Are Books Luxury Goods?

Quirky'sReadsI questioned this in my last post and I think I might unpack it a bit more here.

Are Books Luxury Goods? I say Yes and No.

When I say luxury goods, I frame the book as a commodity, a thing that we purchase for pleasure (and in some cases, for life as they are the very essence of our being). I could break out my old anthropology texts and contextualize the book as commodity but that is a lot of effort and a lot of stushy old academic jargon (stushy in Bahamianese is a way of sort of making fun of upper crush, “high brow” culture) that is both boring and unnecessary.

Yes, they are luxury goods!

Part of me says they really are luxury goods. I say this because we don’t really need to buy them. There are certain things we need to survive with, such as food and water, but can fall under entertainment and therefore superfluous expense. When my father was unemployed he counted every single penny he spent and sometimes he would buy a book for himself. My extended family would thus descend on him like a pack of vultures, seeing his purchase as extravagant and unnecessary. Why buy a book when there is always a debt to pay off or groceries to buy? Bills? School fees? Unforseen magical expenses such as aliens landing on our house and crushing our car! Elephants running amok in The Bahamas and destorying the plumbing! Huge Unicorns gouging out windows!

So Yes, they are luxury items but also necessary and vital in other ways.

Me, being close to my father and in similar financial constraints, understood why he did this though. To him, books were an escape, a means of enjoying a different place and life for a moment (even if all he reads are terrifyingly thick NF WWII books about planes and bombs). I was proud when he sacrificed to buy a book because it showed that even when things were tough there were some simple pleasures.

So I say, yeah, books are luxury goods and we don’t need to buy them but there is something so beautiful and indulging about getting a book when you don’t need it but simply want to. Plus there is the pleasure factor and I have argued (unsuccessfully) in class before that pleasure should be counted in the budget or commodity chain as a need. I’m not talking an expensive pleasure (like taking out a huge loan for a Ferrari) but budgeting for books or a cup of darn coffee!

They’re educational too!

I’m straying a bit and that’s dangerous but my point is, though they are technically luxury items they provide comfort and pleasure regardless of one’s financial or personal situation. They are also education! I haven’t looked up any studies in particular but I remember reading stuff about books being good for you (I say this sarcastically, do not take that seriously, of course books are good for you!!!!!).

So I think I’ve strayed a bit from my original purpose but the point is simple: don’t let the haters get you down, a book is a luxury item but one that is totally necessary. It can be seen as a splurge or part of a budget, whatever your reasons I don’t think people should see a book purchase as “not-needed“.

How do you contemplate your purchases?

NameClaire

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Top 5 Authors We Haven’t Read Yet

Based on a post written on the Reluctant Reader, Nikki and I will examine which “Top 5″ Authors we haven’t even attempted (or attempted and missed) to read.

Top 5 Authors We Haven’t Read Yet

Claire

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  1. Jeffrey Eugenides: I’m going to make an effort to include authors I actually want to read sometime in the future in this post, instead of filling it with stodgy classic writers (I’m not a fan of classics, I don’t like being told what to read or being told to read ‘good’ books or literature, PAH to them I say). As such I’m including Eugenides on this list. I watched the Virgin Suicides, never read it, but I’ve wanted to read Middlesex for sometime so I think one day I shall give him a shot.
  2. Junot Diaz: Haven’t heard read anything of him before but I’ve heard great things, so, why not?
  3. Kazuo Ishiguro: Again, watched the film but never actually read. I’ve heard he’s a good author too.
  4. Neil Gaiman: I don’t actually know, or understand how I haven’t read anything by him. I think he’s a brilliant person and I’ve read his interviews and… I haven’t yet read anything! How! This will be amended soon.
  5. Haruki Murakami: All because of Nikki, she’s been saying I need to read something by him and I will. Eventually.
    • Likely first read: Norwegian Wood because I own a copy (Nikki got it for me for Christmas!)

 

Divider

Nikki

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  1. Jane Austen: This one is pretty much just for cultural learnings. If it turns out I like her purported witty social commentary, great! Despite never having read it, the story of Pride and Prejudice is far too familiar for me to want to make that my first Austen.
    • Likely first read: Persuasion (which I already own: paperback)
  2. Malcolm Gladwell: I really enjoyed Freakonomics which I think is in the same vein andGladwell has been in my periphery for a while now. I even recommended his books to my dad (despite having not read them…) who is now a majorGladwell fan.
  3. Noam Chomsky: My dad loves Chomsky’s work and we have similar tastes. I also feel like it might help me to get a better handle on politics which greatly interests me. I liketo be informed.
  4. Virginia Woolf: As you’ll already know if you read A Testament to Failure (DNF), I did put down A Room Of One’s Own after only 13 pages… But I’m not ready to give up on it (or on Woolf in general) yet! >:|
  5. Kurt Vonnegut: Funny, dark social commentary? Yes, please. I have a feeling his humour is in line with my own…I hope I’m right!

Who are some authors you’ve been meaning to get around to reading?

NameNikkixClaire

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Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Obsessed

Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic, 2002
Genre: Fantasy, Alohomora!
Rating:
Source + Date Read
: Own + Every Year since I received it in 2002 when I was 13 years old.
Recommend: Seriously, it’s Harry Potter folks. Duh.
Book Pro’s: They’re all growing up *sobs*

Summary: The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can’t know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable …With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.
More Information: GoodReads x Pottermore

 

Favourite Line“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

“Don’t talk to me.”

“Why not?”

“Because I want to fix that in my memory for ever. Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret…”

“It is my belief… that the truth is generally preferable to lies.”

Obligatory Warning: This is going to be an incredibly biased review filled with unicorns, rainbows and magic. If you don’t like Harry Potter or want any spoilers, please, I beg you, click onto another post. I’m not good at censoring myself. It will also be filled with memes.

I had caught up to the entire series by the time this book came out! We didn’t have any sort of events going on and indeed, I’m not too sure that the book was even popular on my island when it came out. I do know that my Aunt was in the USA when it did come out and had preordered a copy for me (which I didn’t know at the time and I was languishing in my room, despairing as to the spoilers that were making the way through the world and I, poor Claire, was stuck in a house with no new Goblet of Fire). When she came back and surprised me with it I gave that woman such an immense hug, which at the time I was averse to doing, that it surprised everyone. That being said, my entire feelings and emotions concerning the Goblet of Fire can be summed up with the meme below.

My Feelings About The Goblet of Fire.

The Goblet of Fire is in my Top 3 Favourite Harry Potter books for sure, with first being the Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows second I believe. I love the first 3 for their innocence and magic building but after the 4th the books take on a whole new tone. The book is, initially, very sweet and wondrous: Rowling expands the magic universe by incorporating new cultures and magical countries. We see new creatures, the beautiful Veela and are pelted with coins by leprechauns. We meet the silky and cold students of Beauxbattons Academy (which I was told as a teen meant pretty butts, but I now assume that they were having a go at me) and the fiery students of Durmstrang (which I assume means strong something). I’m with Hermoine on this one, Goblet of Fire was a tale of international wizarding cooperation! I love Rowling’s expansion of the universe and even with the personal strife and conflict, the overarching themes and plot, I always remember her descriptions best. So take my initial emotions as the meme below.

Me when I finally got my hands on this book.

However, the book is also bluntly emotional as Harry, having grown up immensely since the previous book with Ron and Hermoine, is exposed to a new range of personal emotions. And boy, they are seriously complicated. I was 13 when I read this so I was a year off from Harry and already in the throes of crushes and teenage angst so I related quite well. I understood Ron’s jealousy and Hermoine’s exploration (and I think it’s brilliant that she explore who she is, I did want Ron to STFU for most of the book and I am a huge Ron fan) and Harry’s trepidation and fear. I imagine one is excited at the prospect of fame, glory and recognition and yet terrified and daunted at the same time.

I treat The Goblet of Fire as a transnational book, as in the first 3 books are filled with sleep over styled fun and drama.; there are feasts and mayhem, adventures, night time prowls and cramming. And there is more of this in the 4th but the characters evolve a great deal and the conflict and plot are moved significantly; Voldemort isn’t a distant and past trouble, he is very much real, present and deadly. I think this is one makes The Goblet of Fire so darn significant, death becomes very real and the pain of the past come back to haunt everyone, regardless of how safe and loved they are. Plus, oh man I am starting to rant now and I want to save that for my 4th Thoughts Post, some parts are so darn not fair and I know that was Rowling’s point, life isn’t fair but *major spoilers* I really liked Cedric! Why did the good guy have to die?

ALL THE FEELS

All in all, I love this 4th edition and would highly recommend this book (duh). It’s a book that takes and warns the readers that the fun and bright life of Hogwarts is dimming and moves the overall plot of the series leaps and bounds into the future. Conflict and pain are real and readers should expect to read more of it in book 5, 6 and 7.

I’m writing this review as part of my Harry Potter ReRead initiative started by The Book Journey so everyone can expect a number of posts coming up!

Read other Harry Potter posts.

Did you like the Goblet of Fire?

Name

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A Testament To Failure (DNF)

I usually try to get a fair way through a book before abandoning it even though I believe you can tell if you like it or not way before then. I’ve only recently (at the end of 2014) added a DNF shelf to my Goodreads shelves, but I thought it would be interesting to look at why I tend to let books go…

Here I’ve compiled a list of some books I’ve abandoned ‘until further notice’ (with how long I lasted in brackets) under some broad explanation categories, but I do intend to revisit some of the titles listed below. (Even some of the ones in the “Didn’t Enjoy” and “Got Bored” categories!)

 

Didn’t Enjoy

∆ A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (page 13; ebook sample)

∆ A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (page 1)

Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley (page 26)

∆ Chant and Be Happy: The Power of Mantra Meditation by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda (≈⅓ through)

 

Got Bored

∆ It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden (skimmed entirety)

∆ The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides (≈halfway through)

∆ The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (a few pages)

∆ Maurice by E.M. Forster (chapter 2; ebook sample)

Zealot by Reza Aslan (chapter…3? audiobook.)

The Trial by Franz Kafka (chapter 3. audiobook.)

Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (≈halfway? more? audiobook.)

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (≈a few chapters?? audiobook.)

 

??? (Put it down for whatever reason and just never looked back)

∆ The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (a few chapters from the end)

∆ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (≈halfway through)

 

❤ I’ve strayed from but fully intend to find my way back to ❤

∆ A Beginner’s Guide To Reality by Jim Baggott (≈5/6th through)

I love this book. I really do. But I’ve been stuck in the third part for, like, five(5!) years now. It’s so informative and well-written and interesting, but I’m bot gonna lie: the physics in the third section is kicking my butt! I keep losing myself, start thinking about stuff as I’m reading then have to reread passages! AAAH! I need to finish this…And start his other book I bought. hah

∆ Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L Sayers (a few pages in)

Reading through the Scottish accent was hard work so I think I’d put it down for a bit then when I moved house it went missing for a little while (read: a few years) but I do intend to pick it up again. In fact, it’s on one of my 2015 reading challenges.

∆ Psmith, Journalist by PG Wodehouse (a few pages in)

I don’t know what happened here. I love Wodehouse’s Psmith series (and was, therefore, shocked by how unimpressed I was with his more famous Jeeves series). The wide, awkward format of my particular edition is a bit annoying but I need to pick it up again.

Necronomicon by HP Lovecraft (5 stories in)

I was enjoying this. I started it as a Halloween challenge then things got busy… But then I had the idea that I’d pick it up every October and just read as much as I could until eventually I finish the book. I have been keeping a log of my ratings for each story with a few mini-reviews.

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Book Buying Habits

Quirky'sReadsI’ve seen a few posts on book buying habits (Tara put it well in my opinion! As did Jamie) and I figured I’d do the same.

To Purchase or Not To Purchase?

I’ve always been a bit weird when it comes to book buying. I think it’s due to the fact that growing up, I lived on a very small island that didn’t have a single darn bookstore. So this meant that whenever I wanted to buy something I had to beg my parents to purchase it online and save up my cash to give it to them (I didn’t have the credit card, they did) and then ship it to The Bahamas which involved hassling Customs and finding an International Mail service that had a US address and shipped to The Bahamas. You see how long and convoluted that sentence was? Ugh, just thinking about shipping books makes me cringe. This meant that on the odd chance I was in the USA, I spent all my money on books, which also meant that I had to choose the books very specifically. Trips to the USA were a golden opportunity and nothing sucks more knowing you had a chance to buy a good book and ended up with a rotten egg. So I developed an insanely complicated buying system that I still sorta use to this day. Now, I have student loans from my MSc and I have rent and support some family members so buying a book is still a luxury item (I might get to this into another post, as though books for me are like groceries, completely necessary to my vital existence, it’s still a luxury good).

Reviews

Before I read anything I read nearly every review I can get my hand on. As a teen that meant looking at Amazon reviews on my parents computer. I also took whatever newspapers I could find and read reviews for stuff. Now, in the present day I do this but only really pay attention to reviews by friends with similar tastes or bloggers that I greatly respect.

Borrowing

Be it from a library (the one on my island was super good) or a friend, and I still use this method 95% of the time to this day, read the book and if I like it, buy it! If I don’t like it, well, I didn’t pay for it so OK. It’s entirely legal because the books are coming from bought sources so the writers still get their due and if I like it, they get extra love!

Cover Judging

This was more applicable when I was in the UK or made an odd trip to the USA, where if I was contemplating buying a book without previous research I judged that book hard by it’s cover. If the cover was up to snuff and the synopsis in the back seemed good, well, odds were if I could spare the cash it was bought. I so judge books by their covers.

Genre Affiliation

I’m such a creature of habit, whether at the library or Waterstones or Barnes and Nobles, I always make a beeline for my favourite genres. This means that if I’m feeling lucky and willing to gamble on a book there is a high chance that it’s a YA, Nonfiction or Fantasy book.

2015 Rules

I know this comes off a bit whiny, we’re all broke, I know, but I’ve developed an insane coping mechanism to slowly and steadily feed my book habit. I just bought 3 books the other day (Saga Volume 4 and A History of Color in Art are 2 of them! The other is a cookbook, a girl gotta eat right?). A few bloggers are on a book buying ban this year and I’m wondering if I should do the same? As it is my 2015 Book Buying will follow a few rules:

  1. Do not buy sequels, either buy the entire series (and only if you love it) or just find it in the library or with a friend (I want to move to the UK again so, series are highly impractical to lug around).
  2. Books to advance your career/knowledge and nonfiction are perfectly OK and do not need to be agonized over.
  3. Do not use your savings! If you don’t got it, wait.

How do you contemplate your purchases?

NameClaire

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Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Obsessed

Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic, 1999
Genre: Fantasy, Alohomora!
Rating:
Source + Date Read
: Own + Every Year since I received it in 2000 when I was 10 years old.
Recommend: Seriously, it’s Harry Potter folks. Duh.
Book Pro’s: EVERYTHING. Hermoine kicks awesome butt.
Book Con’s: I’m just going to get rid of this category for the rest of my Harry Potter reviews.

Summary: Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney’s ghoulish predictions seriously?
More Information: GoodReads x Pottermore

 

Favourite Line“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?”

“Don’t let the muggles get you down.”

“I’ll fix it up with Mum and Dad, then I’ll call you. I know how to use a fellytone now—”
“A telephone, Ron,” said Hermione. “Honestly, you should take Muggle Studies next year…”

Obligatory Warning: This is going to be an incredibly biased review filled with unicorns, rainbows and magic. If you don’t like Harry Potter or want any spoilers, please, I beg you, click onto another post. I’m not good at censoring myself. It will also be filled with memes.

I also got to read this one right after the Chamber of Secrets due to my late Harry Potter days. Now, I miss those days, being able to devour Harry Potter book after the other in such rapid and dizzying succession. Those days were truly enjoyable and filled with magic. After this one though, I had to wait for the next book in the series like every other muggle and much of my time was spent biting my nails in anticipation.

The Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favourite Harry Potter books for a very simple reasons: Harry and his crew take more classes. I love the Hogwarts that Rowling has built because it is filled with schedules, new books, quills, parchment, teachers and ghosts. I am a huge school nerd, I love the idea of school (and now that I’m working I miss it all the more) and to see Harry, Ron and Hermoine enter this new phase of their academic lives is so enviable and amazing. Indeed, from the information gleaned in the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I have made my own Hogwarts course load!

Me, this entire book.

Besides the rapid expansion of the Hogwarts world and in extension the magic universe, this book is successful in that it expands on Harry’s emotional sphere. We get the usual Dursley nightmare, the Dudley drama, but it brings in a closeness between Harry and Ron’s family again (quickly becoming his surrogate magical family) and a new character, Sirius (where does she come up with these names? What? Where? How?). This murder-turned-favourite-godfather is crucial to Harry’s growth and emotional maturity. He experiences a gamut of emotions and successfully transitions from boy-Hero in Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets to a dynamic and nuanced teenager.

Favourite new character? LUPIN! I am so glad Rowling included him in this because he provides a sort of world building and personal world building. He brings history, knowledge of the magic world and tension. Indeed, this entire book is like a sad homage to the drama and damage one can do as a teenager and how difficult it is to move on from it (Moony, Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail, trick or not, don’t kill Snape). I was a bit annoyed by Ron’s and Hermoine’s constant bickering, but they’re teenagers and I forgive them for this angsty slight.

Just want to give Lupin a hug.

All in all, I love this third edition and would highly recommend this book (duh). I’m writing this review as part of my Harry Potter ReRead initiative started by The Book Journey so everyone can expect a number of posts coming up!

Read other Harry Potter posts.

Did you like the Prisoner of Azkaban?

Name

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Review :: Doctor Faustus

And now for something completely different!*

Not quite in keeping with the Harry Potter theme, but magic is involved here. Oh yes! Hold on to your broomsticks and sorting hats!

A review of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus

SUMMARY

Doctor Faustus is a play by Elizabethan playwright, Christopher Marlowe.

The brilliant Doctor Faustus, bored with the unchallenging (and, presumably, unrewarding?) practices of medicine, law, and other academic endeavours, starts meddling in dark magics and sells his soul to the devil for knowledge and power. Obvious shenanigans ensue.

Fun Fact I: Although it was first published in 1604, the play was first performed in 1592.

Fun fact II: This is the first play I’ve read since high school (eight years ago…!)

• • •

Before starting, I was intimidated by whether the language would be too lofty or ‘olde’ for me to appreciate the story, but it was far more readable than I expected.

Till swoln with cunning, of a self-conceit,
His waxen wings did mount above his reach,
And, melting, heavens conspir’d his overthrow

Translation: Faustus got too full of himself and haughty and bit off more than he could chew so the powers that be knocked him down to size. The poetry was best read aloud because you can hear the rhythm and meaning of it all better I think.

Faustus is a perfect tragic hero. His flaw – the lust for knowledge and power – dooms him to an afterlife of eternal suffering. In the first place, he enters his deal with the devil because he doesn’t believe that hell exists even when Mephistophilis[sic] tells him (upon being asked why he [Mephistophilis] is able to leave hell to converse with him [Faustus]):

[w]hy this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think’st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?

Mephistophilis occasionally offers other matter-of-fact comments to the effect of “No, trust me, Faustus. Hell is totally real. And you’re going there when this is done”. But Faustus ignores the impending consequences of his choice not for any profound desire to better mankind at the cost of his own life, but for short-term material pleasures. While weighing up the pros and cons of such a heavy decision he forgets himself at the mention of wealth and calls on Mephistophilis to help him play tricks on people and acquire power. Oh, and he chats with Mephistophilis about the universe and asks about some burning cosmological questions. Childish, really. (Except the cosmological questions part.)

Our dear Faustus also seems to enjoy speaking in the third person. Something of a ‘royal we’ to show his megalomania? Perhaps. No one else ever does this though. Not even the Pope or Emperor who both appear in the play.

Faustus is a total coward (or caitiff to use the language of the time), but more importantly, despite his formidable intelligence, he is incredibly short-sighted. Every so often he gets scared at the idea of being tortured forever in hell and wants to repent but by then it’s too late for the easy way out and it’s either keep going on the downward stairway to hell where eternal damnation awaits him or suffer demons ripping his mortal flesh to pieces in retribution for breaking his contract with them but (possibly?) go to heaven to live happily ever after. So what does our tragic hero do? He puts off the short term bad (despite the long term pay off) for short term pleasure and he suffers for it. Eternally. Good call, Faustus.

Doctor-Faustus-with-the-DevilI am not the least bit religious. But I find religious lore (from all cultures and religions, not just Anglo-Saxon Christian ones) really interesting and enjoyable. This was no exception.

Yet, I don’t really know what to rate this. I feel like anything from 3 to 5 will do. I really enjoyed it, but that may have been, in part, because it was so fun to read and so much more manageable than I’d expected. I genuinely enjoyed the experience of reading it and I now have the urge to see the play performed live as I’m sure it would be a great experience. I feel like all that positive emotion warrants a 5! …But maybe objectively it deserves less stars? I don’t know. I’m truly lost on that front. Seeing as the considered range is “anything from 3 to 5″ I’ll stick with 4 stars.

So, if you’re feeling intimidated by the thought of trying a play or reading something from the 1600s or need to fulfil a specific reading challenge slot and don’t know where to start, maybe pick up Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (not to be confused with Goethe’s 19th century epic, Faust, based on the same myth). It’s short and fun and I certainly recommend it.

*brownie points for anyone who gets that reference

rating: ★★★★☆
genre: play, fiction, olde school (16th century)
publisher: ???
source: free via Kobo app which is available (also free) on most devices
date read: 8 January 2015
recommend for: Shakespeare/Elizabethan era fans, those wanting to try ‘ye olde’ plays that aren’t too intimidating
pros: fun read; good as an introduction to old plays
cons: predictable; no explanation of who characters are (beyond their names)/their relation to anyone else so can feel a bit esoteric at times (like missing cultural cues/connections from the time)

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Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Obsessed

Book: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic, 1998
Genre: Fantasy, Magic-Oriented
Rating:
Source + Date Read
: Own + Every Year since I received it in 2000 when I was 10 years old.
Recommend: Seriously, it’s Harry Potter folks. Duh.
Book Pro’s: EVERYTHING.
Book Con’s: My only regret is that I did not have a chance to punch Lockhart myself.

Summary: The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
More Information: GoodReads x Pottermore

 

Favourite Line: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Dumbledore

“Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back.” Ron Weasley

“Ginny!” said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. “Haven’t I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain?”

“But why’s she got to go to the library?”
“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”

Obligatory Warning: This is going to be an incredibly biased review filled with unicorns, rainbows and magic. If you don’t like Harry Potter or want any spoilers, please, I beg you, click onto another post. I’m not good at censoring myself. It will also be filled with memes.

My friend sent me this picture stating: “This is you when you talk about Harry Potter”

After devouring the Philosopher’s Stone in no time my father, whilst still in Barbados managed to get a copy of The Chamber of secrets for me which I also devoured in, like, no time. I’ll publish my thoughts on the series later and will endeavor to be a grown up and make this review a “proper” one.

The Chamber of Secrets takes off with the same tone and aplomb as the Philosopher’s Stone following Harry as he attempts to mitigate preteen life whilst battling evil creatures that would seek to destroy him with puddings. Err, not exactly pudding but a lot of bad things do happen to sugary confections in this book, and bones. No one seems to want to keep their bones. However, Rowling manages to keep the overall tone of the second installment of this series quite consistent with the first one whilst expanding on the magic universe. We meet more people from Hogwarts, new teachers (if you’re willing to call Lockhart a teacher) and new drama.

My reaction when I finished this book for the first time at 10.

I personally enjoyed the extension of the plot, not catering to a strictly Voldemort styled attack or something that the Dark Lord orchestrated himself, but rather an attack organized by his henchmen. It keeps continuity and excitement going without falling into stereotypes and tropes. Favourite new character? Dobby, by far! This magical elf is a brilliant inclusion because it is the start of a whole new level of tension that Rowling talks about frequently: Discrimination. Indeed, instead of finding an ethic/racial/cultural utopia, Rowling invents a whole new stigma to aptly convey the injustices that we impose on our fellow muggles, wizards, witches and magical creatures. This whole notion of blood purity was fascinating and both sad, as I asked to myself, what then of the muggle borns if Dumbledore wasn’t Headmaster? Would they have ignored Hermoine and lose, potentially, the best witch of their age? As a biracial and confused 10 year old, this was something that helped me muddle through a time of serious transition for me.

But you bet I’ll try to figure it out!

All in all, I love this second edition and would highly recommend this book (duh). I’m writing this review as part of my Harry Potter ReRead initiative started by The Book Journey so everyone can expect a number of posts coming up!

Read other Harry Potter posts.

Did you like the Chamber of Secrets?

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Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Harry Potter, YA | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments