I Can’t Wait Any Longer… I NEED to Talk About These Books!

One of the biggest perks of working for a publishing company is advanced reading copies (ARC) and/or galleys. Here’s the difference between the two:

Galleys: They lack any dust jacket or resemblance to the final product and most times they are usually uncorrected proofs, meaning that the text can still be corrected.

Advanced Reading Copy: Usually printed in colour and are in similar format as the soon to be published book.

Going forward, I’m just going to continue to refer to both as ARCs. Neither of these formats are available for sale. But you can get your hands on early copies of books when you…

  • work in the publishing industry
  • magazine/newspaper reviewers
  • your a Goodreads user and you enter contests

Now that all that clarification is out of the way, I wanted to share some mini reviews of some of the fall/spring ARCs I’ve read. The best part of being a book blogger is getting to read books early, the downfall is that you can’t talk about it with anyone until they hit bookstores. So I thought I’d do something a little different and share a few of my favourite up and coming books. Be sure to add them to your to-read file on Goodreads and come back here on their on sale dates to see a full review of each book.

Mãn by Kim Thuy (08/26)

ManKim Thuy’s Ru was a Giller nominated book and won the French- language Governor-General’s Award in 2010. So you can imagine the anticipation is building for people to get their hands of her new book, Mãn. I can tell you with full certainty that she has once again created a prose that is beautifully written. She examines the intricate relationship between love and food. Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband–a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal. Mãn then becomes a chef, but just not any ‘ol chef. She believes her calling is in food and she works to create dishes that are pieces of art. But when she encounters a married Paris chef, things take an interesting turn.

160 pages isn’t many pages, but that’s the beauty of Kim Thuy novels. They pack a powerful punch and they allow you to immerse yourself into another world for one afternoon. If you need further convincing, I encourage you to chat with @jvpurcell and @hellohemlock who have read the book and will be chatting about it on their YouTube account in July/August.

Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin (08/26)

Up Ghost RiverIf you are someone that really enjoys non-fiction, then you are going to be captivated by the story of Edmund Metatawabin. At seven years of age in the 1950’s, Edmund was separated from his family and placed in one of Canada’s worst residential schools. St. Anne’s, in northern Ontario. The horrific things that took place in this residential school are explained in full detail and Edmund courageously shares with readers the effects of his experience at St. Anne’s. After leaving St. Anne’s he started his own family, but the effects of his stay at St. Anne’s led him down a path of drinking and caused his family life to implode. In an effort to find healing, Metatawabin travelled to Alberta to learn from his elders and participate in native cultural training workshops. It was then that he was able discover his Cree culture and face his alcoholism and PTSD. Today, Metatawabin has made it his mission to help the next generation of residential school survivors.

This is a powerful story and it’s a story that needs to be told. His discovery of his Cree culture, his path to recovery and his determination to fight for change are all revealed in this haunting and important book. For more information, I encourage you to check out this video:

Who by Fire by Fred Stenson (09/23) 

Who by FireIf Erin Brockovich had been filmed in Alberta, it would be very similar  principles to Fred Stenson’s Who by Fire. To quote the publishers site, which nails the essence of this book perfectly, “Who by Fire is a powerful, passionate novel about the march of “progress” and the environments, families, and ways of life destroyed in its wake.” This is the story of Tom Ryder and Bill Ryder, Father and Son who, over the years are fighting different types of battles. When a gas plant arrives in Alberta in the 1960s on the border of their family farm, Tom Ryder’s family experiences health problems and his livestock start to die from the poison emitting from the plant. Tom slowly starts to make it life mission to fight the plant. As the novel progresses into present day, we get a different perspective from a now, grown up Bill, who surprisingly reacts to his father’s disappointments by rising through the managerial ranks of an oil company in Fort McMurray.

A fantastic novel that not only looks at the impact of gas plants environmental damage, but the impact that it can have on surrounding residents. Written with a twist of family drama, you’ll be captivated by every page of this brilliant novel.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (10/14)

Leaving TimeUp until reading Jodi Picoult’s forthcoming Leaving Time, the only other book I’d read written by her was My Sister’s Keeper. So I was excited to read a new and what people in our office proclaimed something very different than what you think of when you think of when you think of Jodi Picoult. I can actually remember bringing the manuscript of this book with me to a Timothy’s coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon and reading 100 pages in one sitting. 13-year-old Jenna is on a hunt for her Mother, Alice Metcalf, an accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. It’s been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life.

In a desperate attempt to find her Mother, Jenna enlists the help from two unlikely sources, a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother’s disappearance. Together the three of them band together to create an unlikely trio of detectives who are about to uncover a mystery like no other.

Smart, captivating and a book you won’t be able to put down, I can promise you that this is a book that everyone is going to be talking about! Oh and I’d be remiss not to mention that thanks the the internet and it’s sharing capabilities (22,000+ mentions of #LeavingTime), Jodi Picioult is releasing a FREE e-short about Alice Metcalf from August 4th – August 9th from your favourite eBook retailer. 

Where I Belong by Alan Doyle (10/14)

Where I BelongI wear my Maritimer card proudly on my sleeve. Thanks to Alan Doyle’s Where I Belong, I felt like I got a trip to East for the cost of $0.00. Alan Doyle, the lead singer of Great Big Sea has had a pretty accomplished life, but it all started in a tiny fishing village of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. Although this is a memoir, it’s reads like a lyrical story of a young boy in a family of hilarious and fun characters. Stories of fighting it out for the bathroom and his first job on the wharf cutting out cod tongues for fishermen make up the essence of this memoir. Doyle is well aware that the lessons he learned as a young man and the impressions made from the larger than life characters helped shape him into the musician and man he is today.

A brilliant and stunning memoir that you’ll be handing to your neighbour… hopefully while humming this tune.


It Was Me All Long by Andie Mitchell (01/06/15)

It was Me All AlongI’ve attempted to write the sentence “I’ve struggled with my weight” six different ways, so God knows how Andie Mitchell wrote a whole book about the topic. In her heartwarming memoir It Was Me All Along, she shares an honest journey of her struggle with weight loss. It’s one thing to lose a lot of weight, it’s another to figure out who you are when all that weight is gone. Food addiction is a real thing and in this memoir, you watch a young girl become a young woman and work at determining her self worth.

This book isn’t just for people that have struggled with weight issues though, it’s a story of perseverance and a story of growth. It’s a look at one woman’s strength and how if you set your mind to it, you can do anything you want in life. I cannot wait to write a full review for this book, so be sure to come back in January 2015 (so long away) to hear me gush on and on about this memoir in 3-4 paragraphs.

Be sure to check out Andie’s blog, Can You Stay for Dinner and watch this inspiring TedTalk in which she discusses her weight loss:

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie (01/20/15)

If I Fall, If I DieAnd last, but certainly not least is a book that had me settling deeper into my sofa after reading page 1. Michael Christie’s If I Fall, If I Die is the story of Will and his Mother Diane. His Mother is battling with agoraphobia and has somehow convinced her young son that the world is a scary and harmful place. Not knowing any better, he remains locked up in their home and only sees the outdoors when their groceries and online orders are delivered to the front door. Then one day, Will miraculously decides to venture outside, in a helmet… for protection, and discovers that the world isn’t such a scary place after all. He eventually befriends Jonah, a quiet Native boy who introduces him to the most reckless and exhilarating activity he’s ever seen: skateboarding.

If The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Room had a book baby, it would be this book. Told in an exciting prose with adventurous discoveries, Will will become a character you won’t soon forget.

And there you have it friends, seven books that should be on your radar. I have to say, I’m so glad that I finally told someone other than my colleagues how much I enjoyed them. If you liked this type of post, let me know in the comments and I’ll do another teaser post about Spring 2015 titles near the end of the year. 

[Book Review] My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

My Salinger YearWhile on vacation, I dipped into Joanna Rakoff’s My Salinger Year, because every time I opened Good Reads and blog posts, I’d see a review for this book. Of course it wasn’t too heard to twist my arm when I read the description of this book.

Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistibly funny: a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself entangled with one of the last great figures of the century… J.D. Salinger.

In the late 90’s computers were just starting to make their debut and although many were keen to be a part of this new wave of technology, some were very hesitant, including Rakoff’s boss at ‘The Agency’. Forced to use carbon paper, dictaphones and typewriters, Joanna works as an assistant taking calls, reading some good and not so good manuscripts and typing. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that one of the Agencies best known clients is the literary icon J.D. Salinger, or as he’s often referred to in this memoir, Jerry. When people call to speak with Jerry, Joanna is asked to deflect the call and if the man himself calls, she’s told that she’s not to speak to him and send the call directly to her boss. Of course, there are times her boss is unavailable and she has to speak to Salinger who is described as a charming and kind man.

One of her other duties is to respond to the massive amount of fan mail that gets delivered daily for Salinger. Because there’s an extreme amount of mail coming in, an automatic response is created. But after a few uses, Joanna feels like the response is stale and insincere so she takes it upon herself to create heartfelt and thoughtful responses. Some of her responses are appreciated, some… not so much.

Joanna’s story doesn’t just take place at the Agency, it jumps back and force to her personal life where she’s socializing, living in a Joanna Rakoffcrappy Williamsburg apartment and trying to justify her relationship with the socialist Don. Don was the one part of her story that I didn’t enjoy. I found him to be an arrogant person that didn’t bring much joy into Joanna’s life. But as many of us know, some relationships aren’t the best fit.

Salinger has become a literary phenomenon, because most of his work is read during our years of adolescence and many find his work relatable. This is  a memoir about self discovery, so it only makes sense that Joanna was able to identify with the books he’d written and understand the man who called the agency once a month. As someone who started their professional career becoming close friends with the photo copy machine and directing phone calls to people, I found Joanna’s memoir entertaining. If you’re fascinated with J.D. Salinger, the 90’s, New York and/or publishing, you’ll love My Salinger Year.

12 Books You May Have Missed in the First Half of 2014

The great thing about books is that they never go out of style. You can read them on your own accord and I can guarantee you that no one will approach you on the streetcar, in the park or the coffee shop and say “that book was so last year”. Many times book bloggers (myself included) are reviewing books that are current and once a book has come and gone, you’ll be hard pressed to find it on a blog or in your local paper. So I thought it would be fun to point you in the direction of some great reads that came out in 2014. Yes, I know, it’s still 2014. The books I want to chat about are some of the books that hit the shelves in the first six months of 2014. They are books that will make you cry, make you laugh and  books that will make you think. So let’s get started,

Medicine WalkMedicine Walk by Richard Wagamese – I’ve been a fan of Richard Wagamese’s since I read Keeper ‘N Me when I was in University. The ideas and the messages he infuses in his novels are important and relevant. The same can be said of his most recent book that was published in early April. Medicine Walk is the story of sixteen year old Franklin Starlight who is called to visit his father, Eldon. They don’t have a great relationship, but his Father needs him and he feels an obligation to be there for him. When they’re reunited, Franklin see that years of drinking have crippled his Father knows the end is near. He begs his son to take him into the mountains to be buried in a traditional Ojibway manner.

This is a story of love, family and the lengths that a son will go to ensure his Father wishes are met. It’s a story of courage and love and it’s not one to be missed.

Crimes Against My BrotherCrimes Against My Brother by David Adams Richards – I made it my mission to let everyone know how much I enjoyed David Adams Richards newest book, but if didn’t see my enthusiasm, you’ve come to the right post. I’ve been meaning to read DAR for quite some time. Of course as an English Major, we were required to read some of his work in University, but I didn’t. I hope my English professors aren’t reading this… Needless to say, my colleague Shona was really excited about this book, so I took the plunge finally and WOW. Just wow. I couldn’t stop reading this novel about Howard, Evan and Ian. Three boys who are inseparable as children take very different paths as adults. To quote Random House Canada, “Crimes Against My Brother is a tale of such force, gravitas, complexity, universality, and compassionate understanding that he reaffirms his status as a master storyteller who has, book by book, used his rare genius to create an entire, teeming universe alongside a river in a small northern part of the world.” If your interested in this book (and you should be), check out this blog post on Retreat by Random House that contains an excerpt, a reading from DAR and an audio book club starring yours truly (and my fabulous pal Shona).

Creativity IncCreativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull – This book may have been marketed towards managers, but don’t let that deter you from picking up this extraordinary book, because it’s for anyone who wants to showcase their creativity in the workplace. It’s for anyone who’s part of a creative team who are keen to contribute ideas (good and sometimes bad) with the understanding that their hands have a part in the final product. Ed Catmull is the co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, so he knows a thing or two about what it means to be creative, but he also knows the importance of relying on his team to create ideas and garner creativity.

You’ll become inspired, you’ll want to nurture your creativity and you’ll learn so much – so make sure you have a notepad, a pen and a highlighter handy while reading!

One More ThingOne More Thing by B.J. Novak – I got the chance to read this book before it’s publication and I devoured it on a chilly  November afternoon. I feel like it’s necessary to point out that although this is Ryan from The Office, B.J. Novak’s One More Thing is not a memoir. You’re not going to get behind the scenes look at The Office or The Mindy Project and you’re not going to read about how he got his start in Hollywood. But you will read some of the best stories I’ve ever read. Straight forward, funny, well written stories.

Some are short and some are longer, like the hilarious (and I mean hilarious) No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg. The story of a seventy year old man who recently passed and arrived in heaven only to realize that his Grandmother is much too busy in the afterlife to make any concrete dinner plans with him. Do you and your funny bone a favour and pick up this book… now!

AJ FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – I was all for temporary tattoos that read “A.J. Fikry is my homeboy” but it didn’t happen. A.J. Fikry is having a rough go at life, his beloved wife has passed and it’s sent him into a spiral of unhappiness. He gets agitated easily, especially when he has to encounter other people. Of course, this poses a problem when you’re the owner of a New England bookstore named Island Books; their motto being, “No Man is an Island; Every Book is a World”. Things take a whole new direction when not only does he get a new sales representative from Knightley Press who’s determined to try to get him to try new booksbut he wakes up one morning to discover that there has been a baby left in his bookstore. Filled with ups and downs of emotions; happiness, sadness, aggravation, this story not only hits you right in the feelings, but it has so many references to that feeling of being a book lover. What more could you want!?

All My Puny SorrowsAll My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews – I’ve yet to meet a person that has read this book and hasn’t cried their eyes out. Yet, somehow Miriam Toews can make you laugh out loud while you’ve got tears streaming down your face. I want to do the description justice, but I think the publisher says it best, “All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. In her beautifully rendered new novel, Miriam Toews gives us a startling demonstration of how to carry on with hope and love and the business of living even when grief loads the heart.”

Be sure to check out the fabulous book trailer of the book too!

I Don't Know What You Know Me FromI Don’t Know What You Know Me From by Judy Greer – What do 13 Going on 30, The Wedding Planner and 27 Dresses all have in common? They all feature Judy Greer as the loveable, yet quirky BFF role! Judy Greer has honed her skills at playing the role of the co-star and she knows it. It only made sense that she’ write a memoir and call it, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions from a Co-StarJudy takes us back to her early days of bad hair and really bad hair (no judgement… I could haul out some pictures that would have you laughing out loud), to a time when she had aspirations to make it in Hollywood. With her parents support and a license plate that literally read “star 2 be”, she notes that in reality, it should have read “co-star 2 be”, she packed her bags and headed to the big city. The memoir is a collection of essays filled with stories, insight and advice that makes you feel like you’re hearing stories and getting tips from a best friend. And as noted, she plays that best friend role oh so well.

My Salinger YearMy Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff – I have yet to review this book on my blog having just read it on vacation, but let me tell, this is one memoir you won’t want to miss! This is a book for book lovers, because it’s the tale of Joanna Rakoff in the early 90’s when she work for a literary agency. Oh but that’s not it. She works for J.D. Salinger’s agency, so when her boss tells her to direct all calls from Jerry to her, she freaks out. Since I’ve yet to review it, here’s what Random House has to say about it, “Joanna Rakoff paints a vibrant portrait of a bright, hungry young woman navigating a heady and longed-for world, trying to square romantic aspirations with burgeoning self-awareness, the idea of a life with life itself. Charming and deeply moving, filled with electrifying glimpses of an American literary icon, My Salinger Year is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer. Above all, it is a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives and awaken our true selves.”

Book of Unknown AmericansThe Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez – Oh the tears. So, so many tears. This is one of those books that will stay with you for years to come. What happens when a Panamanian teenage boy and a Mexican girl fall in love in America? This story. Told with a haunting and captivating voice, Cristina Henriquz examines the life of two immigrant teenagers struggling with the hurdles of trying to navigate a new country while holding on to their heritage. Confronted with language barriers, society acceptance and adolescence, The Book of Unknown Americans is a heart-breaking page turner.

Keep Your Friends CloseKeep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly – I was in a coffee shop when I finished this book and I remember audibly gasping so loud that people looked over at me as I closed the book. This is the story of Natty and Sean Wainwright and Natty’s best friend, Eve Dalladay. Due to an emergency, Natty leaves their home for two weeks and it’s in those two weeks that Eve moves in to take her place. Then the unthinkable occurs. Sean and Eve fall for each other and Natty is mystified and appalled. Things take a whole other turn when she receives a note in the mail that reads, Eve has done this before, more than once. Don’t let her take what’s yours. 

Smart, gripping and on the edge of your seat reading, Paula Daly has a knack for writing thrillers. You won’t be able to put this one down!

Jennifer Gwyneth and MeJennifer, Gwyneth and Me by Rachel Bertsche – What woman hasn’t seen pictures of Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Beyoncé and wished she had their clothes, their abs, their seemingly flawless lives? For Rachel Bertsche, these celebrities are the epitome of perfection—self-assured and effortlessly cool. So it only makes sense that she spends a year emulating their lifestyles to feel more put together. Eating like Gwyneth, making pregnancy look cool like Jessica Alba or channeling Julia Roberts inner piece, Rachel sets a budget and works to live like a star. This was a fun book for anyone that types http://www.tmz.com into their browser at least once a week. As the Chicago Tribune notes, “Written with verve, insight, and humor … Bertsche writes cleverly, but not glibly, about the challenges young women face today.”

Elizabeth is MissingElizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey – Emma Healey is in her early twenties, yet somehow she’s able to articulate the voice of an 80 year old woman named Maud in her debut novel. Maud is slowly losing her memory and her pockets and home is filled with notes with constant reminders about things she needs to do. The worst part is that the she can’t contact her friend Elizabeth. She believes that she’s disappeared and because of her current state, no one will listen to her, not her daughter and certainly not Elizabeth’s son. Her search starts to uncover memories of another unsolved disappearance–that of her sister, Sukey, who vanished more than 50 years ago, shortly after the Second World War. Smart with a touch of thriller components, Elizabeth is Missing is a fantastic read you won’t want to miss!

If I’ve missed one of your 2014 (so far) favourites, share with me below in the comments! 

Things I Understand Now that I’ve Finally Read the Harry Potter Series

harry potter setSome of you may remember that back in January, I shared with the world that I had never read the Harry Potter series. I expected the reaction I received; shocked, gawking, sometimes even judging faces. But what I didn’t expect were so many of you becoming Harry Potter cheerleaders. Many of you would write and say how jealous they were that I got to experience the novels for the first time, many people wrote and shared that they couldn’t wait to discuss the series with me when it ended. Of course, each  time I did finish a book, I’d say to my friends in a really excited tone, “And then Harry and Ginny finally kissed” and they’d look at me and say “I know. I read the series when it came out ten years ago.”

Since the Harry Potter phenomenon has been part of our culture for seventeen years now, there are many references to it in mainstream culture that I never quite understood. Now that I’ve finally read the series thanks to Just a ‘Lil Lost’s Harry Potter Reading Challenge, I can finally be a part of the conversations about all things Harry Potter and I now (like the rest of you) can get really excited when anything HP happens, such as a short story by J.K. Rowling being written. As I read the series, I jotted down things that were missing puzzle pieces in what I thought I knew about Harry Potter. I made note of the way people reacted about this series and how it became a pop culture phenomenon. Now that I’ve finally finished the seven books in the series, I want to share my observations with you!

Why You Weren’t Allowed to use the Name of ‘He Who Shall Not be Named’  – Recently I rewatched the first season of Orange is the New Black and as Piper and Larry are sitting in their home discussing her upcoming jail sentence, Larry makes the comment, “you can say the word jail, it’s not like we’re talking about Lord Voldemort.” Up until 7 months ago, I really didn’t know why you couldn’t just speak the name of the evil man in the Harry Potter series. Of course, now I know that to speak Lord Voldemort’s name suggests that you have no fear of him and therefore no respect for him. This is why the Death Eaters even avoided using his name in conversations.

Why People Booed Draco Malfoy – Before I began reading the series, I remember watching a Teen Choice Award Ceremony (or some equivalent award show) in which  the actor Tom Felton won an award for ‘Best Villian’. He got up there to thank his Mom, Dad and his fans and everyone booed him. I remember watching and thinking that it was so sad. That all this young kid did was play a mean boy in the movie and people were acting so rudely to him. Now of course while I still think it’s wrong that people would boo a young actor who played a character, I get it. Draco Malfoy was a mean young man who was not only vindictive, but evil. How his character played out from start to finish was one of my favourite part of reading the series.

Why there’s a Harry Potter Themed Park – Before reading these books I imagewent to Universal Studios in Florida. I walked around not knowing what Butter Beer was, I sure as heck didn’t understand why you could buy Chocolate Frogs and had no idea why goblins were running the imaginary bank. I was naive to the monstrosity of what I was witnessing. All that being said, I waited in a lineup for two hours to ride on an imaginary broomstick to soar about Hogwarts. Now I understand that this book series not only changed the way people read and write, it inspired a whole world to be created. From what I understand this recreation is the closest thing you’ll get to the real Harry Potter experience. Now I’m saving up to head back to FL to see it once again (and it’s new elements) to experience it the right way.

Why Everyone Loves Sirius Black - When Sirius was being mentioned in conversations when people were first reading the series, I remember people spoke of him with such disdain. They’d roll their eyes and say he’s up to no good… then they’d finish The Prisoner of Azkaban and their perspectives changed. Of course, I never really asked why. Now after reading, what I’d call my favourite book in the series, I know why. His intentions and actions were always good. In an effort not to give too much away, I will say that he was one of my favourite characters in the entire series… besides Dobby.

Why People Were So Upset About J.K. Rowling’s Quote about Harry and Hermione - Back in February, Emma Watson interviewed J.K. Rowling about the series for Wonderland Magazine. In this interview, Rowling said some pretty shocking things about the series she wrote. The biggest shocker was when she said,

In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit, and I’ll tell you something very strange. When I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite strongly when I had Hermione and Harry together in the tent! I hadn’t told [Steven] Kloves that and when he wrote the script he felt exactly the same thing at exactly the same point.

Of course, some fans didn’t mind the idea of Harry and Hermione ending up together, but some were outraged. In a lot of ways Hermione and Ron ending up together was a surprise no one saw coming and it made both of them break down walls they’d put up. I can understand her comment, but to play the woulda, coulda, shoulda game so long after the series has concluded made people question their admiration and devotion to this cute and unpredictable couple.

Why People Became Quiet Whenever I Asked About Robert Pattinson’s role in the Movie - When the Twilight movies hit the screen and everyone become obsessed with the pale Robert Pattinson, people began to recognize him as the man that played Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter movies. I’d be a fool not to hear that he had a role in some of the Harry Potter movies, so I asked around (having only seen the first movie and an hour or so of the second movie) and every time I asked someone about who he was in the movie, they’d get really quiet Harry-Potter-Fansand say he was Cedric Diggory. From this reaction alone, I knew that something terrible must have happened to this character. But when I finally discovered his fate, I was broken up about it. Oh god, even writing about it now makes me teary eyed.

The Cult-Like Culture Dedicated to the Series – It didn’t take me long, probably by book four, to realize why this series has become so, so popular. Why people reread it yearly, why it has its own theme park and why J.K. Rowling has become a billionaire. Harry Potter fans are a dedicated fan base, they know the inner workings of this series. They know every nook and cranny about why the characters behave a certain way. Seventeen years ago I thought it was all hype, I thought with time it would die down and people would move on. Now having read the series, I understand why people are so passionate about these books. I get it. I really do. As someone who loves books in general, I love that these books allow people to have to use their imaginations. They even introduced reading to children/teens/adults who might not otherwise read at all. The series might have ended seven years ago, but I don’t think these books are going anywhere. I’m just glad that I can now be a part of the ongoing phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

A special thank you to Michele from Just A ‘Lil Lost and Kaley from Books Etc who were two of my biggest online supporters and were both a driving force in helping to finally get me to commit to this series.