Hermione’s Bookshelf

Welcome to the Character’s Bookshelf. This is where I speculate, entirely outside of the space-time continuum and the barriers of language, what books would be a fictional character’s favorites.

Today we’ll be turning our attention to one of my favorite Literary Ladies. You guessed it: Hermione Granger. Hermione is an avid reader, so her favorite books would be so manifold that they are impossible to list. Yet I have hazarded a guess. The idea is that you could read these same books, if you love Hermione as much as I do.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban by 17851885Malala Yousafzai

If you’ve read the Harry Potter books carefully and repeatedly, you might remember that Hermione is very spirited and idealistic, and sometimes these traits come through attempts at political activism. Do you remember S.P.E.W, the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare? That was all Hermione’ idea. Another thing Hermione is very passionate about is education; I think this might come from a deep-rooted need to fit in in the Wizarding World as a Muggleborn. The more knowledge she acquires through books, the less her cultural background as a Muggle will be an obstacle. So yes, I think Hermione would be a huge fan of Malala.

I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

The main reason this book is on the list is because it’s one of my persona860532l favorites and because I like to think I’m a bit like Hermione. Although I do think Hermione would like it. If you haven’t read I Capture The Castle yet, skip the rest of the paragraph with the summary and just go read it. I promise you it’s a great book.

I Capture The Castle has the romantic setting, romantic entanglements and witty dialogue of a Jane Austen novel, combined with the glamour and pace of the 1940’s. So instead of highly choreographed traditional dancing, the couples are dancing to the swinging music of a gramophone. There’s sibling rivalry and English countryside galore, so pour yourself a cup of tea and start reading. I’m sure Hermione devoured this book when she was twelve, vaguely curious why she kept picturing all the dashing heroes with red hair and freckles.

 

Possession by A.S. Byatt

In the interest of full disclosure I should probably tell you that I’ve never read Possession. That is to say, I never finished it. However, this book’s reputation proceeds it. Possession is said to be a tough nut to crack. When you crack it, though, you get to a scholarly mystery as well as a great love story. Both of these things would be right up Miss Granger’s alley, I’d say.

If any of you want to read Possession and get in touch with me so we can keep each other on track, drop me a line.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Yet another scholarly mystery. The Secret History is a story about university life, friendship, peer pressure and murder. What’s not to love? Reading this book made me feel both smart and in on some kind of big secret, and I think Hermione would revel in both those feelings, so this must be a book for her.

Additionally, I can’t help but think Hermione could be great friends with Henry Winter, the linguistics prodigy in The Secret History. After all, Hermione herself loves Ancient Runes.

Mathilda by Roald Dahl 

The whole reason I think Hermione would love, love, love Mathilda is in the blogpost below. Credit goes to if-dementors-were-pink. Thank you for reading!

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EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HURTS

Yesterday, a video was released of Rory Gilmore just casually meeting up with FLOTUS and, in the most Rory-like display of affection you have ever seen, offering her a bunch of books. Lorelai contributed a package of Pop Tarts. I can’t deal with all the cuteness and girl power in this video.

 

 

I don’t have much to say, just watch the video. It speaks for itself. But it is so absolutely amazing and brilliant and cool and everything I have ever wanted out of a video on the internet that an emergency blog post was in order.

(Spoiler Gilmore Girls season seven) You probably all remember how Rory went off on the Obama Campaign trail at the end of Gilmore Girls. Of course, she ended up as Michelle’s literary advisor, and, from the looks of it, personal friend.

This video is an adorable crossover of real life and fiction, but it also calls attention to Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn campaign, which is happening right now. Learn more about the cause, maybe even contribute here, and help girls everywhere get an education. Because don’t we all want to grow up to be Rory Gilmore?

Wishful Thinking: Fictional Fandoms

It is the eternal plight of the fangirl that the things she loves most in the world are not real. Hogwarts is not real. Sam and Dean aren’t going to save you from a monster because monsters aren’t real. Toys can’t walk or talk or think for themselves, no matter how many times we watch Toy Story.

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But fandoms are real. Books are real, TV series are real, films and games and stories are real. It really happens that I sometimes walk down the street, see a boy carrying a TARDIS messenger bag, and wave at him. Once, I even happened upon such an individual while I was carrying my own TARDIS messenger bag.

My point is, sometimes you can love a fictional world or character so much that it hurts to consider the fact that it isn’t real. It’s fictional. But when that happens, the fandom community can offer you support.  But what about fiction within fiction? What about the fandoms that were made up for the sake of writing about fandom? What about the things fictional characters fangirl over?

In this post, I’ve listed some. Just in case your life wasn’t infected with fandom enough as it was.

Books You Wish Were Real Continue reading

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Book: Some Advice On Binge Reading

I am a consumer. I don’t just watch one episode of a TV show; I watch all of it in a month. I don’t just read a book occasionally, I devour them by the dozen. When I open a bag of M&M, it’s finished before the day is done.

In spite of all of this enthusiasm, call it gluttony, if you must, I experienced a reading slump in 2015. I was, at the time, experiencing an episode of depression. See also: Books That Helped Me Through Depression. Depression covered my mind in a veil, surrounded my emotions with a fog, and made it difficult for me to read books, because it was hard for books to reach me.

Well on my way to recovering my mental health, I pledged on January 1st of this year to read one book every week: 52 in total. So far, I’m on track, as you can see.

In order to keep myself motivated throughout the year, I have developed a number of tactics to nurture my reading habit. Because I always hear people complain about having no time or concentration to read, I thought I’d make this wisdom available to the public.  Continue reading

“You’ve Got Time” OITNB Season 4

Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for. Tomorrow is when the gates of Litchfield Correctional Facility will open once again to grant us access. Tomorrow we will once more join the ranks of ladies dressed in orange, stabbing each other with plastic forks. Tomorrow, the forth season of Orange Is The New Black will come to Netflix.

So I thought this would be a good moment to tell you all how much I love this show, and why I think that is. I must warn you beforehand that there will be spoilers here up to the end of season three, so if you aren’t caught up yet you shouldn’t read any further.

First of all, let me introduce Orange Is The New Black to those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years. We call it OITNB for short. It’s Netflix’s most watched original show, and it’s about the inmates of a women’s prison. The story is based on Piper Kerman’s real life experience of prison, which she wrote down in her book: Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women’s Prison.

The show is both tragic and hilarious. It is both witty and honest. It is, perhaps the greatest achievement on television to date when it comes to diversity and representation, and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

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OITNB has African American characters. It has Asian characters. It has Latino characters and caucasian characters. It has gay people and straight people. On the show, there is a transsexual character who is played by a transsexual actress. There are characters of all body types and costumes and make-up are minimal, so there are no attempts at disguising or glamorizing what real women look like in real life. The result is breathtakingly beautiful.

But that is not all. You can make your show’s cast as diverse as humanly possible, and I will applaud you for that, but that doesn’t necessarily make it engrossing television. And if there’s one thing OITNB is, it’s engrossing television.

For one thing, the narrative structure is astounding. Throughout the seasons, an intricate web of characters is woven and like the true ensemble cast, none seem to be more important than the others. Sure, the show starts out from Piper’s point of view, but by now it’s shifted so often that no one gives a damn about Piper anymore. Actually, I never cared for Piper much in the first place. She’s a brat.

Even Pennsatucky, who I disliked for the first half of the show, was recently given a storyline in season three that humanized her and, dare I say it, made me love her.

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The show draws attention to a lot of problems of modern day society, such as the ill treatment of prisoners in over-crowded American facilities, the stigma upon those with mental illness and America’s drug problem. It shows us that discrimination is still deeply ingrained into our lives and how harmful that is. It shows us the pervasiveness of rape culture and all the suffering it causes. It shows us how violence begets violence and how women can be incredibly strong when everything, everything, is against them.

Pennsatucky: “No offense but men being in charge hasn’t ever done me any good.”

In my weaker moments I turn to the inmates of Litchfield to see an example of what strength truly looks like. I will greatly enjoy doing so again tomorrow, and I invite you all to turn on your television sets and get trapped with me.

“I am, I am, I am” Books That Helped Me Through Depression

In the winter of 2014 and the year 2015, I experienced depression. There’s no nice way of putting it: I met the evil inside myself. I felt my soul die inside a body that refused to quit. I felt the world turn to ashes around me, the oxygen turn toxic in my lungs, and the people everywhere just kept on living. The closest I can come to describing the experience is that I am Squidward in the sequence of scenes below. No kidding. A depressed person is misery and despair made flesh, and they carry that burden with them whatever they do and wherever they go.

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Although I failed to see it at the time, there is always a spark of light in the darkness. There is the whole history of human experiences of suffering to assure you of that one, incomprehensible fact: You are not alone. As each person is unique, so is each depression, but there is a certain comfort to be found in the fact that someone out there is experiencing something similar to your sadness, even when that sadness seems unparalleled in the history of the world.

So how do we get in touch with these other unfortunate individuals? The answer, of course, is simple. We connect to other as we always have; through words, albeit written on paper, to thoughts made tangible on a page. Even as my mind was shattering into a million pieces, emotion and concentration both equally unreachable, I attempted to read as a drowning man attempts to swim. Continue reading

The Perfect Potter Party

I turned twenty this January. Of course, twenty being the age of true maturity, I had to throw a Harry Potter-themed birthday party. In case you, at some point, reach the level of maturity where such a thing becomes an absolute necessity, here are some of the things I did to make the afternoon memorable.

Firstly, I printed Hogwarts Letters adapted to look like invitations onto parchment paper. I got the parchment and matching envelopes from Paperchase, and used this letter template. Additionally, I sealed all of the envelopes with wax and addressed them in green ink. I sent the invites through good old-fashioned snail mail. The result looked amazing.

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The Character Assassination of Toby Ziegler

Today, I want to draw some attention to the tragic character assassination of Toby Ziegler, speechwriter to President Bartlet on The West Wing, a show that ran from 1999 to 2006. Toby was played by Richard Schiff.

If you haven’t seen The West Wing start to finish, I recommend you do that first. There will be SPOILERS for the entire show in this blog post. Also, it’s my favorite TV show ever and if you haven’t seen it you’re missing out.

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Eat More. Talk More. Gilmore.

There is going to be a Gilmore Girls revival. If you’re a fan, I think you’ve known this for a while. What you may not know, because you haven’t known me for very long, is that I’m pretty much going insane with excitement by now.

These are the facts. There are going to be four new episodes of Gilmore Girls, and each one will be focussed on a season. So there’s going to be a summer episode, a fall episode, a winter episode and a spring episode, all of them 90 minutes long.

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