I’m Re-Reading Harry Potter. And I am having Feelings.

Guys. I’ve started re-reading the Harry Potter series. I’m probably going to just do one Big Harry Potter post, but I thought I should let you know it’s happening and it’s great. And feeling full. Realizing that it’s been nearly twenty years (!) since I last read the series, I figured I could rely on my terrible memory having forgotten most of the books, and – happy days! – it has! I’m midway into Chamber of Secrets now and the whole thing is a revelation. I probably should have waited until R. is old enough to enjoy reading them together, but let’s be real, if I read them to him again in eight years or nine years I’ll have forgotten all over again. Except maybe there’s a particular Feeling to be had of reading books to your kid that you remember loving. We’re still firmly fixed on picture books that I decidedly do not remember reading as a toddler, but I guess there is a particular joy in reading him books I do recall (we’re deep into Peter Rabbit world right now, and if you haven’t read Peter Rabbit lately let me spoil some things for you: a lot of things get shot, eaten and dismembered in ways that R. does not seem *at all* troubled by and his indifference is A Little Alarming). I DIGRESS.

So for now the re-reading is kind of magical (hardy har). Remembering (or trying to) where I was when I read them for the first time, the conversations with S. J. and J. about the new books coming out (or maybe that was just dressing up for the movie?). Which is to say, I’m sure much of my enjoyment this time around is fuelled by nostalgia and not… literary merit. WHICH IS NOT TO SAY THEY AREN’T GOOD. Dial down your outrage and your temptation to light up the comments section (as if that’s ever happened). They are definitely propulsive and well-imagined and the simple moral is satisfying in a world that seems so obviously Good and Evil today, too.

So yeah, I’ll give you one Big Review when I finish all seven (maybe? Or maybe throughout? I don’t know), but for now I’ll just ask you for your First Harry Potter Reading memory: when did you read it? Have you returned to the books since? Is it all clouded by the movies?

Yours in Potter-dom.

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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls: Abandon.

Anissa Gray’s first novel (only novel?) The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls was not for me. It bored me. The characters bored me, the plot bored me, the whole thing – so I stopped reading halfway through it. Maybe if I committed more time it would get better, but there is too much to read. Continue reading

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Filed under Book I'll Forget I Read, Fiction, Worst Books

What is Left the Daughter: In which I only realize I read the book before after writing this review and the two reviews are… not the same.

BIG NEWS. First time ever, but I wrote this review and when I was typing in the ‘tags’ realized that I READ IT BEFORE. And REVIEWED IT BEFORE. And I had NO MEMORY AT ALL that I’d ever encountered the book before! AH! My brain! Anyway, When I read this (in 2011) I was ambivalent. Almost ten years later (let’s grant that the intervening decade may be why I don’t recall it At. All.?) I am less easily swayed. If you want to read the earlier review you can find it here. I will say that 2011 Erin was far more impressed by detail. And actually thought this was a book I’d ‘keep thinking about’ LOL.

And now… the review I wrote before I realized I’d reviewed it before!

It shouldn’t be so boring. What is Left the Daughter opens with a dramatic love triangle that renders protagonist Wyatt Hillier an orphan. It has the drama of U-boats and the war and murder! But then it also has tedious descriptions of scones and gramophone recordings and definitions of words.

Ostensibly told as a series of letters from father to daughter (though what letter would ever include Such Outrageous Detail I don’t know) the novel follows the life of Wyatt as he comes to Middle Economy, Nova Scotia, and becomes a… wait. Try to imagine the most boring job you can imagine. Did you guess toboggan and sled maker? You’re right – that falls outside the scope of imagination for most boring, but there it is, all true. He falls in love, but the woman of his affection loves another man. A *gasp* German man amid WWII Nova Scotia. Drama-drama, family-drama. Except… no real drama. Just agonizing mundane exhaustion.

So yeah. I would have stopped reading this one, but I kept thinking it was going to get better. It doesn’t. Don’t. Bother.

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Filed under Canadian Literature, Fiction, Historical Fiction, National Book Award, Worst Books

The Imperfectionists: The Death of Newspapers and Other Stories of Doom

Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists is either a series of tightly connected short stories, or a novel with very distinct voices and plots in each chapter, but whatever its exact form, it follows the staff of a declining international newspaper through the decline and inevitable fall of their paper (and the industry). Continue reading

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Filed under Canadian Literature, Fiction, Prize Winner