Every HP fan would definitely need (or desire) a companion book just to wade through all the literary, religious, fantastical and mythological referenEvery HP fan would definitely need (or desire) a companion book just to wade through all the literary, religious, fantastical and mythological references and innuendos Rowling made in all of her seven books. The book aptly describes itself as a "treasury of myths, legends and fascinating facts" regarding the world of Harry Potter and it wasn't that far off in its self-description.
It is a great tribute to Rowling's works; consisting of around 50+ questions aiming to dig deeper at an innocent remark or passing remark made in the books. Some questions and issues asked here that intrigued me the most were:
~ Does Dumbledore Trust Divination or Doesn't He? ~ Why Doesn't Dumbledore Fight Voldemort? ~ Was the Real Flamel a Successful Alchemist? ~ Why are Mirrors Magical? ~ Which of Voldemort's Cohorts Comes from India? ~ How Did Seven Become the Most Magical Number? ~ What's J.K. Rowling's Idea of a Hero? ~ Is Harry's Story About Religion?
Take note that the book does not pretend to offer a deep analysis of Rowling's motives or thought process, but does give us the background to further appreciate her work. Think of it as a quick course in mythology and history as related to the Harry Potter books. It may be a tad redundant to those who are already well-versed in these areas (such as myself) but it is always a good thing to refresh one's fond memories of religion and mythology.
However, there are reasons why I'm not giving this book a five star rating. There were a few long-winded entries (the history of the Order of the Phoenix comes to mind) that should've shelved. Mainly because of a few oversights (and hopefully they may be adressed in future additions) that keep this book from being the perfect guide to the world of Harry Potter. There are a few inaccuracies in terms of the merging together of Latin and Greek words as interpreted from the names and spells used by Rowling in the books. There were also some painfully obvious questions that weren't addressed even in this updated edition. I would expect a lot more from David Colbert, who has actually studied mythology, though, considering the book states he researches by "reading randomly in the library", it's not too surprising his book is sometimes inaccurate. Lastly, there were just parts of the book where the author did not really answer the question he himself posed! His pseudo answer just went around in a complete circle and rectified it by quoting from well-known works like that of Shakespeare's!
Still, these oversights cannot deny the fact that this book is a very informative guide to the contents of Harry Potter books. I was delighted to finally get the distinction between the following: A charm is a bit of temporary magic that can be good or bad; a jinx will bring bad luck, but nothing serious; curses and hexes involve evil; and spells are serious magic that last a long time.
Each entry is accompanied by various illustrations drawn in purple ink (this is what's been missing in Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them". A small purple tab in the margin of the first page of each chapter guides readers looking for specific subjects: Divination, Goblins, McGonogall, Owls, Voldemort, Wands, etc.
Did you know, for instance, that medieval witches gave plants the names of animals (and their parts) to make their recipes/potions even more disgusting than they actually are? It would've never crossed my mind.
I truly appreciated the discussion on the use of the Latin language (and its translations), specially that of the spells. If only my Latin subjects back in my university days were half as interesting, then I would have actually learned something. "Radicitus, comes!"
What is staggering is how much effort Rowling did give in making sure that her fans and readers are kept amused and interested by the names she has given to her fictional characterd places (both in the world of Muggles and of in and out of Hogwarts). She was able to come up with such names by drawing inspiration from geography, foreign languages (she seems especially fond of using French and of course, Latin), literature, history, religion and mythology, saints, flowers and plants and from thin air.
The most enthralling bit for me would undoubtedly be the discussion of the question "What Makes Harry a Universal Hero?" where Colbert made extensive use of scholar John Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" to accurately describe Harry's journey as a hero (having three stages: Departure, Initiation, and Return) and of his universal appeal to all types of audiences. If you're a writer then this is definitely an enriching read for you.
I'm positive that readers of this book will soon be clamoring for collections of Greek, Japanese, Indian, and Egyptian mythology (my interests as a child growing up) as well as copies of "The Sword in the Stone", "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Canterbury Tales" to discover the sources of their favorite Harry Potter books.
As for myself, I'm thinking of (if I can get my hands on them, that is) purchasing: "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy" by John Clute and John Grant "Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns and Goblins" by Carol Rose
Title The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter Author David Colbert Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
I read "The Game" after seeing a review of it in a Singaporean bookstore. I was amused and a bit intrigued at the idea of a whole subculture centeredI read "The Game" after seeing a review of it in a Singaporean bookstore. I was amused and a bit intrigued at the idea of a whole subculture centered around seducing members of the opposite sex -- at the idea of guys who honestly had no other goals in life.
Strauss was a self-described chick repellant -- that is, until a book editor asked him to investigate the community of pickup artists. Strauss's life was transformed. He spent two years bedding women and studying with some of the North America's most suave gents -- including the best of them all, the god of the pickup "community," a man named Mystery.
Mystery is an aspiring Toronto magician who charges $2,250 for a weekend pickup workshop. He is not much to look at: a cross between a vampire and a computer geek. But by using high-powered marketing techniques he's turned seduction into an effortless craft -- even inventing his own vocabulary. His technique sounds like a car salesman's tip sheet: his main rule is FMAC -- find, meet, attract, close.
To men out there who may be interested in this book & the "secrets" it contains, here are its basic principles:
1. You can only "game" a woman with whom you are prepared to fail (if you find yourself wanting her too badly, you'll never have her) 2. Exude extreme confidence 3. Demonstrate some kind of value, skill or talent near your target, but not directly to her. Initially, pretend you don't even notice her. 4. Win over her friends 5. Be hard to get 6. Be fun 7. Handle challenges from competing men intellectually and psychologically. Never fight. 8. Respond to any signs that she's not interested as if it were "no big deal" 9. Once you have your target's attention, playfully insult ("neg") her. For example, "I like your hair, is that your natural color?" The more beautiful the woman, the more effective the neg is in garnering interest as they rarely hear comments of that nature. 10. Once attraction has been established, punish any unwanted behavior by withdrawing and disinterest, but do not pout or have an attitude. 11. Alternate between attraction and disinterest signals in a push-pull fashion until rapport is established
After two years, Strauss ends up becoming almost as successful as Mystery, but he comes to an important realization. His techniques were actually off-putting to the woman he ended up falling in love with. And they never prepared him for actually having a relationship. After a while, he ran out of one-liners and had to have a real conversation. Still, "The Game" is a great read that may help some AFCs come out of their shells.
My problem with this book is that it might be overly seductive to single guys, and draw people in to a rather twisted subculture -- which I think is not the author's intent. I also think that the techniques described encourage objectification of women to an extreme, and aren't particularly healthy for men, either. It's easy to see how becoming an expert in seduction would sound, well, seductive. But these "expert" philosophies all have one thing in common: they treat women as the enemy.
Title The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists Author Neil Strauss Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
In 18th century France, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with no scent of his own, but with with a supernatural ability to detect the scent of others isIn 18th century France, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with no scent of his own, but with with a supernatural ability to detect the scent of others is driven to murder in order to create the perfect perfume.
This extraordinarily original premise of "Perfume" succeeds so well because it is so startlingly novel--that is, an olfactory genius who can make a fortune creating perfumes more complicated and subtle than any ever made, is a sociopathic monster. Or as Süskind describes him, a "tick" who can roll up into a defensive ball or periodically drop himself into society. Grenouille is a compelling and disturbing character because Suskind has painted him in such realistic tones. Each effort to capture a new scent impels him farther, taking more chances and testing his limits, exploiting new techniques and his own criminal daring. This is true criminal pattern and makes Grenouille terrifyingly believable.
After all, scent is something that people can't ignore, people can close their eyes and cover their ears, but a smell can reach them and intrude all private spaces. Hundreds of scents are described in Süskind's novel: the smell of a blossoming woman, the metallic tang of a doorknob, the soft creamy sheep wool, oaky warmth of wood pulp, oranges ripening with juice, the moonlight cape of magnolias, the fresh windy smell of a puppy and finally, Grenouille's perfect perfume composed of twenty five virgins.
Title Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (translated from German "Das Parfum") Author Patrick Süskind Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
You will never think of the fairy tale "Snowhite and the Seven Dwarves" the same way again, especially when one hears the story from the stepmother'sYou will never think of the fairy tale "Snowhite and the Seven Dwarves" the same way again, especially when one hears the story from the stepmother's perspective. Creepy, disturbing and gory.
Amy and Dan receive a telegram with instructions to find a place where they will discover the answer to their next location for a clue. There they uncAmy and Dan receive a telegram with instructions to find a place where they will discover the answer to their next location for a clue. There they uncover two disguises and two plane tickets to Russia. Hot on their trail are several family members, and while uncovering the tasks to get the clue, Amy and Dan realize that they're not going to be able to solve all the tasks under the time restriction.
So they do the unthinkable -- they team up with the Holts. They each cover three locations, where they find and solve each piece of the clue before passing along the information.
As the story unfolds we learn something about the character of Irina Spasky. I hope we learn more about her, and the hint that is dropped is explored more. I really like what Carman did with her. He really developed her and made her an interesting character. I hope we can learn more about her and her past.
I also like how Carman got away from Amy and Dan bickering all the time. In books 3 and 4, that was a major draw back for me. Dan and Amy are in the race for their lives, and they have to battle different members of the family tree, and they have to fight? For me, that never worked, and took away from the story.
Maybe I'm biased in giving this such a positive review, perhaps owing to the fact that I was keen on reading about the Romanov family.
Title The Black Circle (The 39 Clues, #5) Author Patrick Carman Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
The 48 stories and poems in this sixth annual collection encompass a wide variety of subjects and styles. Also included is a summation of the year's fThe 48 stories and poems in this sixth annual collection encompass a wide variety of subjects and styles. Also included is a summation of the year's fictional and film works in fantasy and horror. Datlow is fiction editor at Omni magazine and Windling is a veteran fantasy editor.
Emma Bull's "Silver or Gold" Jack Cady's "Tinker" Craig Curtis's "Queequeg" M. John Harrison's "Anima" Steve Rasnic Tem's "Skin" Reginald McKnight's "The Homunculus: A Novel in One Chapter" Cristina Peri Rossi's (trans. by Mary Jane Tracy) "The Annunciation" Charles de Lint's "The Bone Woman" A. S. Byatt's "The Story of the Eldest Princess" Poppy Z. Brite's "Calcutta, Lord of Nerves" Jessica Amanda Salmonson's "In the Looking Glass, Life Is Death" Scott Bradfield's "The Parakeet and the Cat" Nicholas Royle's "Glory" Neil Gaiman's "Murder Mysteries" Steve Rasnic Tem's "Hungry" M. R. Scofidio's "Playing With" Edward Bryant's "Human Remains" Robert Silverberg's "It Comes and Goes" Grozdana Olujic's (trans. by Jascha Kessler) "The Bewitched Burr" Charlotte Watson Sherman's "Swimming Lesson" Garry Kilworth's "Memories of the Flying Ball Bike Shop" Diane de Avalle-Arce's "Bats" Nancy Farmer's "Origami Mountain" James Powell's "Ruby Laughter, Tears of Pearl" Judith Tarr's "I Sing of a Maiden" Cliff Burns's "Also Starring" Christopher Fowler's "On Edge" Joyce Carol Oates's "Martyrdom" Haruki Murakami's (trans. by Jay Rubin) "The Second Bakery Attack" Lucius Shepard's "A Little Night Music" Jo Shapcott's "Tom and Jerry visit England" Stephen Gallagher's "The Sluice" Brian W. Aldiss's "Ratbird" Gene Wolfe's "The Sailor Who Sailed After the Sun" Rick Bowes's "On Death and the Deuce" Harlan Ellison's "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" Joe Haldeman's "Graves" Ed Gorman's "The Ugly File" Midori Snyder's "Elfhouses" Sue Ellen Sloca's "Candles on the Pond" Grania Davis's "Tree of Life, Book of Death" D. R. McBride's "Puja" Clive Barker's "Hermione and the Moon" Graham Masterton's "Absence of Beast" Steve Rasnic Tem's "Rat Catcher" Jane Yolen's "Will" Jane Yolen's "The Question of the Grail" John Brunner's "In the Season of the Dressing of the Wells" Sara Gallardo's (trans. by Elizabeth Rhodes) "The Blue Stone Emperor's Thirty-Three Wives" Angela Carter's "Alice in Prague, or The Curious Room" Lisa Tuttle's "Replacements" Peter Straub's "The Ghost Village"
The stories are magical and entertaining, written by some of today's best fantasy and horror writers. The stories range from Tolkienesque tales with magical creatures to more serious fiction stories. Many sparked my imagination and of course, quite a few frightened me to a point where I left nail prints in the binding.
Title The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 1992: 6th Annual Collection Author Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
"Hear me Now! I am a Vampire, a predator of humans! I have entered herein to Call the Gods of the Undead into this sacred place. I have gathered lifef"Hear me Now! I am a Vampire, a predator of humans! I have entered herein to Call the Gods of the Undead into this sacred place. I have gathered lifeforce from humans. I am filled to overflowing! I offer up this life essence to the Vampire Gods, Those Who Have Risen. I am here to feed and be drained! I am here to die and be reborn. I am here to rise from death into life! I am here to strengthen my bond with the true gods of this world! I am a Vampire!"
I guess it just wasn't what I was expecting. I wanted a historical background of sorts, a story of what vampires truly are.
When five siblings enroll at Marlowe, an elite prep school in Manhattan, a secret advantage allows them to edge out the competition in sports, class oWhen five siblings enroll at Marlowe, an elite prep school in Manhattan, a secret advantage allows them to edge out the competition in sports, class offices, and the hearts of the most popular students. They have all—knowingly or unknowingly—exchanged their souls for supernatural gifts: mind-reading, athletic ability, great writing, control over time, and extreme beauty.
Flat. That's the word that popped, unbidden and without consideration, into my head the moment I finished "Another Faust". Despite some of the more tepid reviews, the premise and, admittedly, the phenomenal cover were enough to make me insistent upon reading this book. I thought the book would be great for students to identify with the Faustian legend, but the book is poorly executed. It really did feel like it was written by a high school student who has no understanding of how to write dialogues and description of things and places. I understood that the characters were robotic on purpose since they "sold their soul" to the devil, but they were still human and I was expecting them to be a little more personable. They weren't though, they felt too unrealistic.
Evil characters with few or no redeeming values lead this book through a meandering path of darkness. I kept waiting for something to happen; at the end there's a little bit of a conclusion but those few pages don't make up for the hundreds you had to plow through to see it.
Title Another Faust Author Daniel and Dina Nayeri Reviewed By Purplycookie...more