I went a little overboard and read 8 books. It’s unplanned, I swear. I guess the fact that I’ve been reading a lot of children’s fiction contributes to the speed of my reading. Alex asked me if I could still digest everything I read, and I am happy to say that, yes, I can still digest them, thank you very much. Once I’m done with my last book for July, I promised myself to read something more for my age. Then I bought another Judy Blume this month so my resolve to read more mature books pretty much went out of the drain.
No regrets, though. I loved everything I read this month.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
This book just keeps getting better. It was the first time I read this book without reading the first six books first. I just have to read DH before I watch the movie. I remember being extremely emotional during the first time I read DH but it was insane how even the non-emotional moments made me teary-eyed when I read it again. Maybe it was the mounting anxiety of the final film installation that made me extremely vulnerable when reading it but my love for the series reached profound levels. J.K. Rowling is a genius monster for making HP fans cry. But we can never hate her for writing the most amazing series that defined our childhood. She’s our queen!
I don’t even know what else to say about this book. Hedwig’s dying scene almost made me cry, and I still don’t understand why they didn’t include in the film Dudley and Harry’s goodbye. The Silver Doe is still my favorite chapter. I know a lot of people can’t forgive Ron for running out of Hermione and Harry. But I forgive him. He’s Ron Weasley, how could I not? He makes a mistake leaving the two behind but he does everything to get back in their graces, right? From then on he doesn’t back out from whatever hardship they face. I won’t go into more details about this but I really think people are too hard on him. Another chapter that I love is the Battle at Hogwarts. I’m not sure how many times I teared up because of it. It’s not even the deaths that chilled but the mere courage that everyone is showing. I swear Professor McGonnagall forced me to sniffles.
For some reason, Deathly Hallows seems to be a lot better than the first and second time I read it. (Or again, maybe it’s just my emotions speaking.) It’s just amazing how J.K. Rowling managed to weave a flawless story with really little plot holes. I still had a lot of questions when I reread it but I shrugged it off because the strengths of the books overpowered its minor faults. I also had this huge hate for the epilogue. I thought it was corny and their children’s names are really annoying. I don’t know. Maybe Harry is just too lazy to think of names. But this time, I actually like the epilogue. I guess it just needs a little getting used to. I have a lot more to say about this book but my reactions are already starting to mix with my reaction to the movie so I’ll just stop here.
Let me just say first that this will definitely won’t be the last time I’ll read Deathly Hallows. I will reread the series for the years to come until I have to pass on my love for the Harry’s world to my future children. I guess every Pothead has this silly dream of passing on to their children their love for magic.
2. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry creates an uplifting story about a young girl named Annemarie who lives during World War II. Number the Stars is a very easy read and it only proves that you do not need to write a thousand pages to write a good story. Maybe it’s because I know that the story might very well be based on a true story that’s why I was almost in tears by the end of the book. It’s about Annemarie and how she helps her Jewish best friend and her family to escape the wrath of the Nazis. It’s her courage that moved me and made me love the Danish people. Apparently, though Annemarie isn’t a real person, the events of the book are based on the Danish people’s successful mission to rescue about 7,000 Jews from the Germans. Lowry wrote an admirable tale about the friendship and courage that existed during the World War II, something is rarely mentioned in textbooks.
The story doesn’t merely observe the events that took place during the World War II but also humanity’s response to certain social situations. Lowry closely observes human instinct when faced with crisis. The story isn’t something that happens in everyday life but it’s believable enough. What I like about Number the Stars is how it highlights the good side of humanity in the face of evil. It’s just nice to read a book that will make you smile and believe that everything in this world isn’t so bad after all. In the story, we see how good always triumphs over evil. What’s amazing is that it isn’t entirely fictional. And even if it is fictional, this book can still tug at your numb heartstrings.
3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
It’s been a while since I read a book that kept me awake past my bedtime. I have this habit of falling asleep while reading a book when I read while lying down. In reading Ender’s Game, sleep seemed to evade me because I find myself wanting to read more and more. I enjoy the Sci-fi genre but I wouldn’t go too far in saying that it’s my favorite. I’m not a big fan of science but I like stories that creatively fuses the baffling science with an engaging plot. Ender’s Game is one of them. It doesn’t include highfalutin scientific analogies but we are faced with children that readers know are a lot smarter than they are. We are introduced to children, ages 6 to at least 14, who talk like adults and even act like one. Often times I forget that I’m reading about kids because I swear they rarely act like one.
I’m not exactly sure if I really love this book or if I merely in awe of the characters and the story. Well, I devoured the book in two days because it gets more exciting with every turn. So I guess the fact that it kept me hooked is enough reason to say that I like it. The ending is a little underwhelming, though, but it’s still a good ending. I have so much affection to our hero, too, that’s why I like the story. Ender is just a kid who happens to be a genius, a master in strategy-making. This books dwells on the good and evil side of every human being, and we see Ender struggle with this idea from the very start. He doesn’t want to turn evil but other people keep pushing him to do things he doesn’t want, things Ender thinks are bad. This book makes me think so much that sometimes I just shut myself out from the world because in order to follow what’s happening, I need to focus on the story and only on the story. I think I missed a lot of things in this book. There’s just so much going on that I don’t think I’ve digested everything I’ve read. This is definitely worth a re-read.
4. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I only have three things to say about this movie. First, it’s been a long time since I watched the movie but I am 100% positive that it’s entirely different from the book. I had a hard time imagining a grown-up Anne Hathaway acting like Ella. Second, maybe the reason why I can’t picture Anne Hathaway as Ella is because Ella’s narration doesn’t seem to grow up as she grows older. Though she turned 15/16 in the book, she constantly talks like a 12-year-old. It’s hard to place her in her own story because her manner of telling the story doesn’t seem to fit her age or her supposed maturity. I know that her personality is a little child-like and she’ not as prim and proper as the other ladies her age. But it’s insane how she doesn’t seem to mature. I’m not saying she’s immature, it’s just I really don’t see any character development in her.
For a story that has fairies, dwarfs, and ogres, Ella Enchanted’s story-telling lacks charm and magic. I guess I am used to more lyrical way of presentation when I am reading a fantasy-genre novel. Over all, the novel is interesting enough but it’s sometimes hard to empathize with Ella. I feel sorry for her most times, though, since her curse pretty much screws up her life. I admire how she weaves her way around the curse and still manages to save herself from time to time. Prince Char, our hero, is a really interesting character, though. I like how our hero isn’t perfect, not fairytale perfect, anyway. We see that he is fit to be a king but it’s interesting to see that he also has flaws, and he is aware of them, too. I like that in a character.
5. Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
This is such a fun read! I found myself smiling and hehe-ing in almost every page. To say that I enjoyed the book is an understatement. I was greatly entertained even though the story isn’t that complex. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the story that got me hooked until the last page. The lesson is pretty much staring at you right off the pages, too. Humans do have a tendency to get bored with everyday life. Humans do have a tendency to ignore everything they encounter in their journey since they’re too focused on reaching their goals. This book is a nice reminder that there are still a lot of interesting things in life, we are just too covered with apathy that we don’t even bother to go on an adventure of our own.
The premise of the story may sound very child-like but I am willing to bet anyone from all ages will find something they like in this book. Am I pushing it too far if I say that Norton Juster is one of the cleverest writer I have ever met? Though this book may be intended for children, I think adults will find more meaning in the book. Juster played with the words all throughout the story and it would mean so much more if the reader will catch all the wordplay. I sometimes feel like there’s too many things happening, so many lessons to be learned in one book, but it still works for me. All the characters are cleverly named but my favorites have to be The Whether Man and King Azaz the Unabridged. After reading the book, I have this big smile on my face because the book is just so fun and entertaining. If you like playing with words and entertaining stories about eccentric people, then this book is for you.
6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
I visited every bookstore and searched every nook just to find this book. If you haven’t noticed, I’m becoming a huge Neil Gaiman fan, and it is my goal in life to read all his books. I’ve been meaning to read Coraline for a while now since I’ve read good reviews about it. I also don’t usually read “horror” stories but it seemed to be a good book to start. I know it’s not very horror-ish but Gaiman managed to create a suspenseful plot. Reading the book with only the help of a lamp while everything else was shrouded in darkness surely helps set up the mood for me. Coraline is a likable heroine. She is brave, and she uses her head in almost every situation. I really don’t like it when the heroine blindly does everything and doesn’t even stop for a moment to think. Thankfully, Coraline is a heroine that knows how to use her smarts.
All the while I was reading the book, I couldn’t help feel jealousy towards Neil Gaiman. I wanted to write something as creative and ingenious as Coraline. But despite my admiration for the concept of the book, I still feel like it’s lacking in some parts. The antagonist isn’t evil enough, and the climax of the story happened way too early. The intensity of the story falls from there. Once the mystery unfolded, the suspense isn’t just as intense as before. I wish Gaiman sought ways to make the story even more interesting. I still like the originality of the story, though. Unlike his other books, it’s not something that haunted me days after I finished reading. Nevertheless, it still has an engaging plot. You can still Neil Gaiman behind every words, and so of course, I still like it.
7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
When I saw this on display at National Bookstore, I instantly grabbed it because I adore John Green’s writing style. I didn’t have an concrete idea what the story is about, all I know is that it stars two Will Grayson’s. In the book, I was introduced to two things: 1.) LGBT fiction and, 2.) David Levithan’s writing. To say that I enjoy both is an understatement, I definitely love the two. I didn’t really have much expectation for Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but it ends up making my smile and barf rainbows. It’s a light read but you can absorb so many things at once. We are introduced to Will Grayson 1 and Will Grayson 2 who are pretty much opposites. The only thing similar to them is how they don’t interact much with people. Our first Will Grayson just doesn’t want to bother with anyone and the other Will Grayson simply hates the world. I love them both.
I’ve always thought that writing an article with someone is difficult, much difficult than writing alone. That’s why I applaud John Green and David Levithan for successfully collaborating on a novel. The story doesn’t feel disjointed. In fact, it’s well-narrated and the story of the two Grayson’s interweave fluidly. If you’re wondering how they did it, they wrote intervening chapters. It works quite well, really.
One reason why I really Will Grayson, Will Grayson is because I see so much of myself in the first Will Grayson. When I was rooting a happy ending for him, I felt as if I was rooting for my own, as well. It’s been quite a while since I last related so much with one character. Though we do have our differences, I somehow thought I can understand everything that he’s going through. So basically, this book became way too personal for me. Biases aside, this is a really nice read. It’s quite a surprise that I end up liking it, too, because it involves a musical production and I’m not into musical. Hee. Go read this, okay?
8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
You really have to trust Roald Dahl in thinking of the most absurd story about the most common thing and turn it into a classic. Whenever I read children’s book like this, I think of my childhood and think that it would probably be a lot more meaningful if I read great books like this. Good thing I am still a kid at heart and I can probably appreciate even books for toddlers. But really, Roald Dahl should be a part of every bookworm’s childhood. He creates so many amazing fictional world that any kid would love to live in. The Chocolate Factory definitely tops the best places he created. He gives us his idea of a paradise for any kid in the world. There’s something for everybody! I am not chocoholic but I would still love to live there. This book is just so fresh. Why did I read it just now?
You just have to love Roald Dahl’s narrative. I can easily be lured in any story if it employs Dahl’s technique. The story is somehow freakish at first because of Willy Wonka. He seems to be off his rocker but I eventually got used to his eccentricity and loved how he can spot good side in pretty much anything. Charlie is an adorable hero. I often get ticked off with seemingly “perfect” heroes but Charlie is an exception. He really deserves all the good things in the world, and Willy Wonka makes sure that will happen.