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Book Review: The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Harry potter book review

Belated happy new year to my blogger friends! Finally managed to sneak out again from the miserable real world to the blogosphere. It had been a great year and hope you had a great one too. For me, the year moved at a break neck speed and The Book Haven was left stranded while its captain was a stranger in a strange land.

The major bookish achievement this year was to finish the Harry Potter Series (yeah, the movies too). Alright, it’s not retro and doesn’t belong to this blog. Also, I admit I was hopelessly prejudiced against the Potter boy and Rowling before taking up Philosopher’s Stone reluctantly. It was one of my friends who argued that it was a rubbish attitude to make fun of something without reading it. I couldn’t answer and decided to make a point by reading the book.

So I finished reading the first book. And had to eat my own words.

Blimey! Why on earth I kept pushing it away for so long? The Philosopher’s Stone was as original as Tolkien’s LoTR. Of course, it lacked the depth of a classic and was not a work of art created by a professor of Anglo-Saxon, but there’s no denying that it was way ahead of most books in the genre.

Movie: 3.5 / 5 (pretty descent stuff)

Chamber of Secrets is possibly the best book in the series in terms of plot. Basilisk and Tom Riddle’s diary were freaking awesome. And who could forget the flying car over Muggle London? God, the series was getting better and better.

Movie: 4/ 5 (Quite quite good)

The Prisoner of Azkaban felt like a letdown though. Sirius Black and Lupin were great characters; the dementors were creepy, but overall the plot seemed weak.

Movie: 2.5/ 5 (Meh! Cool special effects though)

With The Goblet of Fire, Rowling was back in form. The Triwizard tournament was outright genius. I believe, it was from this novel that the series started to take a dark turn. The book had a really eerie beginning and introduced Nagini, Voldemort’s infernal pet.

Movie: 3/ 5 (Not bad)

The Order of the Phoenix had some outstanding moments. Battle of the Ministry is perhaps the best thing about it. Bellatrix murdered Sirius Black – dang, that was a shock (thought he and James were both better than Bellatrix).

I believe it is virtually impossible to invent a character more annoying that Dolores Umbridge. Cool job by Rowling! However, the plot seemed loose and without purpose. Rowling seemed to describe the daily life at Hogwarts without any intention of going further and things fell in line again only towards the end.

Movie: 3/ 5 (Nothing very special here)

Sectumsempra! Aren’t you bleeding yet from the curse invented by the Half-blood price? Fantastic plot, great speed, dark magic, perilous missions, shocking betrayals, and tragic end. Wow!  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince deserves to be one of your favourite novels in the series. If not for anything else, you can remember it simply because of the ghastly concept of Horcrux.

Movie: 3.5/ 5 (Lives up to the expectations)

The epic conclusion. The Deathly Hollows is my favourite book in the series. This one is truly tragic in tone from the beginning till the end. Incredible action, unforeseen twists, meticulously crafted characters and dialogues make the concluding episode an unforgettable journey. The battle of Hogwarts is nothing short of epic. What a finish. Avada Kedavra!

Movie – The Deathly Hollows Part I: 4/ 5 (Great job)

Movie – The Deathly Hollows Part 2: 4.5/ 5 (Best in the series)

I would rate Harry Potter series at par with Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. It’s not The Lord of the Rings or The Game of Thrones but then it doesn’t need to be. Harry Potter is best the way it is.

The movies could have been better. They were cartoonish to begin with and gradually improved but none of them were like The Two Towers. What a pity!

What do you think of the Harry Potter series?
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Opinion & Featured Articles

Top 5 Must-Read Banned Books

“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.” — George Bernard Shaw

If you thought book censorship was a utopian concept in the modern world, think again. There are a considerable number of classics that were banned in the last 100 years. What appears poignant to some readers might appear to be a diabolically corruptive influence to others. So some fellows use censorship like Damocles’ sword to cut-off seemingly volatile ideas. Here are some highly controversial books, which a few bright people thought were unfit for public reading:

Ulysses james joyce

Ulysses – James Joyce

What’s it about?

This modernist novel follows Leopold Bloom around Dublin on 16 June 1904.

Why on earth they banned it?

Ah, it’s sleazy, and blasphemous. Joyce’s masterpiece was banned in UK, USA, and Australia. Copies were burned even after the book got critical acclaim and was recognized as one of the most important works of modern literature.

 

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokovlolita vladimir nobokov

What’s it about?

A French scholar Humbert Humbert starts having a relationship with a 12 year old girl. What’s more, he marries her mother to continue the relationship.

Why on earth they banned it?

“..the filthiest book I have ever read”, said the editor of The Sunday Express and his opinion was shared by many others. The book was banned in France, UK, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada.

animal farm george orwellAnimal Farm — George Orwell

What’s it about?

Animal Farm is an allegorical and satirical take on Communism. In the words of Orwell himself, it fuses “political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole”.

Why on earth they banned it?

Orwell wrote the book at a time when USSR was a close ally of Britain (WW II). He struggled to find a publisher, and when published, Animal Farm was banned in the USSR and other communist countries. It is still banned in Cuba, North Korea, and China.

Mein Kampf — Adolf Hitlermein kampf adolpf hitler

What’s it about?

It’s an autobiographical manifesto by the Nazi Supremo Adolf Hitler and documents his political ideologies and plans for the German state.

Why on earth they banned it?

Some European countries like Austria and Russia banned the book due its extremist ideas. Re-printing is banned in Germany.

tropic of cancer henry millerTropic of Cancer — Henry Miller

What’s it about?

Fluctuating between the past and the present, Tropic of Cancer, revolves around Miller’s struggle as a writer.

Why on earth they banned it?

For sexually explicit content and vulgarity. The book was banned in the US and South Africa.

 

Few others that caused a lot of ruckus

harry potter jk rowlingamerican psycho bret easton ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. LawrenceSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutA Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

 

 

 

 

 

 

the grapes of wrath steinbeckthe lord of the flies william goldingBrave New World Aldous Huxley

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News from the Book World / Opinion & Featured Articles

Tales of a Wizard — 10 Wow Things About J.K. Rowling

J.K. RowlingJ.K Rowling’s life may not be as happening as Harry Potter, but her journey has been quite intriguing as well. Here are a few facts that you might want to know about the author of Harry Potter:

  • This year, a first edition hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold for £150,000 at an auction. It contains exhaustive commentary by the author and also includes 22 illustrations by Rowling herself.
  • The first fan letter Rowling received was from a woman, who addressed her as “Dear Sir”.
  • Rowling made it to Forbes’ “The World’s Most Powerful Women” list for two consecutive years (2012 and 2013). Her selection was backed by the fact that apart from being the richest and one of the highest paid authors in the world, she has inspired an entire generation of children to read again.
  • 31st July is important for both Harry Potter and J.K Rowling. It’s their birthday.
  • Rowling was a researcher at Amnesty International before taking up writing as a full time career.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was entirely typed on a typewriter. The initial ideas for the first Potter book were written on, well, a napkin.
  • The first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by twelve publishing houses. Bloomsbury reluctantly accepted it paying Rowling a modest advance.
  • Rowling was adamant on casting British actors for Potter films. Also, Steven Spielberg turned down the offer to direct the first film saying that he wanted to make an animated movie combining multiple Harry Potter novels.
  • What’s J.K. Rowling’s favorite book? The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.
  • Rowling has a habit of visiting Potter fan sites regularly. She was once told to shut up in a Mugglenet chatroom due to her lack of knowledge on Harry Potter.

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News from the Book World

J.K Rowling to Build Harry Potter Style Tree Houses in Her Garden

Harry Potter j K Rowling Tree House
How does it feel to live like Harry Potter? Most of us will never know the answer in our entire miserable life. But of course, J.K Rowling, being the creator of Potter, cannot share our fate. So after quite some fighting with her local Voldemorts, the author has managed to get permission to build a couple of 40 feet high Hogwarts-style treehouses in her garden. They will include secret tunnels, a rope bridge, turrets, a trap door, and a spiral staircase. Are you feeling a little bit jealous? Be a sport. Not everyone gets to live their dream.

Sometime back, Rowling decided to renovate her home in Edinburgh and as a part of the plan, she applied to erect two tall treehouses for her kids. The estimated cost of such constructions was £250,000 approximately. Rowling’s neighbors were not exactly happy with the idea, and lodged complaints with the City Council. They stated that the high treehouses would be ”out of character with the area” and wanted to be assured that those structures would not be visible from outside the Rowling property.

The Council, however, has dismissed the protests stating that the construction of the tree houses will not have any adverse impact on the appearance of the area.

If insignificant details about famous people really matter to you, then be aware that Rowling brought her 17th century mansion for £2million. To enlarge her garden, she also bought a 1970s style mansion next to her dwelling place. Rowling lives with her husband Dr Neil Murray and has three kids (one from her first marriage). Continue reading

News from the Book World

The Casual Vacancy – J.K Rowling’s New Book for Adults

jkrowA few weeks back we got to know that the author of Harry Potter is aiming at adult readers for her upcoming novel. Now her publisher — Little Brown U.K — has revealed the title, release date, and the subject of the book. The Casual Vacancy, which is possibly the most anticipated book of 2012, will be released on September 27th. This time Rowling deals with small town politics and focuses on passion, hypocrisy, and surprising twists.

Rowling’s editor Neill Denny is exited. “This is not a traditional crime novel but something more interesting”, he says. While some people are apprehensive about Rowling’s success in the world of adult fiction, most of her fellow writers are confident that she will hit the bull’s eye with her new book too. They argue that writing for children is a harder task; they will stop reading if it’s not a real page turner. And Rowling knows how to tell a story.

But yeah, Rowling has definitely got critics too. Internet has an awful lot of people who are shouting that the book will be crappy, but people will buy it just because of who wrote it. Some people are even branding the book as the next version of Desperate Housewives. That’s too bad. Some biased minds will not read the book simply because Rowling wrote it and will call it the worst book of the decade.

Meanwhile, Rowling has reasons to smile. Harry Potter ebooks have sold over £1 million in just 3 days. Let’s see if Rowling’s smile broadens later this year.

Rowling’s editor Neill Denny is exited. “This is not a traditional crime novel but something more interesting”, he says. While some people are apprehensive about Rowling’s success in the world of adult fiction, most of her fellow writers are confident that she will hit the bull’s eye with her new book too. They argue that writing for children is a harder task; they will stop reading if it’s not a real page turner. And Rowling knows how to tell a story.

But yeah, Rowling has definitely got critics too. Internet has an awful lot of people who are shouting that the book will be crappy, but people will buy it just because of who wrote it. Some people are even branding the book as the next version of Desperate Housewives. That’s too bad. Some biased minds will not read the book simply because Rowling wrote it and will call it the worst book of the decade.

Meanwhile, Rowling has reasons to smile. Harry Potter ebooks have sold over £1 million in just 3 days. Let’s see if Rowling’s smile broadens later this year. Continue reading

News from the Book World

J.K Rowling to Write for Adult Readers

j k rowling adult readers

Happy times for adult fans of J.K Rowling. The author of the bestselling Harry Potter series is all set to venture into the world of mature fiction. This time she has a new publisher — Little Brown, U.K. Rowling is “delighted” to have a second publishing home in this new phrase of her literary career.

There have been wild guesses about the subject of Rowling’s upcoming novel. Some believe it to be a crime story set in Edinburgh. The author herself has just hinted that it will be something quite different from the Harry Potter stuff, something for the grown ups. The release date and title of her book is yet to be announced. The book will have both print and electronic versions.

The Harry Potter series broke all records in publishing history. It sold even more than Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Agatha Christie’s detective fiction. Will Rowling taste similar success with her new novel? It may not be easy even with her incredible fan base. This is like a follow-up to the Bible and expectations are sky high. But Rowling is enjoying it, and we simply can’t wait to read the book. Continue reading