Do you re-read books?

The seven Harry Potter books are probably the books that I have re-read the most over the years (the third and the fifth more than the others.) So much in fact, that only the other day I realized that my copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban is so battered that not a single page is now attached to the spine. You would say I don’t handle books with care, but I usually do. It’s just that I have read this more times than I can count, taken it more places than I can imagine (also, I am fairly certain it was not that great an edition anyway.)

It’s obvious that everyone reads books, their favourites most likely, more than once. But what I’ve always been curious about, is how people re-read. My favourite chapter from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, Prongs – I can quote the part from the Goblet of Fire where Voldemort returns (The thin man stepped out of the cauldron…) – and I can describe the Fountain of Magical Brethren in excruciating detail along with all the floors of St. Mungo’s Hospital. You get my point now… I re-read parts that I liked the first time I read them. Even if I sit and try to read the entire book again, cover to cover, I end up skimming over to the good parts. Also, I have noticed that re-reading doesn’t work, for me, with mysteries, thrillers and horror fiction. I have read a couple of Stephen King books more than once, but the effect of the books is almost entirely diluted during the second or third read.

I have also noticed that after re-reading a book (especially a review copy, or any book I’ve reviewed) I tend to change my opinion of it. It may be because I’m older or have read more books of that genre or just think differently now. I wonder if it’s okay to change the earlier review later, because I keep wanting to do that… Does this ever happen to you?

And which books do you re-read? Are there any books that you’ve read so many times that you could quote entire pages? Do you re-read cover to cover or only certain parts? When it comes to re-reading, which do you prefer: eBooks or paperbacks?

The Prince’s Tale is SO overrated

There. I said it, and I do think it is. I see how this goes against the planned Valentine’s Day strictly lovey-dovey posts, but this is one love story I certainly did NOT like. Finding out Snape’s ‘big secret’ was probably the worst part of reading the Deathly Hallows for me. Well, until the movie came out and I was made to watch the incredible Alan Rickman actually cry like a baby. Quick question Rowling, why did you have turn such an amazing, complex character into a soppy teenager? WHY!?

Let me take you back seven Hogwarts years. I loved Snape from the moment he was introduced, you know, ever since when Harry saw him in the Great Hall and his scar hurt. The malicious, badass Slytherin professor who does everything in his capacity to make Harry’s life miserable, and in spite of being described as greasy-haired and icky, is portrayed by Alan Rickman. What’s not to like?
Actually, it’s not the part where he turns out to be on Dumbledore’s side that bothers me. That’s one ‘twist’ we all sort of expected; I mean, you didn’t really think he fooled Dumbledore, did you? I wish it wasn’t because of love though, because a mushy love story just doesn’t fit in with such a badass character.
It’s funny how Snape suddenly goes from ‘an adult who bullied you, not to mention all your friends, for seven years’ to ‘a great man you ought to name your kids after’! And all because he had a crush he couldn’t quite get over.
Sure, he loved Lily. I bet Lucius loved Narcissa; doesn’t make either of them saints. Did everyone who read ‘The Prince’s Tale’ not read ‘Snape’s Worst Memory’? When James Potter was a troublemaker, Snape was a budding Death Eater. Did he not care about Lily when he turned into one? And when he told Voldemort about the prophecy? When he asked Voldemort to spare Lily and just kill her child? And in Hogwarts, after supposedly turning super-good, it wasn’t just Harry, whom he bullied. Snape tortured every person he set his eyes on who wasn’t a Slytherin.
Snape wasn’t evil, true. He stayed loyal to Dumbledore till the very end. But he was definitely not the hero he is made out to be. I mean, think about it, if it had turned out, that the prophecy was actually about Neville Longbottom, Snape would have switched loyalties in a heartbeat…

R.I.P. – The Warlock’s Hairy Heart by Beedle the Bard (by J. K. Rowling)

I have been reading less and less short stories lately (and not liking it at all.) So this is may be a day late, but I am participating after two weeks in Short Stories on Wednesday, a bookish meme hosted at Risa’s Bread Crumb Reads. (This is also a part of Peril of the Short Story for the R.I.P. Challenge – I suppose it fits the theme.)

My story this week is a wonderfully gruesome tale from J. K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and my favourite one of the five popular children’s fables of the Wizarding World. The Warlock’s Hairy Heart is a dark fairy-tale with a tragic ending, resembling a Brothers Grimm tale! In a way, the story has the strongest message.

A handsome and skilled young warlock, who has all the riches of the world, views love and vulnerability as a weakness. So he finds a way to escape it. The warlock uses Dark Magic to lock away his heart in a dungeon. But separating his heart from his body doesn’t make him more powerful like he wishes; instead he turns inhuman and is either despised or pitied by everyone else. The heart itself, locked away from its natural place, turns black and shrunken, covered with hair – like a beast. The savage heart seeks what it can never gain, a whole human heart. The warlock tries to correct his mistake, but it is too late by then. The warlock’s secret ultimately leads to his own destruction, along with a poor young girl who falls in love with him.

In his notes, Dumbledore aptly describes this story to handle “one of the greatest, and least acknowledged, temptations of magic: the quest for invulnerability.” By dividing what is clearly not meant to be divided (Body and heart. Rings a bell, doesn’t it? It’s similar to separating body and soul, and we all know where that gets you!) and by going against nature, the warlock loses his chance even for redemption.

This is the only story from the book that I found more fascinating than Dumbledore’s notes of it. I would have loved it so much more as a kid. I mean, what’s not to love about a bedtime story that can give you nightmares?


After spending a couple of days exploring the wizarding world of Pottermore, I ended up deleting the spur-of-the-moment squeakily excited post I had written when I first got in.

My wand is a pretty alder with phoenix core, ten and three quarter inches and slightly springy, my familiar is a black cat and I got sorted into Ravenclaw. I never really thought about which house I’d like to be sorted into, and let’s be honest here, I do have ‘wit beyond measure’, so I am perfectly content with the Sorting Hat’s choice.

Exploring the first book and reading J. K. Rowling’s wonderful additions to it brought back so many memories of when I first read Harry Potter. The story of how Petunia met Vernon, the history of the Hogwarts Express and so on; while exploring each key scene from each chapter you learn something new!

You also get to have your own Gringotts account, a trunk full of things you collect as you read on (it’s a wonder how many Chocolate Frog Cards are just lying around the castle) and you get to practice spells, duel and even brew potions.

When it comes to potion making, though, I am no Half-blood Prince. Every time I melt my cauldron or the contents spray all over the place, creating greenish fumes that don’t look particularly fragrant, I end up feeling like Neville Longbottom.

With spells, on the other hand, I’m pretty good. A little more practice and I’ll be off duelling!

And then there were seven…

September has been an incredibly bookish month. I started reading the classics, that I’d planned to read in August; I am done reading more than half of the 2011 Booker prize shortlist; I participated in some fun challenges and memes; I received books to review; I read many essays, short stories, and even poems (but more on that later!)

With my birthday right on the third day of the month, I got many wonderful books, without having to spend a single penny on them. And they just kept coming. Until today – and now there are seven. A huge thanks to all the generous gift-givers! Now I own seven books that I am desperate to read. I will have to wait till October to finally get to read all od them, though, considering that I’m supposed to study for my exams as we speak (not that we are speaking right now; but I’d rather write it and explain this than not write it at all.) These are seven of the most awesome gifts I have received in my nineteen years of existence.

One might say I am exaggerating the awesomeness. In which case, I would suggest one to look carefully at the photograph. Yes, that’s right; it says The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Followed by the red and green books, that are Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages. Which would mean I am actually understating the awesomeness, for I fear I might start acting like one of those crazy, squeaky fan-girls if I don’t. Enjoying J. K. Rowling all over again; now that’s something I’m definitely looking forward to. October is surely going to be a hell of a month!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) this morning and I was very excited about it like everybody else! I wish I’d written a post about it beforehand like everyone else, because then I would have had many great things to say.

I never liked the Harry Potter movies, because they were hardly ever like the books! Unlike most people I know, I find it very hard to judge a movie based on a book without comparing it to the book it is based on. It sounds crazy! Whenever I read a book, I play the scenes in my mind; well, I expect everyone does that. Why else would I watch the Harry Potter movies when I already know what’s going to happen – certainly not for the absolutely amazing cast. It’s as if they want to remove all the very essential parts of the book to replace them with unnecessary, cheesy and sometimes comical (the one where Harry and Hermione dance) scenes. Still. I loyally go watch the movies every time and they don’t once fail to disappoint me.

The first half of the movie really made me wonder if it was going to be different this time! The story line was almost maintained and there were no weird special effects (except for the Imperius Curse. Why- no, how- was that necessary?) It’s shocking how much bad they can do in about the last half hour of the movie!! In the second half – the movie went from ‘almost awesome’ to ‘ridiculous’ – well, at least for me.
Ralph Fiennes was an expected disaster, Alan Rickman, an unexpected one, and did I mention there was a bit too much action? And don’t even tell me there were some really great scenes. It’s Harry Potter, for god’s sake. They aren’t exactly doing us a favour by giving us “some” good scenes!

I’ll always hate that Harry Potter had to end. What I hate now is that it had to end this way.

Book Blogger Hop

My first time at Book Blogger Hop – It is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don’t have time to Hop today, you can join the fun later! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added!

This week’s question:

“If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?”

Hogsmeade Village – Harry Potter!

I had a hard time choosing between the Discworld and the Wizarding world – but there’s hardly anything more tempting than Honeydukes.
I’d love to visit and meet everyone in Hogsmeade (except Madam Pudifoot’s of course), and you can always just sneak into Hogwarts from there.

Nargles, Wrackspurts and Blibbering Humdingers.

When you think about your favourite novel, where do you really start? There are so many books that can be called memorable, that make you nostalgic of the time when you loved them. There are so many books that you’ll love even years later only because you loved them years ago. I remember when I was a kid and there was nothing more imaginative and creative than Enid Blyton’s stories. I also remember the countless Famous Fives and Five Find-Outers that I read. Back then, I couldn’t have imagined better books.

It’s hard to pick the most memorable book. Right from my childhood favourite, A Book of Brownies by Enid Blyton, to the books I read in my ‘I-Worship-Ayn-Rand’ phase, to the book I last read, Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter; it can be any of these! And it’s also hard to pick my oldest, most favourite book. But it’s only hard; not impossible.
Harry Potter. Yes, I am treating it like one whole book, one whole story. There’s nothing I have read, till date, that is more amazing, and more memorable than this book. It’s a classic, or it will be. If I think about it, some of my best memories are about this book or because of this book or even while reading this book.
I can think of a hundred reasons why I love this book, and they are all so obvious! It’s interesting, it’s fun, but more than anything – it’s different. Don’t tell me it’s not; don’t tell me it’s a copy of some book, don’t tell me Dumbledore’s exactly like Gandalf, only Gandalf’s better. That’s not why I call it different. No, I’ve read a lot of fantasy. But Harry Potter is realistic. It is believable. It’s an alternate world, yes, but it is not some outrageously different world. It’s actually pretty much like our own world, with magic in it. I think that makes it much, much better than most of the fantasy books I have read. There is an explanation for everything. It’s funny! Take mountaineering accidents, for example; who knew they were actually giants attacking people?! (Book 5 – Hagrid’s Tale). It makes you wonder if such things actually exist: not actually wonder, just consider the possibility. The feeling of “who knows?!”, that’s what I love the most about this book.
And there’s the way she writes, the quick wit, the stereotypical characters that you’ll find in every “Muggle” school as well (every class has a Hermione, a Luna, and an irritating pair of Lavender and Parvati), the adventure, the mystery, the way every piece fits – how all the books are interconnected, it seems as though she thought of all seven books together; it’s one whole story with seven books as seven chapters and Quidditch – who can think of anything more wonderful than Quidditch! Like I said, there are a hundred reasons.
So, when I say my favourite book is Harry Potter I think of reading the first book and falling hopelessly in love with it; endlessly talking about the books in school; the amazing Harry Potter quizzes and games and competitions; saying Lumos to put on lights(everyone does that!) or muttering Silencio when someone just won’t stop talking; waiting for the next book to release and dying to be the first one to read it so I could tell my friends the suspense; discussing what house we’d be in at Hogwarts; sitting in a boring Chemistry class wondering how helpful a Nosebleed Nougat would be right then; wishing I had Extendable Ears during vivas; forcing my father to read the book and seeing him get as hooked on it as me! I think many, many of the funnest moments in my life wouldn’t have happened if this book wasn’t there!
If you haven’t read/don’t like Harry Potter, I have to say, you are really missing out on a lot.

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