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Is it possible to re-read a series too many times?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’ve mentioned before (here and here), when the seasons shift from Summer into Autumn, I re-read the Harry Potter series. The crisp air, the Fall colors, and the overcast skies make me think about feasts in the Great Hall, trips to Hogsmeade, and mugs of butterbeer. This year, the hankering to re-read Harry Potter has come two seasons early. I blame it on Al Roker, who has been reciting Harry Potter-themed trivia on Comcast On Demand for the chance to win tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After hearing Hedwig’s theme for the umpteenth time, I could resist no longer, and I decided to hunt for my books. You’d think I wouldn’t have to “hunt” for something I cherish and read so frequently though. Alas! I am dreadfully unorganized.

I embarked on another re-read around midnight on Saturday. After cracking open the cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the 8th time, at least, I was struck by a memory of my first, true re-read. My final semester at college, right before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one) hit theaters, I decided to re-read the series from start to finish. I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time in probably 10 years, and I was flabbergasted by how much I forgot. I had become so accustomed to the introduction in the movie that I forgot all about Vernon Dursely’s uncomfortable day at Grunnings and the shower of shooting stars over Kent, which was probably bewitched by Dedalus Diggle. Since then, it’s been a rare occasion that more than a year should pass before picking up at least one of the books to read (last year was one such occasion), and I feel I could practically recite parts of the series.

I wonder if there is such thing as reading a book (or in my case, a series) too many times. Is it possible that one day, the spell these books have cast on me will run its course? …Naaaaaah! Surely not. That’s kind of like saying one day I will stop craving my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup!

What book(s) do you frequently re-read? Have you ever felt like you read a book too many times? 

aboutaseries

When did book series become so complicated?

Figuring out book series these days is difficult. It’s not like the good ol’ days of Harry Potter where there were seven books in the series and you could tell easily in what order to read them because of the nice numbers on the spine of the book.

Harry Potter

These days there are supplemental novellas popping up all over the place, like Julie Kagawa’s Iron’s Prophecy or Winter’s Passage or Summer’s Crossing. I actually purchased two of these back before I was familiar with Julie Kagawa, so I didn’t realize they weren’t stand alone stories. These new novellas have really throw me for a loop the past year and a half. I have about a half a dozen of these supplemental novellas on my Nook. For books I don’t even own. I don’t know how I keep missing that key bit of information.

I don’t know if these novellas are entirely relevant to the story line, but I do understand that they may flesh out the story since they provide different points a view and perceptions. I haven’t actually ready one of these novellas though. I guess I’d rather spend my time and money on full length novels, though sometimes I feel like I’m missing out even if it is only 70 pages.

Cassandra Clare the Mortal Instruments the Infernal Devices

And there is series within series—like Cassandra Clare’s books. Mortal Instruments came first. Then she wrote the Infernal Devices to delve deeper into the history of the world and characters she created or something. I read sometime last year that she is (potentially) writing a third series revolving around the Downworld and the Shadowhunters. I’m not really one of her die-hard fans, so I don’t know if that was just hearsay or if the information was legit. Anyway, I honestly started freaking out half way through the Clockwork Angel because I thought I was reading Clare’s series out of order and thus missing out on a lot of really cool things. I thought I was supposed to read the Mortal Instruments first. After talking to one of my co-workers who thinks Clare is the bee’s knees, I learned that’s not necessarily the case. I mean, her series are all related, but you don’t have to read her original series in order to understand what’s going on in the spin off.

Fast forward a bit to now. A week or so ago, I received a lovely box of books I won from a giveaway hosted by Bitching, Books, and Baking. It was filled with all sorts of enticing books, but the one I decided to read first was a book from the Vampire Diaries series. Only, I didn’t realize that the Vampire Diaries was one of those series that had series within the series (possibly within a series). I guess it’s more like…the Vampire Diaries Franchise. And unlike Cassandra Clare’s books, it appears you actually have to have read the original series to understand what’s going on in this new one. This is what I picked up to read first:

the Vampires Diaries: the Hunters

It says “Vol. 1″ right on the cover, so the error I made is understandable. I don’t know why they don’t call it “Book 8″. Nonetheless, I feel pretty foolish. I know the Vampire Diaries is a pretty popular series, so you’d think I’d know which book to start with. It would appear though that my research abilities have become null ever since I graduated college. Anyway, I read 46 pages into my book and decided to put it down. The first few chapters are recapping what happened in previous books…and holy crap, I feel like I’m missing out! I mean…why didn’t anyone tell me sooner that exciting things actually happened in this book? Maybe they did but I stuck my nose up at them because the book is about vampires, and my track record with the mythological beasts is not a positive one (which in turn begs the question, why do I keep picking up books about vampires?). You may be pleased to know that I’ll be borrowing the Vampire Diaries: the Awakening from the library this weekend.

This all makes me very curious about what other readers think of these series based on previous series. Or, maybe it’s more accurate if I consider them multiple series that take place within the same world. Do you like them because it allows you to revel in one of your favorite worlds? I mean, I guess I’d feel that way if there was more about Hogwarts from J.K. Rowling. I’m sure even if the proceeding works were mediocre (as if that were possible) I’d still gobble them up (because Hogwarts is my home!) Or, are you tired of them popping up all over the place now? Do you think authors are clinging on to something that made them popular? Or do you think that’s the only story they have to tell? Or maybe you’re more benign about it—do you think maybe authors just like the world they’ve created and want nothing more than to just escape into writing about all of the lives that inhabit it? (Note: The Vampire Diaries might be a little different considering the later books were written by a ghostwriter instead of L.J. Smith.)

wishlist

Last Minute Christmas Shopping: Gift Guide for the Book Lover

Six days until Christmas morning, and I still haven’t starting shopping. Instead, I concocted another list of five items under $50– this time for the book lovers in your life:

Book Lovers Journal, Peter Pauper PressBook journals are a great way to keep track of books read whether the giftee is a blogger or not. I really like what the Book Lover’s Journal has to offer. It has places for you to list books you’ve borrowed, bought, lent, and pine for. The book log pages have stars to color in for rating, scales from 1-10 for aspects like characters, plot, illustrations, and more, as well as a place to write down a small review. There is even a checkable list of popular and classic books. This journal seems to rival that fancy-schmancy moleskin, but it’s will cost you about $5.00 less!

Book LampI’m absolutely smitten with my Mighty Bright Xtraflex LED book light since I do most of my reading before bed. While by significant other nods off beside me, I can keep reading into the wee hours of the morning without disturbing him. Plus, it comes in handy when the power suddenly goes out, and I have to dig around for candles and matches.

Harry Potter BookmarksMaybe if I had cute bookmarks like the ones created by bethydesigns I’d be less likely do dog ear my pages. You can hand make these little gifts, or just spend some pocket change if you’re artistically challenged. It matters not.

Nook coverMake your e-reading friends feel like they’re holding a “real” book in their hands! These covers are also useful for protecting delicate screens while being jostled around in satchels and purses. Plus, aren’t these little birdies just the cutest?

Gift cardsWhen in doubt, pick up a gift card! We all have our favorites– Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie bookshops, the Book Depository. Regardless, the book lover in your life will be able to finally snag the copy of the book they’ve been eyeballing.

Pssst, hey! You can check out my Gift Guide for Tea Lovers here.

magical

Revisiting the Magic of Harry Potter

It’s that time of the year again. I’m having cravings for pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes, and licorice wands! So, I pulled my dusty copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone off of my book shelf and dived in. (Note: The book was dusty because I’m really bad about dusting surfaces, not because I haven’t read it in ages.)

Harry Potter, the boy who lived
via weheartit

Cracking open a Harry Potter book is like visiting with old friends. For a moment I stare down at the book and think to myself, “Gosh, it’s been a while,” and “My, how times have changed”. And then when I start reading, it’s like I’m reliving all of these fantastic antics from yesteryear for the first time. When I’m finished, I place the books back on my shelf, sad that it’s ended. Like the time spent together was too short. But then I remind myself I’ll see them again in a year or so.

I do this every year, re-read Harry Potter. It’s a tradition I’m not keen on breaking any time soon. This year, I thought I’d do something a little different though. I’d like to incorporate my journey through the seven books in my blog. I’ll be honest, I only have a rough idea of what I’d like to accomplish with this– reviews or maybe thoughts on characters, places, and magical beasts. Maybe I’ll actually get around to trying out the different recipes for Butterbeer. The sky is the limit when you have a Nimbus 2001 a Firebolt.

teaview

You probably won’t find these teas in Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop

I discovered Adagio Tea allows you to create your own signature blend of tea. You can select one of their popular formulas as a template and edit the types of tea, or you can create your own special formula from scratch. You can further personalize the tea by naming it and adding your own original artwork to the packaging. You also have the option of keeping your specialty blend to yourself, or you can share it with the rest of the Adagio community. It’s not badly priced– about $10 for a 3 oz. bag of loose leaf tea.

There are a lot of really creative ideas like Sci-Fi Chai, an entire collection dedicated to the Zodiac, and a handful of teas based on popular books and teevee shows. Now if you’re familiar with Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, then you probably already know where I’m going with this.

There is an entire collection of teas based off of the Harry Potter books! *squeals in delight*

 


Harry Potter Tea was created by Cara McGee and is a blend of Masala Chai, pumpkin spice, and caramel. Cara described this blend:

Treacle tarts, Pumpkin Juice and deep, warming spice. Boyish, yet brave, resourceful, and powerful.

 

The Luna Lovegood may not include dirigible plums (thank goodness), but it is a unique blend of Earl Grey Lavender, Rooibos Jasmine, and guanabana. Cara describes it:

The sweetest, softest, warmest tea imaginable, with a wild, surprising finish.

 

Neville Longbottom’s blend includes Irish Breakfast tea, Rooibos Vanilla Chai, and peach. This is surely a blend that characterizes Neville to a T(ea). Cara describes it:

Sweet, a bit befuddled, but all together warm and reassuring. A tea stronger than you’d expect, and endlessly comforting.

There are also blends for Remus Lupin, Hermione Granger, Severus Snape, Sirius Black, James Potter, Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Cedric Diggory, and Peter Pettigrew.

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