This is it! We’ve come to the conclusion of the Harry Potter series, and, therefore, the end of my HP re-read. My eyes kept getting watery while reading this book, just as I suspected would happen. Those pesky allergies. We’re not completely done with all things Harry Potter, though. Oh, no. We’ve still got Harry Potter Book Night, A Night of Spells! Join me on February 4th to celebrate the series and the Boy Who Lived! There will be a post chalk full of links to games and other fun activities, and maybe a few of my own creation. I’ll also be on Twitter, using the official hashtag #HarryPotterBookNight. I’m kicking everything off at 5 pm Central Time (6 pm EST), and the party won’t be over until 9 pm. That’s FOUR HOURS OF AWESOME!
Since this last book of the series causes all the feels, especially reading it after Alan Rickman passed away earlier this month, I’ve listed some less emotional but still interesting links after the discussion questions.
How have the characters changed with each book in the series? How different or similar are Harry, Ron, and Hermione from when they started at Hogwarts? What about other characters? How has Dumbledore developed as a character in the series? What about Snape?
Harry, Snape, and Voldemort’s histories have been linked from the beginning of the story. How did their early experiences and their choices in life shape their characters?
How did reading the article about Rita Skeeter’s book on Dumbledore and parts of the book itself affect Harry’s feelings for Dumbledore? Why didn’t Dumbledore share certain parts of his past with Harry? Why is Harry disturbed when he learns at Bill and Fleur’s wedding that Dumbledore’s family lived in Godric’s Hollow?
How did the Death Eaters gain control of the Ministry? How did they maintain that control? Compare the Death Eaters’ takeover of the Ministry to tyrannical regimes in history.
Why does Slytherin’s locket affect the mood of whoever is wearing it? Do you think the locket affected Umbridge the same way? Is it the locket that causes Ron to desert Harry and Hermione? Why is it fitting that Ron is the one to destroy the locket? Compare Ron’s experience with the locket to the way in which Ginny is possessed by Tom Riddle’s diary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
When Harry, Ron, and Hermione discuss which is the most important Hallow, they each choose a different one. What does this tell us about them?
Why does Wormtail’s silver hand cause his death when Harry reminds him that he spared his life? Compare Wormtail’s death to Dobby’s death while saving Harry and his friends.
Why does Harry insist on digging Dobby’s grave himself without using magic? Discuss what Griphook means when he tells Harry he is “an unusual wizard.”
When Harry reaches Hogwarts, he doesn’t want to involve the other students until Hermione tells him, “You don’t have to do everything alone.” Compare Harry’s response to Tom Riddle who confided in no one and worked alone.
What is the most important thing Harry learned from Severus Snape’s memories? Why was it important for Snape to share them with Harry? By using the Pensieve, Harry discovered Snape’s love for Lily Potter and the truth about Snape’s relationships with Voldemort and Dumbledore. What does the epilogue reveal about Harry’s final judgement of Snape?
Harry gets confused between real events and his imagination, but Dumbledore tells him, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” Could this be used as a comment on fiction in general? How real does the world of Harry Potter feel to you? What makes this series so believable?
What insights has Harry gained during his quest to destroy Voldemort in this book and throughout the series that makes him a real hero?
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew. – Goodreads synopsis
I had heard nothing but great things about The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and so I bought the book with every intention of reading it soon after I got it home. As with many of the books I’ve bought before I joined the #ShelfLove challenge, it sat on the shelf for a couple of years. Then I read The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. Reviews frequently suggested that anyone who enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry would love this book too. I loved The Readers of Broken Wheel, and so it wasn’t long before I finally took The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry off the shelf.
Like The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, I couldn’t put this book down. Both stories involve a bookstore and an unexpected death, and both are mostly light-hearted, feel-good reads. However, you can’t read one and say you’ve read the other because that’s where the similarities end. The closest story to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry I’ve come across is the movie Jersey Girl, at least superficially. Regardless of its similarities to other stories, it’s well worth the short time it takes to read it.
I will be adding this book to my list of go-to comfort reads along with The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. If life is getting you down, or you just need to relax into a book that isn’t too heavy but isn’t pure brain candy either, then I recommend The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. – Goodreads synopsis
I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a book I couldn’t put down once I started reading. The opening pages hooked me by making me wonder what I would do if I found myself stranded in a small town in another country. Then I wondered what I would do if I found out that not only was I in a strange place but the person I was visiting but had never met before had passed away shortly before my arrival. The more I thought about it I saw just how possible Sara’s situation was, especially considering I talk to people I’ve never met every day, and some of them live in countries I’ve never been. The more I develop these global friendships, the more I can see how maybe someday I or they would take the opportunity to get on a plane to meet up in person. I’ve traveled around the world my entire life, so why not?
The rest of the story is full of familiar faces. Having lived in an extremely small town in Wisconsin at one point in my life, I recognized each of the characters living in Broken Wheel. That’s not to say they were 2D stock characters out of a sitcom. There was more to each of them than the stereotypes they represent at the beginning of the story. What I am saying is that anyone familiar with Small Town America will find the book to be comforting. While complex issues are well represented throughout the story, they’re brought up in a way that isn’t jarring or unsettling the way that Literary or Speculative Fiction can be. The author tells a somewhat light-hearted story while at the same time showing that there is diversity in even the smallest of towns, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first glance.
I can easily see The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend being adapted to film. I don’t know how I feel about that, though, simply because I think Hollywood would beat it into the shape of a Rom Com and end up losing a lot of what makes this book so enjoyable. However, it’s worth reading, especially if you loved The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin or if you just need a comfort read to relax into on a snowy or rainy day. I will be adding this to my go-to books for when life gets to be too much.
This, unfortunately, will be my last Lit-Cube unboxing for awhile, at least until I’ve got a full-time job. As soon as I’m working full-time, though, I’ll be using my new lunch bag 🙂
Exclusive “A good book, a close friend, and an impromptu picnic. What could be better?” Insulated Lunch Bag – valued at $11.99
Nourish Snacks Gluten and Dairy Free, Non-GMO, Vegetarian “Miss Popular” Dark Chocolate Half-Popped Corn Kernels – valued at $1.99
Stationary Set – valued at $10.99
“Bonafide Bibliophile” Lit-Cube Pen – valued at $2.00
Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison – valued at $15.99
I don’t know if I’ll like this month’s book selection, but it looks like the perfect Summer read, so I’ll hold onto it at least until then. The Nourish Snacks look delicious, and I love half-popped popcorn kernels, so I’m looking forward to trying them. Though I’ve already got a million pens, I realized I don’t have any book-related writing tools…until now, and what’s even better? Like the lunch bag, it’s purple, my favorite color! One thing I’m not so happy about is that there wasn’t any additional book swag or QR codes for free ebooks like there was in the past two boxes, but overall it’s still more than worth the subscription cost.
February’s theme is “Classic Romance,” and there are still four days left to order. If only I had the money…
Total # of books for the year: 6. This week has been busy. I’ve been doing a lot of running home from my part-time job to quickly change into interview clothes, and then do the same thing in reverse soon after the interview (my part-time job is two hours each day during the week; one in the morning and one in the afternoon). I don’t even know how many resumes, cover letters, and job applications I’ve submitted, and I’ve spent more time talking on my phone than I have for the past several months combined. I’m happy that things are moving along a lot more quickly than earlier this month, but I’m also ready for it to be over with already so I can finally be bringing home a full-time paycheck. Even with all the busyness, though, I’ve been doing my best to set aside at least one hour every night to read before I go to bed.
Litha over at Victorian Soul Book Critiques is hosting the Feel the Paper Love February reading challenge! I’m joining in because if there is any section of my TBR mountain I need to concentrate on, it’s clearing some space on my physical bookshelves. As most, if not all of you know by now, I live in a small apartment with the Boyfriend, and between the both of us and our book collections, there just isn’t enough space to display all of the books we own. At least half of my books are in storage, and the ones I’ve never read are residing in a floor to ceiling bookcase that, to put it frankly, is overstuffed. I’ve lost count since the last time I updated my Goodreads shelves and have since added more, but there are at least 150 physical books I have never read.
The rules are simple: participants have to either read nothing but physical books -or- set a goal number of physical books to read during the month of February.
I’m going with the first option. I don’t know how many books I’ll get through, or even which books I’ll read, but they’ll all be sniffable 🙂
Are you participating in the Feel the Paper Love February challenge?
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Eva McRayne was sure that Greek mythology was just that: a myth. Fairy tales told to children who loved a good adventure story.Yet, when she encounters a Sibyl desperate to free herself from the chains binding her to Apollo, Eva realizes that the fairy tales are more than fantasy. – Goodreads synopsis
I think The Sibyl has the potential to be a better story than it is currently, especially since it is the first book of a series that is already five books long. While I enjoyed it, it is in serious need of an editor, and I’m not talking about simple proofreading. While I can forgive, up to a certain point, spelling and grammatical errors, I had difficulty letting go of the stilted and often cliched dialogue as well as the stock 2D characters.
Again, overall, I enjoyed The Sibyl. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I liked or disliked its cheese factor (for example, one of the characters has a cellphone app to talk to a Greek god). However, I ultimately decided that, given some of the pieces of brain candy I happen to love, I could take this story for what it is.
With that being said, I probably shouldn’t have read this during the Winter. The Sibyl is more of a beach or Summer read, and I likely would have enjoyed it more during that time of year when I don’t want to think too much or take anything seriously. It’s also an excellent choice for reading while on the elliptical or stationary bike.
As with the majority of the Outlander books, I bought my copy of A Breath of Snow and Ashes from a used bookstore. I would have bought them brand new, but after buying both the second and third books in the series as ebooks, I *had* to get the rest as quickly as possible to avoid any more middle of the night ebook purchases I couldn’t really afford. I wish I had looked more carefully at the hardcover edition of this book, though, because, as I was reading, I discovered the former owner enjoyed snacking while they read and didn’t care about using food covered fingers to turn the pages. Perhaps that’s an indication of how engrossing book #6 is?
With the exception of the first book, I flew through A Breath of Snow and Ashes much faster than any of the others, despite it being the longest of the series so far. So much happens, though! I couldn’t stop reading, regardless of the fact that I was in the middle of at least three other books. I carried it around with me everywhere, even though it’s a hefty hardcover, just in case I ever had a few minutes to spare. I despised anyone who dared to interrupt me while I was reading, and I talked the Boyfriend’s ear off every time something major would happen. I believe my gushing over this, and past, books is one of the reasons I had a bit of an Outlander Christmas, and while it doesn’t end in a cliffhanger, but with a lot of questions unanswered, as soon as I finished it, I started An Echo in the Bone.