I thought November would not be a very well-read month for me, as I had the last few weeks of the first semester of my senior year and the Thanksgiving break. But I was surprised with myself- I read eight books and 3,639 pages. I think I read to keep my mind sane through this month's busyness.
I will give a disclaimer: nearly all of the books I read this month was Harry Potter or related to the series. I know She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is an awful person- you might even say a garbage fire of a woman- but I am separating her from her art to experience a massive part of my childhood again. I got the books secondhand from someone, so no money went into her bank account.
As always, I've linked all of the books to my favorite local independent bookstore- shop local, especially this time of year! As I've mentioned before, books make the best holiday gifts! Just click on the images of the books to take you to the Bookmarks NC website- happy reading!
Tom Felton: Beyond The Wand, by Tom Felton - 8/10
This autobiography was so fun to read! I am a longtime lover of Harry Potter (as you will see later this month) and when I saw that Tom Felton had just released a memoir, I had to pick it up at the bookstore. Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, a school bully at Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter movies, details his early childhood, his experiences before, during, and after his time on the Harry Potter set, his relationship and opinion of his fellow castmates, and a very honest, raw chapter about alcoholism and addiction and how he clawed his way out of it. I’ve been trying to read more nonfiction lately and I’ve really enjoyed these memoirs of popular actors I’ve loved. I want to read Alan Rickman’s diaries and Matthew Perry’s memoir next month!
November 9, by Colleen Hoover - 9/10
As always, I tore through this book in under two days. Something about Colleen Hoover will always have that effect on me, I suspect. I really enjoyed this book, though not as much as I loved It Ends With Us and It Starts With Us. This book was a little different, as it was set over the course of five years, each detailing the events of November 9th because two people have agreed to meet every year on that date, not to be in a romantic relationship but to catch up on each other's lives...well, you can kind of guess that the "no romance" pact went slightly askew almost immediately. There are several really big plot twists in this book all contributing to a book that kept me on the edge of my seat!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by JK Rowling- 7/10
After reading Tom Felton's book, I knew I wanted to dive back into the Harry Potter series- I read them about two years ago for the first time since my childhood and I was amazed at how many minor details I had either forgotten or missed since the last time I read them. For me, reading on paper really does make a difference in how I retain knowledge.
I loved this first book, because it's just so homey- even though the villain is involved, so much of the book is bright and fun and focused on Harry's integration into a magical world he didn't know he was a part of. It's really sweet.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by JK Rowling- 6.5/10
Of the Harry Potter books, I find myself not liking this story the most. That doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting- I just find that around book 3, the plot gets a bit more dynamic. I loved the introduction of Ginny in these books, and Professor Lockhart is even more smarmy in the books than he was in the film. I really do love this series, I’ve just loved other books in the series more than this one.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by JK Rowling-9/10
This is my favorite of the books so far. I just think it’s so brilliantly written, and there’s a lot in the book that I’d forgotten about because the movie doesn’t touch on them, like the fact that Crookshanks, Hermione’s cat, was a much more dynamic part of the plot, and how he communicated with Sirius Black when he was in dog form. I think that the relationships between different characters are really solidified here. I also just freaking love Buckbeak, so I was so excited to get to the scenes with him in them. The character descriptions in this book are also on point. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin are two of my favorite characters in this series, and I loved their introductions, since they both go on to play such big roles in the future books.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling- 7/10
This is the book where the shit really starts to hit the fan. It’s so complex, and I’m not sure I can forgive Warner Brothers for leaving out so many critical aspects of the storyline in the movie. Sirius being in Hogsmeade , Hermione’s involvement in elf liberation, and Rita Skeeter being an unregistered animagus would have brought so much to that film. I did like the addition of Ludo Bagman- I don’t think he makes an appearance in the movie at all. Overall, I think this is the book where Harry really starts to accept how in danger he is all the time.
One minor complaint- I know it was the catalyst for the book, but I think it's kind of stupid that when Harry's name came out of the goblet of fire as an underage wizard, he wasn't allowed to not participate, especially since he didn't put his name in to begin with and the goblet was only supposed to spit out three names. He was only 14! I thought it was so weird that because of some unexplained "wizard law", he had to compete in a deadly competition he didn't sign up for. (I just knocked a star because the more I wrote about it, the more ridiculous the whole thing felt to me.)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by JK Rowling-8/10
SIRIUS BLACK DESERVED BETTER. I’ll scream that to the heavens until the day I die. But this book is brilliant. I love the storyline, and I love how much I hate Professor Umbridge. She’s just foul and I hate her but it’s a sign of good writing that I felt that way about a character. I love the DA, and you can really see Harry falling apart a little throughout the book. I also think this did an awesome job of showing the tension that Harry feels toward Dumbledore throughout the book. Harry’s grieving over Sirius hurt me on a physical level. These books keep getting darker and more vulnerable and I love it.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by JK Rowling-8/10
This was another good one- I really loved seeing Harry’s relationship with Ginny develop, because in the movie, you don’t get to. Ginny is such an awesome character and I love seeing her shine in this book in particular. I also loved seeing Hermione and Ron fall in love, even if it was a lot of them being mad at each other. There are so many aspects to this book that it can be a little confusing at times, but I do love it. I have a love hate relationship with Slughorn because he’s so annoying but so awkward and he did like Harry. I’m of course, devastated by Dumbledore’s death, even though I knew it was coming. The book does such a good job of depicting it.
And there you have it! I hope to read a lot in December, but I also know that I'll be finishing the first draft of my novel (squeeee!!!! about 1.5k words short of 100k!)
Next week, look forward to a bookish gift guide for the bookworms in your life!