J is for…

My 2015 A to Z Challenge Theme is Quotes & Lines from Literature. Each day I will be posting a favorite quote or a few lines from well known short stories, poems or novels, with the letter of the first name as the A to Z. I’ll have a short write up with each quote, but each quote can also serve as a writing prompt for readers or myself.  I may write a poem or flash fiction based on that quote, or just throw it out there as inspiration. Hopefully you’ll join me in this adventure! I’ll try to include some of my favorite blog finds as I move through the challenge as well.

I couldn’t resist having a Harry Potter Quote.  The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling are some of my all time favorite books.  My H post for last year was about my love for Harry Potter, and like many I have so many good memories of the times when the new books (and then movies) were being released.  *wistful sigh* 

This quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is just so beautiful, but also so eye opening for her readers about the character of Snape.  I love how Rowling worked in this whole side to a character we thought we knew. With the revelations in this book, we see the depth and previously hidden interior of a character.

I have seen it said that to be a better writer, you need to be a better reader. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books for the pure joy of reading them, of course, but also as a writer examining Rowling’s craft. I read an article “Five Writing Tips From Reading Harry Potter” a few years ago, and have read others since, with examples of Rowling’s skills at plotting, world building and character development. 

But of course her books are more than a class on good writing. They are about courage, friendship and love. 

What is a favorite Harry Potter scene of yours? A favorite line? What did Harry Potter mean to you? Let me know in the comments😀

Then I will see you on Monday for K.

Have a nice weekend! 

Harry Potter

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H is for Harry Potter. I am a total Potterhead. I love the books. I love the movies. I love the characters. I love the world.

I really wanna go to Hogwarts. I want to be a clever witch like Hermione and not a muggle. I want to learn apparition so I don’t have my long commute to work. I would love to say ‘Accio car keys’ and have my keys fly across the room to me. I want to go to Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley and have a wand choose me. I want to fly on a broom and go to a Quiddich match – preferably if Oliver Wood is playing. (One of my favorite Harry Potter memes by the way says, “There are two types of people. Those who had an instant crush on Oliver Wood …and liars.” I would argue the accent had a lot to do with that. #accentjunkie).

Seriously speaking though, like many, Harry Potter has been very tied up in an important time of my life. For many kids it was their childhood. But for me, it was my young adulthood.

I was introduced to the world of Harry Potter by accident. Back before I was married and had kids, I used to see a lot of movies with my mom and sister. Almost ever week we would go see a movie. One weekend we didn’t see anything else interesting so why not check out that Harry Potter movie? Sure it was a kids movie, but hey why not? It was the Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (2001). Being a reader, I had to check out the book, of course. And so it began.

I loved the book and all the other ones that came along later. My sister threw me a Harry Potter themed birthday party for my next birthday. I was 27. And dating the man I eventually married. He’s a good man who has always been very understanding of my silly Fangirling. He even went with me and my sister to a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where I was in full geek out mode (though none of us dressed up). He patiently listened to me emote over how the books are always better.

As time passed and our lives changed, new books and movies came out and frequently alongside other big moments in our life.

I remember sitting in the big, red rocker recliner by the French doors -where I was nursing and rocking my oldest son – reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for the first time. My husband and mother-in-law had gotten me the book and I was binge reading it. I remember setting the book aside, rocking my son, and weeping for the loss of Dumbledore.

I was on bedrest during my twin pregnancy when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. Again my husband and mother in law sought it out for me knowing I would want to read it. It was bittersweet to see the series end. What new release would I eagerly await now? It made it a little easier that the movies hadn’t wrapped yet, but not much.

I have seen and collected all the movies on DVD over the years. Summer before last my niece had ‘Watch all Harry Potter movies in one day” on her summer bucket list, so who better than Aunt CJ to help fulfill that item? I only get partial credit for the marathon viewing because I was working from home through the first two movies and only listened to them. We didn’t quite make all in one day, more like a day and a half. It’s like 19 hours of movie watching!! But it was pretty awesome. 🙂

I have all the books in hardcover because I have to read them all over again every so often. I have them on proud display in the bookshelf and if someone asked me why, I would have to ask them why they don’t. 😉 The picture at the bottom of this post is my bookshelf actually missing a book because I’ve lent out the first book.

My mom is trying to read them all before her trip to London with my sister (in less than a month!) where they will be doing a Harry Potter tour, among many other amazing things. I am ridiculously jealous of London, for one thing, but the Harry Potter tour, most assuredly, for another.

But even though I can’t go be in the great hall or see all the great things from filming, I remind myself of JK Rowling’s comforting reminder at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II premiere.

Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

Thank you JK Rowling for that. I will always be a Harry Potter fan.

Always.

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Hey Mom, You Should Read This

My super smart, super wonderful 8 year old son (and no, I am not at all biased! 🙂 ) gave me his first serious book recommendation this week. At the time, I was tired, and more than a little overwhelmed with all the STUFF there is to get accomplished and to worry about, so I’ll be honest, at first, I didn’t really give a lot of thought to what that meant to me. But I have thought about it since and decided it was worth a middle of the week bonus blog post to share.

My husband and I are both serious readers. As a writer, it’s an essential job tool, but it is also simply one of my absolute favorite things. For as long as I can remember I have loved to read, so I have always tried to pass along this lifelong love of reading to my three young sons.

Their dad and I have tried to make it a point to always let the boys see us reading. I even make an effort to check out actual books from the library or buy real books at the book store instead of reading all books on my Kindle. My kids are smart enough to know that mommy may be looking at pictures of Tom Hiddleston instead of reading a book on her Kindle. (Don’t you judge me. 😉 ) But also, going to the library for books and buying books at the bookstore are part of the joy for me.

We’ve also always read to them, both for school and just as part of bedtime. When they were babies I remember reading something that said it didn’t matter what you read to your kids, it could even be the sports page, as long as you were reading to them, it would benefit them. I proceeded to read them all the Harry Potter books before they were able to walk. I’m certain this benefitted them greatly.

Here’s what happened that made me realize that I must be doing something right.

My family made a special adventure to the ginormous Half Price Books flagship store in Dallas. The place is seriously really huge and packed full of wonderful goodness. While we were there, we gave the boys a limit on how many books they could get and then did our best to manage the giddy excitement of finding new books.

For my twins, who are 6, this meant superhero books mostly. My oldest twin thoughtfully picked up a Thor book with Loki in it for mommy. He’s a sweet kid.

My oldest’s priority was sports books, specifically football, but then he wanted to look at chapter books. While looking, he found the section with graphic novels. He then became very excited and wanted to find this “awesome” book he’d read at school.

I am not sure if this was through the school library or in the classroom possibly, but he had read Zita The Space Girl. Seeing all the books like the one he wanted, he decided we had to get it.

So the search began.

Thanks to the greatness that is having all answers readily available on a trusty iPhone, I was able to find the author’s name (Ben Hatke) and begin looking for the book. The Half Price Books’ employee was very kind but had not heard of the book, so we did our own search, and -miracle of miracles- found the one copy they had in stock!

The book went home with us (along with many others) and my son read it the next day. He then had my husband read it. He then repeatedly told me I needed to read it, going so far as to set it alongside my other books piled up on the nightstand by the bed. Then, and I am not exaggerating here, actually nudged me with the thing while we were all piled in bed watching TV. Evidently I was not reading it as soon as I should.

So after the kids went to bed, I kept my promise and read the book.

I will admit here that I was not excited. I haven’t paid much attention to graphic novels. I told myself, though, that I would at least start taking a look at it.

It turned out though that my son was right. The book is awesome. The pictures are engaging and lovely. The characters are well defined and interesting. And it left me wanting more.

The next day, driving to work, I started thinking about it all. I thought how cool it was that my son cared enough about a book he read to seek it out and them to recommend it to others.

Isn’t that what I want? I have a child who was passionate about something that means a lot to me – a book – and then shared that with me. What an amazing gift.

I am thankful I opened my eyes to see it.