Harry Potter and How it All Started

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, and it started before I even reached my teenage years. I think I was 10 the first time I attempted to read the Philosopher’s Stone (and I’m using the British English title here not only because it’s the original but because there is a significant semantic difference between a philosopher and a sorcerer dammit) – attempted, and failed. There were too many difficult words in the first chapter, and too many things that my head couldn’t understand – the cat with the map, and names such as McGonagall and Dumbledore. But then I was visiting a friend who had the movie on VHS, and I watched the end of it (she and some others had started the night before). I convinced my parents to get it for me (I no longer remember whether they bought it for me or if we borrowed it from the library) and my dad and I watched it together. It was a little bit scary, so it was good to have him there, but I ended up loving the magic. And then I read the book, and had no trouble getting through the difficult names from that day on.

I remember reading the first four books, borrowing them from the library over and over again. Goblet of Fire came with me on summer vacation one year, and I remember laughing in the car a lot because of all the funny moments and my brother asking me “what?!” and I would always tell him he’d have to wait until he reached that book too. That’s what I think about, every time I reread  the series and I finish Prisoner of Azkaban and dread starting Goblet of Fire because of how little I enjoyed the film by comparison – I think about that moment in the car and I know that I will enjoy it a lot more than I initially think every  single time, because of that moment that summer in the car.

When I heard that The Order of the Phoenix was out in English I ran down to the library to put my name on the waiting list for the Norwegian translation to be sure I got it first (it was still two months away and the librarian thought me weird and said it wasn’t necessary but I insisted and he did put me on the list). The hardback book was so heavy that the shelf above my bed actually bent a little when I put the book on it. I kept reading one through four, one through four, five, one through five, one through five, one through six – and when the Deathly Hallows was about to be released in Norwegian I somehow managed to talk my mom into pre-ordering the series for me and my brother after seeing an ad on the back of a book club magazine. I wasn’t a very fast reader, but I would not put the book down until I had read all of the pages and finished the series.

At this point, I have two complete sets of books – Norwegian hardback books, and American English pocket books. I also have PS and CoS illustrated, in British English (presents from my boyfriend, and I hope he keeps it up, because I want all of them and I want them in British English). And I have the audio books, read by Stephen Fry, although I only have them in downloaded form, thanks to a friend of mine. I would love to have a set of the books where the spines all put together make up Hogwars, that would look so pretty in a bookshelf… And have you guys seen the black leather bound ones with the book marks on the front cover that you can take out and use in the book? So beautiful! I want those as well. It’s actually kind of sad that both complete sets that I have look the same, because there are so many different and beautiful versions out there…

I’m listening to Order of the Phoenix right now. Last year, I started the audiobooks three times – I finished PS on the 5th of January, and DH on the 24th of May. By the 6th of June I’d finished PS for the second time, and completed DH on the 2nd of November. On the 6th of November I finished PS for the third time, and by the 6th of February this year I had finished the series three times. I told myself I was going to take a break, but I lasted barely a month, because by the 17th of March I’d finished PS again. And now, on the 21st of April I’m working my way through OotP. It’s kind of like a compulsion, and it’s probably not healthy. But if I can’t sleep because something is bothering me or I can’t relax, I put on Harry Potter, resuming from wherever I left off. I listen when I go to town, when I’m on my way to and from uni… I can’t stop. I tried to, but I couldn’t.

I love the Harry Potter series, and I love J. K. Rowling for creating this magical universe that I feel that I get to be a part of, no matter how old I get. Harry Potter got me into reading books on my own. Harry Potter encouraged me to continue reading. Hell, I even had my first fictional crush on the character! In many ways, Harry Potter saved me. And therefore I would like to start a series on my blog where I talk about things related to Harry Potter. The books, the movies, the sequel, prequels, fanfiction, AUs, fan merch… Really just everything. So if anyone has anything they want to read me talking about, please leave it in the comment section down below!

~ Julie

Things You Should Read

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is kind of different. I wanted to recommend some reading to all of my readers. If you’re not a book-reading kind of person, don’t fret; these aren’t book recommendations. And if that disappoints you – you should read them anyway.

The first thing you should read, is Do Nothing by Markus Almond. It’s about taking a timeout, to take care of yourself. If you like what you read, you should check out his other works, he has published a few books. At the end of last year I read his book These Are The Days, it’s a book of letters to a stranger every day for 100 days, and I really recommend it!

The second thing you should read, is Life Lessons from Mr. Boho Berry. It’s a blog entry, with 8 little things he has learned in life and that he thinks other people should know about. It’s very well written. There were things I didn’t understand or agree with when I read the headline, but after reading the text below it I completely agree with what he said (I’m talking about the no tv in the bedroom one, by the way, haha).

Thirdly, I think everyone should read You’re Allowed to Leave by Rania Naim. There’s a video below the text on that link as well. It’s kind of related to the Do Nothing post, I feel. And it hit me right in the feels right now. No one should feel guilty for leaving something that doesn’t improve their life. Leaving doesn’t necessarily mean quitting.

Lastly, here’s a tumblr blog entry called How To Grow The Fuck Up by user veux3. The link is from my tumblr profile, which I don’t use anymore. This entry contains a lot of links to things I, and many others, feel we should have learned in school but we didn’t. There are 7 categories – home, money, health, emergency, job, travel, and better you. I haven’t clicked on all the links to make sure they work, but I remember reading a few of them a couple of years ago and finding useful things, like how to take care of yourself when you’re sick, for example.

Happy reading!

~ Julie

20 Questions // The Book Tag

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

I think that would have to be some sort of fairy tale book from when I was a child. The Harry Potter books were also an early acquirement of mine, although I didn’t buy the books until the 7th came out, because for most of my childhood I read books from the library.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading “Paris for One and other stories” by Jojo Moyes (the last two books I read were Me Before You and After You). Next up is probably going to be “Mi briljante venninne” (“My Brilliant Friend” but in Norwegian) by Elena Ferrante because I borrowed it from a friend of mine and I don’t like to keep borrowed books for too long. I’m excited to read it because I’ve heard it’s good but it’s also written in nynorsk which is not the standardization I’m used to reading – I usually read bokmål which is slightly different.

3. What book(s) did everyone like and you hated?

I don’t know about everyone because I know a lot of book lovers really hated these books too because the writing isn’t very good, but a lot of people who don’t study literature and prefer to just read books that are enjoyable loved the 50 Shades series, which I absolutely did not like at all.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

That’s an easy one: Lord of the Rings. I have a book with all three books in it (in Norwegian) which I’ll probably never read because I’ve tried and failed twice, if not three times. I just brought it to a friend’s house because her fiance wants to read it and I’m in no hurry to get it back!

5. Which book are you saving for “retirement”?

I don’t currently have any books that I’m saving for retirement; I’m 24 years old and haven’t thought that far into the future yet!

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

Wait! What’s the point in reading the end before you even know what the story is about?

7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

I don’t think it’s a waste of ink, because it can be important for the author to thank people who helped them write this book, but personally I don’t read them if it’s just one long list of names. But sometimes the acknowledgements can be interesting to read!

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

I’ve read a lot of dystopian YA etc, and I don’t really want to switch places with any of the characters there – they’re books that make me glad I don’t live in those societies, you know? Like Hunger Games, The Selection series, Divergent, Maze Runner, Beautiful Creatures… Even Harry Potter goes on this list. And then I’ve read books where the main character falls in someone who dies. Or something else horrible happens. I absolutely love the characters and the stories, but I wouldn’t want to be a character in those stories, you know? I really can’t think of a single character in a book that I would like to switch places with. I guess I have to read more!

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Everything does! The books remind me of where I was when I read them the first time or last time, or what was going on in my life, or what else I was doing. If I have to mention one book specifically, it would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and how I was on a roadtrip vacation with my family, reading in the car, and laughing a lot – Fred and George were particularly funny.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

I get most of my books from bookshops or online bookshops. There are only a few that that isn’t the case with… Oh okay, I’v got one. When I went home to my parents this last weekend, my mom had left a copy of “Granateplene” (Traveling with Pomegranates) in my room because she had bought it when she already had it at home and decided she didn’t need two copies so she gave me one! I guess that’s kind of interesting. Another one was back in October last year when I was visiting my boyfriend and someone rang the doorbell and he went to open, and came back in and threw a parcel at me, which turned out to be the illustrated Chamber of Secrets book that he had pre-ordered for me months earlier and I’d completely forgotten about!

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

My friends got a “words of …” (love, wisdom, perseverance…) books for their birthdays last fall and each title was something I felt was fitting for that friend so I thought that was a special reason for special persons.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

This one is really difficult to answer because I usually save books for when I’m going somewhere, but most physical places would probably be Goblet of Fire as I had it with me on vacation that one summer that I mentioned above.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

I haven’t actually reread the required reading that I hated in school… One was required twice and it wasn’t so bad the second time around as it was the first time though, that was Of Mice and Men.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

A grocery list used as a bookmark (I would assume, as it was in the book).

15. Used or brand new?

Both. I love opening new books, but used books seem to have some sort of soul to them… And they tend to be easier to read because they’ve already been read once before.

16. Have you ever read a Dan Brown?

Yes! I’ve read all the Robert Langdon books, as well as Digital Fortress and Deception Point.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

I didn’t hate the 50 Shades movie like I did the books. And maybe Maze Runner – although I audio-booked that one so I’m not sure I got the complete experience of it as I would have if I’d read it as an actual book…

18. A book that NEVER should have been published.

50 Shades and Twilight series. They’re not good writing. Although I suppose they’re guilty pleasures for some. Speaking of Twilight, did anyone else find the reimagined version better than the original first book?

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?

Not that I can think of. Who actually reads cookbooks though?? Oh wait – I can think of one person actually.

20. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My mother. But I can’t read only what she recommends because a lot of it is basically the same storyline and she doesn’t read fantasy or anything like that.