Tag: J.K.Rowling

Here Are Our Book Lovers Day Staff Picks!

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaku and His Years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami

 

 

Surrealism

“The themes of finding closure for unresolved personal negativities really resonated with me.” – Nate

 

The Space Between – Brenna Yovanoff

 

 

Fantasy

“This is a book about being deeply flawed, and how even as you’re trying to be better, it’s honest to let those things stay a part of you.” – Kali

 

 

The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle

 

 

Fantasy/Children’s

“It Reminds me that there’s magic in the world even if you can’t see it.” – Becky

 

The Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

 

Fantasy

“I enjoyed it.” – Richard

 

 

The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

 

 

Literary Fiction

“This is one of Hemingway’s most compelling books due to the religious themes and the focus on minority groups, at a time when prejudice in America was prevalent.” – Kyle

 

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 

Literary Fiction

“A good narrative that gives a view into the minds of the characters.” – Lexi

 

 

Gone – Michael Grant

 

 

Science Fiction

“It’s very entertaining and has a mystery you want to solve.” – Heather

 

Ties of Shooting Stars – Keigo Higashino

 

 

Detective

“The mystery keeps you guessing, and the build-up for the plot twist has a great payoff.” – Derek

 

 

The Thief Lord – Cornelia Funke

 

 

Children’s

“I found it really empowering as a child, with these kids taking care of themselves and fighting for good.” – Amy

 

The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

 

 

Fantasy

“I like Greek mythology, and the book’s funny, witty humor.” – Tim

 

 

Images via Amazon 

Featured image via Upslash 

5 of Literature’s Most Epic Pets

Everybody loves animals, even fictional ones. Whether they’re surviving fires or starting them, biting or putting up with the protagonists, or really good sports about villainous mistreatment, these animals are in it for the long haul. Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order.

 

1. Buttercup – The Hunger Games

 

cat orange GIF
Gif via Giphy

This cat’s been through a lot. Bombings, attempted murder, living underground. I’ve never even known a cat who could stand a closed door. Nothing impresses Buttercup. All he wants is to have his head pet and maybe some fresh entrails.

 

 

2. Drogon – Game of Thrones

 

Dracarys Drogon GIF - Dracarys Drogon GameOfThrones GIFs
Gif via Tenor

Who doesn’t want a dragon? Personally, I’d rather be able to breathe fire myself, but this is a close second. Our boy got LORGE. Plus, he survives the game of thrones. What’s not to like? I’d ask where my dragons are, but there’s no missing them.

 

 

3. Hedwig – Harry Potter

 

flying national geographic GIF by Nat Geo Wild
Gif via Giphy

She bite! Sure, Hedwig might not be the cuddliest of pets, but she can find anyone on the planet earth, and isn’t that worth more? Dignity, messengerial integrity, spots, she’s got it all. Plus, she survives longer than about half the human characters. Too soon? It’ll always be too soon.

 

 

4. Toto – The Wizard of Oz

 

dog show GIF by Westminster Kennel Club
Gif via Giphy

Have we left Kansas? Doesn’t bother her. Tornadoes, witches, Toto’s not afraid of anything. It’s also revealed in later books that Toto, like most animals in Oz, is capable of speech. She’s just not much of a talker. Still, her tendency to bite witches speaks loudly enough.

 

 

5. Max – How the Grinch Stole Christmas

 

how the grinch stole christmas film GIF by The Good Films
Gif via Giphy

Has any pet ever put up with more? From the indignity of having to wear just one large antler, to the logistical challenge of having to pull an entire sleigh, Max always does his best to make the Grinch happy. One hopes he got a large helping of roast beef for his trouble.

 

 

Featured image via CuriousWhale 

Top 10 Magical Harry Potter Tweets!

It’s J.K. Rowling’s birthday, and, since she’s THAT author, that means it’s also Harry Potter’s birthday! Not the series, the titular character. Since he’s our chosen one, well, I’m celebrating, you’re celebrating, everyone is celebrating! And some of us have taken a break from binging the Harry Potter movies or speed-reading through the series to Tweet ‘congrats’ to our favorite boy who used to live under the stairs.

So since we’ve looked away from our pages and our screens, let’s stare at the article on this screen and look through the Top Ten Best Harry Potter Tweets.

 

10.

 

9.

 

8.

With those two tweets, I think we can all agree that…

 

7.

 

6.

 

5.

Don’t fret if you didn’t get a letter to Hogwarts, because if you were there, you’d probably have some homework like this…

 

4.

 

3.

Not to bring the mood down, but if you want to ride the real-life Hogwarts Express that was used for the movies, then you can ride the West Highland Line. Seriously.

The West Highland Line was used for the movie. If you like it, recommend it to friends or become a member of The Friends of the West Highland Lines, a community group and media organization that seeks to direct funding toward service improvements and making sure the line stays running. If you want more information, check out our article on it here.

 

2.

Before we get to our final Harry Potter Tweet. Let’s take a moment to remember a star from Die Hard, a star from Prince of Thieves, a star all around, Harry Potter’s own Professor Snape: Alan Rickman.

 

1.

Do you think we’re going to have something as big as the VR mobile game Wizards Unite? Maybe it’s another Fantastic Beasts movie!

 

 

 

Featured image Via Bham Now

 

Five Magical Books to Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday!

This week, Bookstr has decided to give you a special treat! To celebrate both Harry Potter’s and J. K. Rowling’s birthdays, we have decided to give you the definitive list of the best, the coolest, the most magical, books with wizards, witches, magic, or all three!

So take out your wand and whip out your flaming sword, here’s are five books that have pages racked to the brim with spells-galore!

 

 

5. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

J R R Tolkien

Image Via Daily Express

 

The history of this trilogy doesn’t need to be reiterated, from Tolkien’s belief that fantasy isn’t just for children to Jackson’s monstrously huge trilogy to Amazon’s current ‘in-development’ prequel adaptation, but what does need to reiterated is how AWESOME this series is.

 

Gandalf

Image Via Medium

 

With two wizards to boot, plus an assortment of creatures from devilish orcs, angelic elves, grumpy dwarfs, rambunctious hobbits and a world filled with giant spiders and talking trees, this series has no shortage of magic and wizards that’ll keep you turning page after page.

Plus, check out The Hobbit. The book (not the movie trilogy) is great!

 

4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

What’s more magical than the Greeks Gods themselves?

 

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

Image Via Disney Publishing Worldwide

 

The first part of the Camp Half-Blood chronicles follows a teenage Percy Jackson who lives in the modern world. The twist? He’s a demigod, and he’s off to Camp Half-Blood.

Along the way, he discovers that not only are there other demigods like him out in the world, but he’s the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, earthquakes, and father of all horses. Does that make all the horses of the world his half-brothers?

 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Image Via Amazon

In addition, Percy also learns that his best friend is actually a satyr (a half-goat, half-man). With the first novel focusing on Percy uncovering a conspiracy against him, things couldn’t seem to heat up anymore.

But they do. As the series goes on, we get characters from Greek and Roman mythology, from Titans to Gods to demigods to pegasi and many more mythical creatures, this is a series that any magic fan wouldn’t want to miss.

Now if you plan to check out this series for the first time, just do yourself a favor and pretend the movie adaptation doesn’t exist.

 

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Image Via Amazon

Who forget these books? Every child this century reads at least one book (probably The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) from this series as a kid.

If you didn’t, you had no childhood worth acknowledging.

 

C S Lewis

Image Via Christianity Today

A contemporary and best frenemy of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis’s seven book series might have jumped around when it came to the timeline, but since the series has been done and over with since 1957 you can start at the creation of Narnia with The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.

What other series can boast that it goes through the history of an entire world, including it’s creation and destruction?

If this seems a tad overwhelming, don’t worry. With magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, Narnia is a fantastical realm, and the words on its pages ship you off to another realm the way the wardrobe and the paintings do the same to the characters.

 

2. The Worst Witch Series by Jill Murphy

The first 6 books in 'The Worst Witch' Series

Image Via theworstwitch.fandom.com

 

You might have heard of them, but The Worst Witch is a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Jill Murphy. First published in 1974 by Allison & Busby, the series focuses on Mildred Hubble, a young witch who attends Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, an all-female boarding school of magic.

 

The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star

Image Via Amazon

 

Well-intentioned but clumsy, Mildred often finds herself in disastrous situations, leading to her being labeled as the worst student in the school.

 

First Prize for Worst Witch

Image Via Scholastic Shop

 

Each book in the series focuses on each individual two-term school years. With eight books in the series published, the most recent published in 2018, these stories about finding your place in the world is relatable to those of all ages, even if they aren’t magically inclined.

 

 

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Did you seriously expect anything else?

 

J K Rowling

Image Via Mirror

 

Not only is it J.K. Rowling’s/Harry Potter’s birthday, but in addition to her many witches and wizards…

 

Dumbledore, Grinwald, and Voldemort

Image Via Humor Nation

Hogwarts students

Image Via Seventeen Magazine

…she’s got so many magical creatures in her books, it’s insane!

 

A creature from the Harry Potter World. Do you know which one?

Image Via IGN

 

Check out the list here for the most obscure ones. Or have you been drinking too much butterbeer?

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Forbes

Is The ‘Harry Potter’ Series Middle-Grade or YA?

It’s J K Rowling’s birthday, which means it’s also Harry Potter’s birthday (it’s canon!), so let’s talk about the series.

Specifically, let’s tackle this ongoing debate: Is the Harry Potter series Middle-Grade or YA?

 

JK Rowling

Image Via Daily Express

 

For those unaware, middle-grade fiction is fiction aimed at readers between the ages of eight and twelve whereas YA, or Young Adult, is fiction aimed to readers who are thirteen to eighteen. See? Simple enough.

 

 

Not so. There’s a lot more that goes into books than the ages of their readers, so we have to get specific here. Lucky for us, Master Class defines both middle-grade and YA fiction using these useful bullet points, so those will be our foundation:

The characteristics that middle-grade fiction tends to share are:

  • They contain no profanity or graphic violence.
  • Romance is limited to crushes and first kisses.
  • Protagonists are roughly between the ages of 10 and 13.
  • Middle-grade novels are typically between 30,000 and 50,000 words long and voiced in the third person.
  • Characters typically react to what happens to them within their immediate world with a focus on friends and family.
  • The protagonist (and narrator) generally do not delve too much into self-reflection but instead focus on real-life situations.

The characteristics that young adult fiction tends to share are:

  • Profanity and graphic violence are permissible, reflecting the maturity of the reading group.
  • Romance is allowed, but not eroticism.
  • Protagonists are typically between 15 and 18 years old, reflecting the age of the reading group.
  • Young adult novels are generally 50,000 and 75,000 words, though fantasy does tend to exceed that length.
  • Young adult fiction is typically focused on how the main character fits in the ‘grown-up‘ world beyond their family and friends, reflecting on events and analyzing their meaning. to better understand themselves, their journey, and the world they are coming into
  • Because of the amount of self-reflection and internality, YA novels are often told in the first person from the protagonist’s point of view.

Examples of middle-grade would be Diary of a Wimpy KidCaptain Underpants, and the Goosebumps series, whereas examples of YA would be The Outsiders and The Fault in Our Stars.

Keep in mind that the points above aren’t hard and fast rules. Something can be YA and not hit all the points, something can be middle-grade are not hit all the points too. The long and short of it is they have to hit most of them.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Image Via Amazon

 

Using these definitions, it’s easy to determine that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone is most certainly middle-grade. There’s no profanity in the book except for Ron’s repeated exclamations of “Bloody hell!”

 

Ron Weasley Bloody Hell

Image Via Youtube

 

Let’s face it, kids can take that type of profanity. Maybe you won’t find that in a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss, but I could see you finding that ‘language’ in Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The violence isn’t bloody and the only person who dies, Professor Quirrell, is off-screen in the book (not in the film, and I love it for it). There is no romance in the book. Harry’s much more concerned with safety and family.

At 76,944 words, the book is a little long for middle-grade, but, again, the rules listed above are not hard and fast ones.

Plus, since the eleven year old Harry Potter most certainly reacts to what happens to them within their immediate world with a focus on friends and family and doesn’t stop to ask, “Was knocking out that troll really the best thing I could do?”, than I’d say the first Harry Potter book is most certainly middle-grade.

 

Chamber of Secrets

Image Via Pinterest

 

Same goes for Chamber of Secrets. It’s a straight up mystery novel and Harry wants to find out who’s petrifying these poor children. Oh no! It was the bad guy all along, who’s still around thanks to his evil diary and the help of a giant snake! Heck, even though Ginny is obsessed with Harry, sending him a singing valentine. Harry just finds the whole thing embarrassing!

 

The Prisoner of Azkaban

Image Via Harry Potter Wiki – Fandom

 

While Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban still has Harry’s concerns mostly focused outwards and features no romance, but things are getting dicey. That man who’s a prisoner? He didn’t actually do it, and at the conclusion of the novel he hasn’t been proven innocent to the general public. Overall, the book is much more serious than the previous. The characters, such as Lupin and Sirus, are more ambiguous than the previous.

With Harry being fourteen, in the middle of what a typical middle-grade and YA protagonist is, we see Harry in his transitional phase as the series progresses to being a YA novel. Technically the book still might be middle-grade, but with a 107,253 word count I’m comfortable calling it YA because things are right on the cusp.

 

Goblet of Fire

Image Via Amazon

 

Things aren’t on the cusp in Goblet of Fire. Although there’s no profanity, there are some high intense situations involve a dragon and another involving mermaids and while there is no gore, an innocent boy by the name of Cedric Digory dies for absolute no reason. Romance is now front and center.

Harry finds himself smitten with Cho Chang from Ravenclaw and is jealous of Cedric Diggory who asked her to the Yule Ball before he had worked up the nerve while his best buddy Ron becomes oh so jealous that Victor Krum attends the ball with Hermione.

 

Did yah put yah name in da Goblet of Fiyah?!

Image Via Twitter

 

Harry is fifteen, young for a YA protagonist but still a YA protagonist. Harry’s not really on a mission to find out who put his name in the Goblet of Fire, he’s more concerned with social expectations. He’s looking into himself, most certainly, even if the book isn’t first person.

 

Order of the Phoenix

Image Via Amazon

 

Order of the Phoenix has Harry dealing with the fact the Ministry of Magic doesn’t believe that He-Who-Has-No-Nose is back. As a result, he starts getting rebellious. His angst-ridden interior very much has a YA voice. I don’t know about you, but this book gives me real Hunger Games vibes with Harry’s whole “I’m going to rebel” shtick even after a professor who loves the color pink and cats tortures him.

On the romantic side, Harry goes on his first date and has his first kiss. Both of which are with Cho, but those don’t go well. She’s still grieving her loss. Speaking of internal conflict, Harry’s dealing with the call to action to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Look-Human.

I’d call it YA.

 

Dead Sirius

Image Via Imgflip

 

Plus, that’s not even mention how Sirius bites the bullet in the end because of his murderous cousin.

 

Half-Blood Prince

Image Via Harry Potter Wiki – Fandom

 

Come Half-Blood Prince we have Ron dating Lavender Brown to make Hermione, and Harry getting on board with dating Ginny. Also typical of YA book, Henry has to look inwards: Does he want to put his friends and girlfriend in danger?

No, and that’s why his relationship with Ginny ends. It’s a very personal reason to end a relationship, and thus is why I’d call this book YA.

Plus, given that Snape becomes the most sympathetic before doing the most heinous thing in front of Harry, different things are getting ambiguous and thus adding to Harry’s internal conflict.

 

Deathly Hallows

Image Via Barnes & Noble

 

In Deathly Hallows we get the conclusion to the series and the conclusion to all of these character arcs. Along the way, we see jealousy when Ron is influenced by the locket and thinks harry might just end up with Hermione, which means there’s a ton of internal conflict for both Ron and Harry. What should Harry do? Send his friend away, or try to resolve the situation? This only add to the fact that this is Ginny’s brother, and Harry misses Ginny like nobody else except a man head-over-heels.

With the conflict right at their doorstep, Harry, while he cares about them, focuses less on his friends and more on how to defeat He-Who’s-Name-Sounds-Like-Moldy-Wart.

Plus, Harry realizes how those around you can surprise you. Remember Snape, the sympathetic guy turned villain? Well, he’s the hero of this story who only killed Dumbledore because it was all apart of the plan. Also, things get a little gray when it turns out Snape was in love with Harry’s mom far before Harry’s Dad, James, came along.

Despite the fairy tale epilogue, this book I’d still call YA given it has Harry realizing how he can stand as his own person and do what he feels is right.

 

The complete Harry Potter series

Image Via Amazon

 

All in all, I’ll say whatever everyone else has said: The series grew up with its readers

But I don’t want to end it there. With the debate ongoing about whether or not how much or how little The Chronicles of Narnia is YA or how much or how little The Giver series is YA, the debate of what the Harry Potter series hasn’t ended just because one of the best articles you’ve ever read has been published.

 

 

Thus, I have to ask: does it even matter? On Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary, Vox wrote that “[Harry Potter] was a global sensation that everyone had to read, even adults…in a post- Harry Potter world, it is taken for granted that YA is universal”.

 

F Paul Wilson

Image Via VJ Books

 

At ThrillerFest 2019, F Paul Wilson was asked why he decided to write middle-grade fiction. His response was simply: after he went into Microsoft Word to check and see how many active and passives sentences he had. While on there, Microsoft also told him his reader level. “Didn’t have to change my style,” he noted, but it was helpful knowing the reading level when it came to marketing the book.

 

R L Stine

Image Via Fatherly

 

However, the best summation of middle-grade and YA came from R. L. Stine, who noted that, “The main difference between middle-grade and YA is ten dollars.”

 

 

 

Featured Image Via CBC.ca