Monthly Discussion: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published in the UK in 1997.  The series has become so popular that people of all ages around the world have been reading and talking about them for the past eighteen years.  While I didn’t find out about the books until the first movie adaptation and HP fans took over movie theaters everywhere, by time the final book was released I was in line to get my copy of it along with everyone else.  I didn’t care that I was an adult in my early 20s getting extremely excited about a middle-grade Fantasy book.  I had to have all of the books, and all of them had to be hardcover editions.  To give you an idea of how rare that is, the only other complete series I own that are all hardcovers is C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

Despite my love for all things Harry Potter, I’ve never re-read the series, until now.  For anyone who wants to join me as I continue to read each book over the next six months, I’ve put together some discussion questions.  The discussion questions for each book will be posted on the last day of each month, and then there will be a final Harry Potter Book Night celebration post, possibly with a giveaway, on February 4th.  There will also be a link up each month for all of you to share your HP related posts.  I will look through all of them and then feature one or more in the following month’s discussion post.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Harry’s experience with living with the Dursleys build his character?
  2. How are Dudley and Draco alike? How are they different?
  3. Why do you think Harry Potter was sorted into Gryffindor instead of any of the other houses?  Why do you think he didn’t want to be sorted into Slytherin?
  4. With so much corruption coming out of the house of Slytherin, why do you think it is one of the houses at Hogwarts?
  5. If you consider the other houses to be symbols of several virtues (bravery, loyalty, wisdom), is Slytherin’s cunning and using “any means/ To achieve their ends.” a virtue?  Why or why not?
  6. What makes the friendship between Harry, Hermione, and Ron a real friendship?  Is Malfoy’s friendship with Crabbe and Goyle a real friendship? Is Voldemort’s relationship with Quirrell a real friendship?  Why or why not?
  7. What do you think of Harry and Ron’s reliance on Hermione’s intelligence to get them out of difficult situations?
  8. If you had an invisibility cloak, what would you do and where would you go?
  9. What do you think you would see if you were to look into the mirror of Erised?

If you’ve got a Harry Potter related post, share it in the linky.  Feel free to answer the discussion questions, write your own, or do something else entirely.  As long as it’s related to Harry Potter, preferably the first book, you can share it for the chance of it being featured in next month’s post.

Review: Fangirl


  • Author: Rainbow Rowell
  • ISBN: 9781250030955
  • Genre: Contemporary YA

The above ISBN is for the hardcover, but I listened to the audiobook edition that I purchased.

If Fangirl hadn’t been a book club pick, I probably would never have read it.  I rarely ever read fiction that isn’t Science Fiction or Fantasy, especially if it’s Contemporary YA.  However, I decided to give it the same chance I give every book I pick up for whatever reason, and I’m glad I did.

The main character, Cath, reminds me very much of my younger self.  Sometimes that was a bit depressing and made it difficult to continue.  I felt horrible for her.  By the end of the book, the story was more cathartic than anything else, and I was a bit surprised when it ended.  It wasn’t so much that the ending itself was unexpected, but that I didn’t realize the story was over.  Part of that was due to my misreading my audible app and thinking there were more chapters than there were.  The feeling was similar to when you believe you have at least fifty or so pages left of a book, and then you discover it’s really only ten because the rest is a discussion guide.  The other reason was that I thought there was more to tell, and I wanted to know what that “more” was.  I got the funny feeling that Rainbow Rowell did that deliberately so that the reader might decide to write the rest of Cath’s story for themselves.

All in all, the only minor thing that I didn’t like about Fangirl was the lengthy readings of Cath’s fan fiction.  I think they could have been considerably shorter and still got the point across that Cath was really writing about and trying to process certain events from her life.  However, you don’t have to be a lover of fan fiction to enjoy this book.  I’ve never been into fan fiction, and I loved it.

#COYER Scavenger Hunt #75: Step outside your comfort zone and read a book in a genre you have read less than five times this year. (I haven’t read any Non-Fantasy Contemporary YA books this year.)

#FitReaders Check-In #30

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for July 20th – 26th.  I completed week one of the 10-Week Mindful Diet Plan for Healthy Eating from Yoga Journal.
  • I did great during the week but ran into some snags that I hadn’t thought about or planned for over the weekend.  My original plan was to do yoga in the morning before I got ready to go to class, but on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I would do yoga at night before I went to bed.  Well, Friday night is the one night I get the apartment to myself and can do whatever I want because it’s the Boyfriend’s gaming night.  The last thing I wanted to do was interrupt my fun with yoga.  Saturday night is date night, and Sunday night was spent studying for a test.
  • I’ll continue to do yoga in the morning during the week, including Friday, and at night on Sunday, but I’m not sure what to do for Saturday.  The Boyfriend works 3rd shift and has to sleep during the day so I do everything I can to be as silent as possible and keep my use of light to a minimum.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Yoga Workouts: 4/7
  • Steps: 27,634/56,000
  • Miles: 11.35/21
  • Flights of stairs: ?/70 – my Fitbit went funky and told me I had climbed an impossible number of stairs, so I don’t know the actual number.
  • Active Minutes: 94/210
  • Total Money Donated: $13.96

Monday’s Minutes #30

Currently Reading:

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Abomination by Gary Whitta – a review book.
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
  • Manifesta by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards

Ready Abomination Scottish Manifesta

Finished: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.  I’ll be reviewing both sometime this week.

Fan Glass


S&S Bingo2update11

Total pages read for the week: 591

Total # of books for the year: 47.  I’m doing everything I can to finish Manifesta before it’s due back at the library on Tuesday!

Top Commenters: This week my Top Commenter was Shaina @ Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Review: The Library at Mount Char


  • Author: Scott Hawkins
  • ISBN: 9780553418606
  • Publisher: Crown Publishers
  • Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Library at Mount Char was not what I expected at all.  I’m not sure if that’s because the synopsis was misleading, or because I feel like this book belongs more in the Horror genre than Fantasy.   Either way, it’s less about the Library than it is about the main character’s quest for revenge.

Putting aside my disappointment at not reading a true Fantasy book, Scott Hawkins gets bonus points for grabbing my attention with the very first sentence, and keeping it up to the point where Erwin enters the story.  The author lost all of those bonus points with Erwin, who’s character is completely unbelievable and who’s actions are mostly implausible.  Why?  Erwin is supposed to be a Vietnam vet who retired as a Sergeant Major.  If you’ve ever served in the Army, you’ll quickly figure out that the author either didn’t do enough research or he exaggerated the already tall tales he heard from a soldier.  The only reason I’m willing to forgive Erwin’s existence is that the story itself is beyond the point of “out there”.  Think of the most bizarre story that Stephen King ever came up with, and you’re close to where The Library at Mount Char is on the scale of outlandishness.  Somehow, it works.

With the exception of the parts involving Erwin, my desire to continue reading this book never wavered.  I’m glad I forced my way through those parts because The Library at Mount Char is a solid three-star read.  I enjoyed it most of the time, and I’m likely to read the author’s future books.  While Scott Hawkins is no Stephen King, I can safely recommend this book to fans of the King of Horror.

#COYER Scavenger Hunt #49: Read a book that contains all the letters in the word BLUE.

#FitReaders Check-In #29

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for July 13th – 19th.  I will be trying something different for the next ten weeks.  Instead of concentrating and failing week after week to reach my step goal, I’m doing the 10-Week Mindful Diet Plan for Healthy Eating from Yoga Journal.  It’s free and doesn’t require me to buy anything to follow the plan.
  • I started the plan yesterday so I won’t be updating on my progress until next week.
  • I’ll still try to get my steps in and track that information, but as of this morning, I’m starting a daily yoga practice in keeping with the plan.  I’ve added seven yoga sessions a week to my fitness goals listed below.
  • If you’d like to join me on this 10-week journey, leave a comment or friend me on Facebook.  If you don’t own any yoga DVDs or can go to a class, there are tons of free yoga videos on Youtube.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Yoga Workouts: 0/7
  • Steps: 23,601/56,000
  • Miles: 9.69/21
  • Flights of stairs: 32/70
  • Active Minutes: 51/210
  • Total Money Donated: $12.98

Monday’s Minutes #29

Currently Reading:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
  • Abomination by Gary Whitta – a review book.

Fan Glass Abomination

Finished: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, which I’ll review sometime this week.  I also finished Harry Potter and Philosophy, which I won’t be reviewing; however, it gave me some great ideas for discussion questions for the monthly posts I’ll be doing about the books.

 Library Harry


S&S Bingo2update11

Total pages read for the week: 814

Total # of books for the year: 45.

Top Commenters: This week my Top Commenter was Shaina @ Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Review: The Last Dragon


  • Author: Silvana De Mari
  • ISBN: 9780786836369
  • Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

I tracked down and bought this book after a ten year old girl insisted that I needed to read it.  It took me a while to find a copy, and it was even longer before I finally got around to reading it.  That ten year old is now sixteen.  Over the years that we used to talk, she recommended quite a few books that have become some of my favorites.  She is the reason I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.  I also read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer thanks to her, and no, I’m not sorry I did.  If she recommended the back of a cereal box, I would read it.

So, it was no surprise that The Last Dragon is one of the best middle-grade Fantasy books I’ve ever read.  My criteria for a middle-grade book, or any book for that matter, to be placed on my “Best Reads” list is fairly short: 1) make me cry, 2) make me laugh, 3) make me think.  If a book can make me do all three of those things in the space of one or two pages, it gets bonus points.  This book hit all three of those more than once.

The Last Dragon was also the perfect story for me right now.  It was comforting, and it made a connection with a place in my heart that very few books reach.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of those few books, and while The Last Dragon doesn’t top my all-time favorite book, it might be a close second.  If you need a comfort read and you enjoy middle-grade Fantasy, or if you’re looking for a special book for a kid, I couldn’t recommend a better book that doesn’t have at least one hobbit in it.

#COYER Scavenger Hunt #66: Read a book with a castle on the cover.

Friday’s Fairy Tales: Rapunzel

Rapunzel - Ihave3kids
Image: Ihave3kids

The fairy tale “Rapunzel” comes from one of the stories of the Saints.  During the 3rd century AD, a wealthy merchant in Asia Minor loved his daughter so much that he forbade her to have any suitors.  He locked her in a tower whenever he traveled.  She converted to Christianity and prayed so loudly when she was in the tower that her prayers were heard throughout the town.  The merchant, informed of her actions, took her before the Roman proconsul who insisted she be beheaded or the father would have to forfeit his fortune if she refused to give up her newfound faith.  The father decapitated her but was then killed by a lightning strike.  She became the martyr, Saint Barbara.

The version of the story the Grimm’s were told was thought to be a folktale, but as it turns out, was actually written by Giambattista Basile in 1637.  It was rewritten by a French aristocrat, Charlotte Rose de Caumont de la Force in 1697.  The 1697 version was translated into German by J.C.F. Shulz, but the Grimm brothers were unaware of this fact.

In the Grimm version, which is almost identical to the Shulz translation, Rapunzel lets her hair down for a prince to climb into her tower and ends up pregnant.  The witch chops off Rapunzel’s hair and magically transports her far away, where she lives as a beggar with no money, no home, and a baby.  The witch lures the prince up into the tower and then pushes him from the window.  Some thorn bushes break his fall, but also blind him.  However, as with most fairy tales, there’s still a happy ending for the two lovers.

If you want to read a more modern version of this classic fairy tale, check out the following books (all links are to Goodreads):


Classics Club: Around the World in Eighty Days


  • Author: Jules Verne

This was one of the free books given away by during Audiobook Month.

I’m glad I listened to the audiobook rather than experience Around the World in Eighty Days in any other format.  I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.  Jim Dale did a fantastic job of providing distinct voices for every character no matter how small a part they play in the story.  Also, with every new location that Phileas Fogg and his servant, Passepartout, come to, music from that place plays briefly in the background.

The only drawback to this book is some of the language and viewpoints on different cultures and races, which was at times full of stereotyping and at other times glossed over the very brutal history of colonization.  However, considering when this book was written (1873), I can’t really blame Jules Verne for keeping with how Europeans believed anyone that wasn’t European to be and overlooked the personal and political atrocities caused by Imperialism.

Overall, this book was well written, fun, and entertaining enough to keep me happy during my commute.  As far as Classic Literature goes, it’s a new favorite, and one I recommend to anyone who wants to read more of the Classics.

#COYER Scavenger Hunt #29: Read a book with no magical or futuristic elements.