The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Book Club Blogging or Harry Potter Mondays

When I was thinking about starting this blog and what it would all be about, I realized a major part of who I am is an avid reader. Since I write mid-grade and YA fiction, I guess it only makes sense that I read quite a bit in these genres as well. And before you can say hocus pocus (not that anyone ever would…and I can’t believe I just did) the idea of designating one day a week in this space to a sort of book club type forum was born.

I’ve tried book clubs and really don’t like them. I have friends who love the idea and I really enjoyed The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler; it always ends up to be one of those things that must work better in theory. But blogging a book club seems intriguing – with the potential of oh-so-many discussions and followers…woo hoo!

As you’ve already guessed by the title of this blog, I’m starting with the Harry Potter Books – right at the beginning with book #1. Why? Well, like many other muggles, I keep meaning to re-read all 7 books in the series. I never quite get there though – I think I’ve now read books 1 – 3 about 4 times each, but I’ve only read 5 – 7 once. Also, with the mixed reviews from the recent movie (number 6 in the series) I think it’s a good time to re-watch all of those as well.

Brilliant plan #2: Read a book, watch the movie, blog about both and open your blog up for discussions. I’m so smart sometimes! Or just a really big nerd; the jury is still out.

So here we are.
For anyone who wants to join me, I’m starting book #1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – or if you’re reading my copy purchased in London in 1998 Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone (Yep, that’s right. I was totally ahead of the curve on this one). One month for each book in the series should do it. I’ll try to write something every Monday to get the discussion ball rolling, and then the first Monday of every month will be designated movie discussion day. For those in the area who want to come over I might even have movie viewing nights at my house.

If you need to discuss something this week how about the difference in titles – maybe American kids wouldn’t pick up something with the word philosopher in the title? Character studies on the Dursleys would be interesting too. It’s a children’s book (debatable as well) but a lot of the first chapter is pretty much from an adult – and a muggle to boot – perspective; why is that? Or just about anything else anyone wants to discuss...

Ready. Set. Go.


  1. I've seen the movies and have been meaning to read the books. So I'll take you up on this, though I think you will be sorely distressed with my lack of critical analysis skills. As long as a book distracts me from all the mundane chores I'm happy! It doesn't take much.

    I just finished the first chapter. I'm very annoyed with the Dursleys narrow mindedness. Having seen the movies, I know the way they treat Harry through the years allows the audience to sympatize with him, but it still makes me angry. I'm a little worried that the book will go into more detail regarding Harry's pathetic childhood and I'll just be all the more pissed off. I guess I'll find out.

    I do appreciate Dumbledore attempting to give Harry a "normal" childhood by placing him with the Dursley's and not a magical (is there a name for the opposite of muggle?)family where he would be treated like a diety or some such. But good grief man! Again I understand that it advances the plot, but as a parent it just riles me that Dumbledore didn't have more sense!

  2. Karen, I'm so glad your taking up my challenge - especially because you have kids and haven't read Harry yet! No need to be critical or analytical if you don't want to be. I think this will work best if it is as open as possible...there have even been rumors of fan fiction, but I won't be writing any.

    Knowing you have three children of your own, I like your perspective on Dumbledore. I'm finding myself paying attention to his character development (because I think even Dumbledore grows in the first book)more this time through.

    On a side note - thanks for being the FIRST to post a comment actually on my blog. I'd send you streamers, balloons and confetti if I could!

  3. Thinking I need to jot down some commentary while it's still floating in my head. It's late (can't bring myself to put down the book!) so I'm not really in the mood to organize said thoughts:

    1. Quite surprised at how closely the movie follows the book. I find myself wanting to read some chapters and then check the movie to see where they differ.

    2. Philosopher's Stone vs. Sorcerer's Stone. My kids wouldn't know what a philosopher is so yes I think Sorcerer is meant to appeal to a broader audience. Makes me wonder if there is some traditional story or fairy tale told to English children that they would identify and be interested in something called the philosopher's stone?

    3. Really bummed that Duncan isn't interested in this fantasy stuff, though there is a faint hope that he will share our interest in the science part of Sci-Fi. I think it would be fun to read a book at the same time as one of my kids so that we can both enjoy and discuss. I have more hope for Eric. I do know several kids who have read the books and I think that now that I am reading them I will try to pick their brains to see what they got out of it.

    4. As far as this being a "children's book", I think that this defies such quantification. Like a good Disney movie, a good book will appeal to many different comprehension levels. It's a great story and anyone who likes to escape and lose themselves in another world will like it no matter what their age. It comes down to preference not age. There have been many "young adult fiction" that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. I've always wondered if that means I'm lacking in my literary prowess somehow.
    I think "kid appropriate" is the proper terminology. As a mom it's nice to know that there is a well-written series out there that is exciting without being sexually explicit or excessively violent. I know several moms who are wrestling with their consciousnesses over the Twilight series. Just how many books can they read? The first book is pretty tame but I hear the fourth book is pretty hot and a lot of husbands are glad that their wife read it. Do we want our prepubescent girls learning/reading such things?
    I think it was very fortunate for those kids who read the books as they came out. They got to grow up with Hogwarts and just like the characters in the books they were ready to deal with more detail/danger/emotional angst as they got older.

    That's all I've got for now.