I have been conquered by books. They have taken over my thoughts and everyday life. Hopefully, I'm not the only one this has happened to.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Harry Potter Series

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am a huge Harry Potter geek. Even the slightest connection to the series and my brain goes, "HARRY POTTER!"

I was one of the oddly reluctant children who, despite growing up around the books, refused to read them until I was about 12. And I think whoever it was that finally pushed me over the edge and made me read the books regrets it now, because they have created a bit of a monster.

I know there are people out there who haven't read the Harry Potter series, due to personal beliefs or whatever it may be. However, speaking as a girl who loves reading more than anything, I wish I had read these books sooner, and I certainly don't regret reading them. I know there is a lot of controversy about the series as a whole, but I can speak honestly to any true reader out there: if you are living life without having read Harry Potter, you are missing out on a reading experience unlike any other.

*flashback scene*

A 12-year-old me sits in Language Arts class. The fourth book sits open on my desk. I am so close to finishing. And the teacher tells me to get to work. Therefore I finish the fourth Harry Potter book walking home from school.

*flash forward... A little*

A 13-year-old me sits on the floor of the Barnes and Noble wearing glow-in-the-dark Harry glasses. All around me are people dressed as my favorite characters; they debate who R.A.B. is, and who will die in the final installment of the epic series. My friends and I speculate much the same. At about 11:55pm on July 20, 2007, a whole room of geeks begins to chant, "Bring the books! Bring the books!" And we all scream in unison as the books are unpacked at 12am on July 21, 2007.

*the following days*

I hole up in my room with the book, coming out only when absolutely necessary. A friend calls to inform me that she is finished already. I hungrily devour every word on every page. I don't want the series to end, but I want to know how it ends. And I sob my eyes out. Pathetically. It is about 7pm when I exit my room positively hyperventillating and searching for tissues. An hour later I emerge, the book and the series completely finished.

*end of obnoxious flashback scene*

It is looking back at moments such as this from my life that I realize how hopelessly devoted I was (and I guess still am) to the series. But never, as many books as I've read and as many series as I've read, have any books had such an impact on me. It was like losing a best friend. They had become a part of my life, those books. And they still are.

People say, all the time, that "Twilight is the new Harry Potter", or "Percy Jackson is the new Harry Potter", or "The Hunger Games is the new Harry Potter". For me, it is hard to imagine another series coming anywhere close to where Harry did. The "new Harry Potter"s haven't had as much of a worldwide fan base for nearly as long. They do not, as someone said of Harry Potter, "define a generation". They are simply fads, and will likely die out. I can't see that happening with Harry Potter. It "defines a generation" in too many ways to ever disappear.

I watched an interview recently with J.K. Rowling. She said she had a woman come up to her on the street, almost out of nowhere, and tell her, "You are my childhood." Personally, I think this perfectly sums up the entire realm of Potter as a whole. Potter was the childhood of so many of our up-and-coming adults. Potter was the reliving of childhood for many of our current adults. What other series could have such an impact on so many different people?

There are two reasons that I have spent the last near half an hour spewing this onto a blog post. The first is to make the point that if YOU have not read the Harry Potter series, you are missing out on more than I can even express. And second, I hope that by Harry's impact on so many, we can learn from his story that love really is the greatest magic of all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Being Jamie Baker

Being Jamie Baker... There really isn't much else I can say.
I met Kelly Oram through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A group of us in the same area decided to get together and do a write-in at a local cafe. Kelly joined us, and while we didn't get much writing done, we did do a lot of talking. And in the process, Kelly was telling us how she was publishing her first ever novel.

Now, as we were doing National NOVEL Writing Month, the rest of us thought that was pretty awesome. I kept in touch with Kelly after NaNoWriMo ended, and every once in a while I would ask when the novel was coming out.

August of 2010 was the answer. I ordered this book on Amazon as soon as I could, and I couldn't wait to read it. Could not wait. I mean it. The package came to my door at 5pm one Tuesday night, and while I held off to finish my homework, I read until my eyes would no longer stay open. And at that point I was really sad, because I had to put the book down.

The following day at school, the book was with me the entire day. And it was tempting me, practically begging me to read it. So when I got home, I sat down, and I finished the book.

Being Jamie Baker is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who, after a tragic accident, is left with incredible superpowers. Now, not only does she have to deal with normal high school girl stuff (popular girls, cute boys, and sometimes embarrassing parents), she has to find some way to keep her powers hidden. Unfortunately, she is faced with challenges that make hiding her powers harder than ever while she tries to keep the lovable Ryan Miller at bay.

I adored, adored, adored this book. There is no better description of how I felt. I simply adored it. It was wonderfully paced. There was a good, original plot. No yucky love triangles like many Young Adult novels these days. Brilliantly written. Spectacular character development. And to top it all off, good climax and lovely happy ending.

I have two words for you, girls: Ryan. Miller. All of the girls I know who have read this book want their own Ryan Miller. I want my own Ryan Miller. Read the book, and you'll understand why.

Monday, September 6, 2010

For my fellow Sticklers...

"A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

'Why?' asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

'I'm a panda,' he says, at the door. 'Look it up.'

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

'Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'"

This is most of the reason I chose to read this book. If you laughed at this joke like I did, then you, too, are a "Stickler". This is Ms. Truss' name for people such as myself in her brilliant book Eats, Shoots and Leaves. I chose to start my discussion of books with this one because grammar and punctuation are the basis of what we read. After all, it is so much harder to read and enjoy books that have poor grammar or punctuation.

There is another reason I chose to read this book. You see, my former English teacher would randomly recommend books to me based on conversations we were having. Such as, "You liked Pride and Prejudice? Read Jane Eyre." Or, "Oh, you liked the abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo? Read the unabridged one. It's way better."

The conversation that led to the recommendation of this book all started with my going to the grocery store with my mom one Wednesday. Mom thought we should get some pancake mix, so I grabbed a box without really paying attention to what it said. Later, while unpacking the groceries, I noticed that this particular box was promoting the new Shrek movie. But then I noticed something else in the top right corner.
I apologize, this was taken with my cell phone. But still.
I had to look at it a few times before I really realized what I was seeing. And it was actually a little painful. But I of course shared this photo with my English teacher at the first opportunity, and that is how I came across this amazing and brilliant book.

So, fellow Sticklers: If you read this and cringed at seeing my photo, read Lynne Truss' book. You will find yourself thinking, "I do that!" or "Oh, I've seen one of those." It will give you a much more amusing outlook on the sad fate of punctuation and grammar in the modern world.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

And the adventure begins.

I figure that for my first blog post, I should introduce myself. I'm Taylor. I'm a teenage girl who adores reading. I've loved to read for as long as I can remember. I can't remember a minute where I didn't like to read. Not one. From reading I began to love writing, and that has been an adventure in itself. I'm a total geek, and proud of it.

My idea for this blog comes from the fact that books seem to have taken over my life. They've infected absolutely every aspect of it. I quote books, I talk about books, I think about books, I read books... You get the idea. And for the most part, I get teased about it, but I know there have to be other people like me who have had this same thing happen to them.

So here I am, fingers poised over my keyboard, ready to type about books and everyday life. Hopefully, those of you reading this will enjoy it.