day (see what I did there?) I was in a shop and I saw this bright orange cover which intrigued me and I realised it was the book she was talking about. I picked it up and started it that day. It consumed me. I got completely lost in the pages to the point that when I had to go out and meet friends the book came with me and rather rudely whenever they left the table to go to the bar or the bathroom I would get the book out and read it. The writing is gorgeous and the story is heartbreakingly lovely. This will be one that in 20 years time people will still be recommending.

18th Bought on a recommendation

I bought BUGS in Writing on the recommendation of my boyfriend. He frequently gets frustrated by my excessive use of commas. My grammar is generally ok but there are times when I do punctuate willy-nilly or equally, not at all. I would recommend this one to anyone who is trying to get to grips with grammar.

19th Still can’t stop talking about it

I was given a book by a friend called Claire who told me to read it. She told me that it wasn’t your traditional love story but to give it a go. Now the copy she had given me wasn’t attractive. It was bevelled from being dropped in the bath so I put it on my bookshelf and thought nothing more of it.

A few weeks later my friend Hannah was recommending a book to me and she was still distraught over it. That book was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I realised I had it and so with two recommendations I decided to give it a read. Oh my wow. It has been two years since I have read it and even now I still find it heartbreaking. I couldn’t read the last 80 pages for the tears. That is some damn fine writing that can still pull on your heart and still resonate two years later. It also inspired me to read more songs by Jojo Moyes.

20th Favourite cover

I really love the cover of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It is sad to say it, but we all do judge a book by its cover and there are books that I will sniff at because I don’t like the cover. Stephen Chbosky’s book is fabulous and the cover is gorgeous. I love the punched title and the colours. I just love it. It was why I bought the book several years ago. Long before the movie which I have yet to watch.

21st Summer read

My summer read is going to be Written in the Stars by Ali Harris. I plan on reading it as part of book blogger @EmmaIsWriting’s #Sunathon which takes place between 21st – 27th July.

22nd Out of print

I have recently bought Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. I had to buy it second hand as I think it is now out of print. I have never read the book but I loved the movie and it still terrifies me to this day. I am fascinated with stories set in bookshops or libraries which this is. I am also looking forward to seeing how the book differs from the movie.

23rd Made to read at school

I read Talking in Whispers for my GCSE’s and I was blown away by it. Even now I remember how much it took me out of my reading comfort zone. It still resonates all these years later.

24th Hooked me in to reading

I actually can’t remember what book that hooked me into reading. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t either read or was read to. I suppose that the Sweet Valley books and the Babysitters Club books were the first set of books that I read avidly.

25th Never finished it

I am ashamed to say that I never made it all the way through Anna Karenina.  I have been up to Book 12 since I was 16. That’s almost 15 years. Jeepers. I have promised Andy Miller, the writer of A Year of Reading Dangerously that I will start it from the beginning and this time I will finish it. The thing is I liked the story but the book about the love of fields was a tad tedious.

26th Should have sold more copies

I’m going to throw in a bit of an odd choice here. I think the Harry Potter series should have sold more copies. Yes I know it is one of the bestselling book series of all time but damn it more people should give it a read. I can name a few people who haven’t and it still shocks me. Viva la Harry Potter.

27th Want to be one of the characters

I was asked by a friend for a list of books that I wanted for Christmas and I had been secretly eyeing Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. I like YA fiction, but I like it even more when I fall in love with the characters. I wanted to be Julia. I wanted to go out with Jason. I wanted to have Oh Darling! by The Beatles sung at me in an abandoned place in London covered with graffiti. It is such a damn good book. Read it!

28th Bought at my fave independent bookshop

In Liverpool we have an Oxfam Bookshop and I recently bought Porno by Irvine Welsh from there. I love Irvine Welsh books, the injection of humour around hard hitting topics always keep me entertained.

29th The one I have reread most often

I have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte on several occasions. The first time I read it was because my English teacher (and now friend) Shirley recommended it to me. It was probably the first classic that I had ever read. I have since read it as part of my degree (English Literature and Cultural History combined with Media and Cultural Studies) and each time I just get lost in the story. I think that you know a good story when you can keep coming back to it over and over again and falling in love with it all over again.

30th Would save if my house burned down

The honour of this book goes to The Grimmerie. It is the accompanying book to Wicked the musical. I did not like the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire. It was too twisty and warped for my liking; this didn’t stop me reading the sequel Son of a Witch. However, the musical is fantastic and such a clever premise that completely usurps your belief in the Wizard of Oz. The Grimmerie is fabulous and is tangibly exciting with its puffed out cover and gorgeous photography. I love it.