Exploring My Bookshelves, #5: Books for My Kids

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Exploring My Bookshelves is an original meme hosted by Addlepates and Book Nerds. This is a fun little meme that gives me a chance to share with you the amazing books I have on my shelves. If you do your own post, please feel free to leave a link in the comments and I’ll visit you back.

This week’s topic is books you want to keep for your kids (or have kept). Now when I was a little girl, I never had the benefit of having a family member who liked to read, so I sort of discovered books and storytelling on my own. I do have nephews and a niece who I’m very close to and I always let them know how great reading is. The oldest, who is ten, is just about ready for Harry Potter. I’ve been telling him for years that I want him to read the first book and last year he gave me permission to gift it to him this Christmas. Seriously, he gave me permission. And if I ever have children, Harry Potter is a definite must for us. I’d love to read the series to my kid.

What about you? What book/series would you share with your kids? Or what are some of your favorite books that you have shared with your children? Did they love them as much as you?

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, #4

Somewhere in a dilapidated house, Lord Voldemort is plotting his return. Having barely survived the attack on the young Harry Potter, the Dark Lord has spent the last thirteen years waiting for an opportunity to rise again.

Something is stirring in the wizarding world when the Quidditch World Cup’s celebration is interrupted by Death Eaters, those who supported Voldemort during his former reign. Everyone wants to believe their appearance is inconsequential.

Harry Potter is returning for his fourth year to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where many surprises await. For the first time in many generations, Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament, a competition between three wizarding schools in which a student is selected from each from the Goblet of Fire. When Harry finds himself selected as a fourth competitor, he has no choice but to compete. But the tasks are not easy and Harry begins to realize that whoever entered him may want him dead.

“Harry felt as though a hook just behind his navel had been suddenly jerked irresistibly forward. His feet left the ground; he could feel Ron and Hermione on either side of him, their shoulders banging into his; they were all speeding forward in a howl of wind and swirling color…”

First of all, I need to remark on how long this book is. Gracious, 734 pages! This book is monstrous! J.K. Rowling might have taken her previous book in the series to a dark place, but it was nothing compared to the emotional turmoil of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I almost feel like the first three books were about Harry, Ron, and Hermione playacting and it is very easy to dismiss their heroics as luck. By the end of this fourth book, those school day adventures seem so small when compared to the threat of Voldemort. He is real, he is evil, and the fact that Harry is only a child matters little.

The Goblet of Fire also deals with shifting relationships (my babies are growing up so fast!). For the first time we see how Ron feels about the continued popularity of his best friend Harry and how this, coupled with years of being overshadowed by his many brothers, sometimes make his role as best friend to the-boy-who-lived difficult. The contention between Harry and Ron is really the first time these two have not seen eye-to-eye. Without a real family, the closest thing Harry has is Ron and this fight really exemplifies how much these two mean to one another.

I loved revisiting the slightly-crazy Mad-Eye Moody, the very pushy Rita Skeeter, and hearing “Dumbly-dorr” and “Herm-own-ninny” put a huge smile on my face. I think I may be falling more in love with these books with this reread.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter, #3

When Harry accidentally (though deservedly) blows up his aunt, he’s sure he is going to be expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To Harry’s surprise, the Minister of Magic dismisses his offense, but something has him and even Mr. Weasley worried. While on the train to Hogwarts, Harry learns his school will have new occupants: the dementors, the eerie guards of the wizard prison Azkaban.

Harry discovers that one of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named most loyal followers, Sirius Black, has escaped from Azkaban with the express purpose of hunting Harry down. With peril at every turn, Harry and his friends’ school year is more dangerous than ever before.

“As though the creature beneath the cloak sensed Harry’s gaze, the hand suddenly withdrawn into the folds of its black cloak.

And then the thing beneath the hood, whatever it was, drew a long, slow, rattling breath, as though it were trying to suck something more than air from its surroundings.”

Most people consider J.K. Rowling’s third installment in her series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, to be the book that diverts the series onto a darker path. And although the previous books had some dark elements, I tend to agree with this assessment. Harry’s journey is bred out of tragedy and this is the first book that really acknowledges this fact. The dementors, with their ability to drain the happiness from those in their presence, have a distressing effect on Harry, causing him to relive the last moments of his parents’ murder. As events play out, readers get a different glimpse at its protagonist: Harry becomes vengeful and is tempted to give in to his anger, regardless of the consequences.

The Prisoner of Azkaban introduces another one of my favorite Harry Potter characters: Remus Lupin. He is by far my favorite professor and acts as a foil to another Hogwarts professor, Severus Snape. I’m starting to notice how much Rowling loves contrasting characters. While Snape is spiteful and bias, Lupin is kind and inviting. Once again, Ron and Hermione, both steal my heart. These kids are wonderfully flawed: Hermione, though a bit of a tattle-tale, has such a big heart and Ron, extremely stubborn, is probably the most loyal friend in the series.

I’m going to be taking a little break from Harry Potter, but rereading this series has simply made me appreciate its brilliance even more.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

Book Haul: December Gifts

Book Haul (1)The end of the year is upon us and I for one feel that this year has gone by very fast. I’ve noticed that my book hauls have diminished in size as the year has gone on. It’s actually the result of my attempt to be a more practical book buyer. Sometimes I want to read a book, see it for sale and want to buy it without considering whether I really want to own it at all. The library and I have been more intimate as of late because of this and I find I don’t feel like I might be running the risk of wasting money. Of course there are still those books that I must own, whether they are part of series I own or new ones. It’s all a process and I hope I can reach the level of practicality to resist to buy books whenever I get the urge.

This month I’ve added three new books I bought myself:

1. bookdeceThe Falconer by Elizabeth May. I read this earlier in the year and really enjoyed it, so I bought it used. You can read my review here if you are interested.

2. The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

3. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. You guys, this book cover is just as gorgeous as These Broken Stars.
I was fortunate to get many gift cards this Christmas which I plan on spending on book releases for next year, but I also received two complete sets of books:

4. Harry Potter: The Complete Collection, Bloomsbury, in paperback by J.K. Rowling. Click on the images below to get a better look at these marvelous illustrations. They are too beautiful for words.

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I was also the recipient of these lovely books:
5. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Deluxe Pocket Boxed Set by J.R.R. Tolkien

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So there’s my book haul for the month of December. What books did you receive/buy this month?

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