Hi! My name is…

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Blogging 101 Assignment: Say Your Name

Zezee with Books.

I’ve decided to deviate from the assignment a bit since I already have a name and tagline for my blog that I’m pleased with. Plus, I did a post on my blog name last year when I decided to change it from Zezee’s Link to Zezee with Books since I mostly discuss books on here. This time, I’ll discuss why I chose to call myself Zezee.

Frankly, I do not know why. My real name isn’t Zezee. It’s Anais, which I think is a wonderful name. I could have used my real name, but I decided to go with a made up one instead. Why? I guess it’s because I am shy. Using Zezee is a bit like putting on a mask, a persona, through which I interact with those who choose to visit my blog. It’s not that I’m not being myself by using this persona, but that it’s easier for me to open up and share a bit of myself. I’m otherwise a private person and the web is a public place.

Zezee is also a barrier. When I started my blog, I didn’t know what to name it and I went with the first thing that popped in my head, Zezee’s Link. Naturally, whenever someone comments on one my posts, the person refers to me as Zezee, assuming that is the blogger’s name. The first time this occurred, I considered telling the commenter that my name is actually Anais but it seemed simpler to just let everyone assume my name is Zezee. Plus, if my blog sucked, no one would know that it was Anais’ blog that sucked. So Zezee it remained.

Now I’ve grown to like to the name Zezee and I doubt I’ll change it even as I become more confident and proud of my blog and my growth as a blogger. Blogging is relatively new to me since I recently began to blog more often and commit myself to it. My tagline—“random  as my thoughts go”—will remain because that sums up the persona behind the blog and gives the blog freedom from the limits of its name. So I’ll mostly discuss books but a visitor can also expect posts on other things (art, TV shows, etc.). It all depends on what catches my attention and propels me write.

I hope you enjoy visiting my blog! :D

“Eragon” by Christopher Paolini


Each time we revisit a text, we approach it with a new perspective because we’re always changing. While some may see rereading as a waste of time, I enjoy revisiting texts to observe how much my views and enjoyment of it has changed. It’s highly unlikely that my reaction to the reread is the same as my initial read. My enjoyment of the text shifts either because I can better understand and appreciate the author’s craft and message; or because I am able to spot the faults in the story, which curdles my enjoyment. Sometimes my reaction to the text is altered by experiences that have changed my outlook on certain issues. Other times my involvement with people and other media influence me toward certain opinions that may affect how I interpret a story.

Since I reread A Game of Thrones a while back, I decided to reread Eragon as well. Actually, it was under the duress of being late for work that caused me to grab this book from my shelf. I did not have time to mull over a decision so I grabbed the first thing I thought would be pleasing. I enjoyed reading Eragon the first time so I’ll enjoy it as much this time, I thought.

Quick summary:

A fifteen-year-old boy name Eragon discovers a mysterious blue stone on one of his hunting trips into the forbidding mountains of the Spine. He carries it home to the farm where he lives with his uncle and cousin on the outskirts of a village, and tries to determine what type of stone it is. Stumped, he shows it to his uncle who determines that the stone must be of great value because of its peculiarity and decides they should trade it. However, because of the harsh conditions in the country (called Alagaesia) caused by urgal attacks, it’s impossible to trade the stone, which no one knows the value of.

Eragon soon discovers that the stone is an egg when a dragon hatches from it. He raises the dragon in secret and pesters the local storyteller, Brom, with questions on the fabled dragon riders whenever he’s puzzled by the creature. He names the dragon Saphira, after learning of the name from Brom. Saphira grows quickly and the two—dragon and Eragon—form a strong bond. They are able to communicate telepathically. However, Eragon’s idyllic affair with Saphira does not last. A pair of odd individuals visit the village asking about the stone and soon work their way to the farm where Eragon lives. They torture his uncle for answers on the whereabouts of the stone. Though Eragon tried to save his uncle by carrying him to the village to have his injuries nursed, his uncle passes away and Eragon leaves soon after in pursuit of the strangers. Brom accompanies him on the chase and informs him that the strangers are grotesque creatures called Ra’zac that are known for killing dragons.

The story picks up here as Eragon travels across Alagaesia with Brom and Saphira in pursuit of the Ra’zac. Along the way, he learns more about the evil king, Galbatorix, who rules Alagaesia, and the rebel group, the Varden, that is trying to usurp him. Brom also teaches him about the dragon riders, how to fight with fist and sword, how to read and use magic, and even a bit about his ancestry. Brom knew Eragon’s mother and since Eragon is an orphan who knows nothing about his parents, he is eager to learn more about them. His adventure carries him to various cities in Alagaesia—the port city, Teirm; Dras-Leona, which is a city south of Eragon’s village that has an unsettling religion that honors the Ra’zac; and Tronjheim, a dwarf city in the mountain Farthen Dûr, which houses the Varden. He encounters various situations that robs him of his naiveté and meets numerous characters that leave an impression—the odd witch Angela and her aloof werecat Solembaum; the resilient Murtagh; and the alluring elf, Arya, amongst others. With his dragon, Eragon must fight to protect the Varden from a Shade (a sorcerer) and the infiltration of an army of urgals.

I hated the movie but this  still is cool.

I hated the movie but this still is cool.

My reactions: (mild spoilers)

My first reading of Eragon was a splendid experience. First, there was the matter of the cover that tantalized me whenever I saw it sitting on my cousin’s bookshelf. I love fantasy in all media and a dragon on the front of novel is enough to tempt me to peek beneath the cover. Back then (in middle/high school days), it took a while to build up an interest in the story. I found the beginning boring but soon after, the story took off as the plot raced ahead at a steady stride. I liked the twists and turns of the story and I completed my reading eager to know what happens next. It was after completing the novel that I discovered Paolini was only 15 when he began writing it, which doubled my appreciation of the story. I thought that was a great feat for a teen and I dreamt of doing the same.

Upon completing this story a second time, I realize that my reaction has dampen somewhat, which sours my overall experience. I rather the elation I felt upon completing the first read to the touch of dissatisfaction I currently feel. Now I think the story is okay, a bit less than average. Again, it takes a while for the plot to get going and for me to develop an interest in the story. I think that’s because Paolini uses those first chapters to lay the foundation of the story so not much happens except Eragon finding Saphira’s egg and learning about her, which is okay, but Paolini’s writing style, which is a bit spare on the details, makes the narration dry.

My knowledge of fantasy novels has expanded a bit since my first reading and I now notice how old and overused Paolini’s structure is. As some would say, Eragon is the same old farm boy realizes he’s special and gain super powers to save the world story. Though overused, I am a sucker for such stories and I still think Paolini carried it off well. Such stories have been told time and again since Tolkien’s LOTR series and even before that. I think people find such stories appealing because it shows that everyone has something special inside him and anyone can achieve greatness. It’s an attractive thought.

“To know who you are without any delusions or sympathy is a moment of revelation that no one experiences unscathed.” (Brom)

But I think Paolini falls short on Eragon’s inexplicable desire for Arya. Sure he’s a teenager and Arya is a hottie so he’s instantly attracted and obsessed with her but he acts as one in love and I think those feelings developed too quickly to be believable. Still, it’s possible that this is simply an example of love at first sight but for all that has occurred in Eragon’s life, I think he should have exercised more caution. How does he know it’s not some trick of the Shade or Galbatorix that shows him Arya in his scrying? (Maybe I’m just reaching here.) I also think Eragon’s suspicions of Murtagh as possibly evil while they travelled to the Varden were uncalled for though it was needed to sow seeds of distrust towards Murtagh in Eragon and Saphira to prep them for what is coming. Eragon has no qualms about the soldiers who were probably killed or hurt when Murtagh rescued him from the Shade but he feels bad for the bandit that ambushed them in the forests of Farthen Dûr. This makes no sense to me.

However, I believe Paolini does a good job on his character development and I like that they are not all either entirely good or bad. There are a few gray ones who fall in between those polar poles of morality. I appreciate the moral complexity Paolini infuses in the story in the form of Murtagh and the situations that Eragon encounters. Often, Eragon and Saphira have to question their moral standards, which pushes them past their innocence and inexperience to face the truths of the world. They ponder the validity and morality of their actions since what they do shapes who they will become.

Eragon is a good book and I would recommend it to young readers interested in fantasy novels. It can be used as a starter text; one that young readers can grow with as the characters develop throughout the series. I did not enjoy it as much this time but Eragon does have potential and I think it would be a better read if it were a tinge more descriptive and had cut back on the journey scenes used to relay backstory/history and the like. Of course, it was a joy to once again meet my favorite characters—Angela and her werecat, Solembaum. Along with Nasuada and Murtagh, Eragon’s cousin, Roran, is another favorite of mine. We get to read from his perspective in the sequel, Eldest, and watch him grow from a young man into a warrior and leader. There’s much to look forward to in this series. I might be swayed by the characters to reread the other books.

Eldest (book 2)—>

Quotes from the book:

“Respect the past; you never know how it may affect you.”

“What is the worth of anything we do?

The worth is in the act. Your worth halts when you surrender the will to change and experience life.”

“…only the resolute find their identity…”

“Sometimes I wonder if we can ever understand the true motives of the people around us. They all seem to have secrets.

It is the way of the world. Ignore all the schemes and trust in the nature of each person.”

“These books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”

“If you can’t understand your enemies, how can you expect to anticipate them?”

“The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.”

“Knowing is independent of being.”

“Before you can defend yourself, you have to understand the exact nature of the forces directed at you.”

14 Books I Want to Read but Never Remember to

Read books

These are listed in the order I remember them.

  1. Anything by Charles Dickens
    • …because I have a strong feeling that I would enjoy reading Dickens’ tomes. I’ve often seen his name mentioned in reviews of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books and I think that she listed him as one of her literary influences. I’ve also read that, like Rowling, his characters are whimsical, which is highly appealing to me. I can’t wait to try one of his books but whenever I visit the bookstore, I always think his books “Too big to buy right now.”
  2. If on a winter’s night a traveler… by Italo Calvino
    • …because I’ve heard that it’s a book about reading a book of the same title and I find that mind-boggling. But for the life of me, I always forget Calvino’s name when I visit the bookstore and though I remember the book’s title, I always think that it’s a sentence in book and that it’s too ambiguous a clue for the bookseller to search by.
  3. Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
    • …because I want to know if I’ll love her books no matter what. I’ve read some very bad reviews on this novel and it makes me wonder if my reading experience will be similar to those I’ve read. Would I also think Rowling dropped the ball with this novel? That she’s better suited for children’s books only? Only reading will tell. I bought this book shortly after it was published but it’s sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust. You see, it’s a hardback copy and it’s quite a nuisance to haul a big-ass hardback novel everywhere you go and I tend to travel with the books I’m currently reading so for now it sits on shelf with a smattering of dust for company.
  4. Anything by Nalo Hopkinson
    • …because I’ve realized that I’ve hardly read any fantasy novels by someone of African descent much less from the Caribbean or even the country I’m from. Actually, the only fantasy/sci-fi novel I’ve read by a person of color is Kindred by Octavia Butler…and I didn’t like it :/. Well, I read it in college and I really, really hated the cover of the book. (It’s the one of the girl in white on the cover. I thought it was eerie. Yea, I know that makes no sense but it’s how I felt). Also, I tend to dislike stories that incorporate time travel. (Yes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as well. It’s one of my least liked books in the series.) Anyways, somehow I discovered Hopkinson and after learning that she’s from the Jamaica and that her fantasy novels tend to include Caribbean culture, I immediately wanted to read her books. But I always forget this want when I visit the bookstore and so forget to search for her. I guess I’ll have to place the purchase online.
  5. The Odyssey by Homer
    • …because Homer is the dude! Everyone has heard or read some sort of reference to The Odyssey and numerous authors refer to the text in their writing so I believe I must experience it for myself. Plus, I enjoy reading anything that references Greek mythology. I did read bits of The Odyssey in high school and in college but now I’d like to read the entire text. I always consider purchasing it when I visit the bookstore but somehow I always walk out without it. I probably had the same thought as when I see Dickens’ tomes: “Too big to buy right now.”
  6. I forgot both the title and the author’s name but it’s an account of Roman emperors’ lives. The book is quite scandalous.
    • …because I’m nosy. Whenever this book is mentioned, I’m always curious to read it to find out more. But, as you can tell, I can’t remember the title or the author’s name so I have yet to purchase it. If somehow you know what book I’m talking about, please share the title and author’s name.
  7. One Thousand and One Nights and The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
    • …because they are all classic texts from cultures other than Western Europe and if I read The Odyssey, I must read these too. I always visit their shelves whenever I go to a bookstore but they seem quite big so in the store they remain for now.
  8. Paradise Lost by John Milton
    • …because I am curious to know what it’s about. I’ve heard that it’s on Satan’s fall from Heaven and I would like to see how Milton details that. I guess I’ll have to read my Bible before I start on this so it’s easier for me to note how closely or how far he strays from the Bible’s recount of the event (it’s highly likely I won’t do this but thinking I will makes me feel great). I did attempt to read this back in college…probably freshman year. I gave up after a few sentences. I do have the book (since freshman year) and I have yet to crack it open again. To be revisited.
  9. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
    • …because I read Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor. Linden Hills is one of my favorite novels and the neighborhood that serves as the setting of the story symbolizes the different levels of hell Dante describes. Another reason why I want to read The Divine Comedy is because it’s often referenced in other texts and I like knowing where the references are from otherwise I feel left out (as if the author is sharing an inside joke). I have the book on my bookshelf. I tried reading it once but didn’t have the patience (that was in college as well). To be revisited.
  10. Donald Writes No More by Eddie Stone
    • …because I’ve read Donald Goines’ books and I know that the stories are a bit autobiographical. I always wanted to learn a bit more about Goines. His stories display the harsh reality of life on the streets. He doesn’t soften the blow of that reality but presents it as it is. I’ve searched in stores but have never found this book. I guess I’ll have to order it from Amazon.
  11. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
    • …because I must. I wanted to read this book before I even knew what it was about just because I liked its cover. It was years later that I discovered what it was about and that heightened my want to read it. Usually, whenever I visit the bookstore I’d go over to the sci-fi/fantasy section and gaze at the cover wondering what the lady on it is up to with that big-ass sword but now I have a copy that I bought second-hand at Second Story Books in Dupont Circle at one of its sidewalk sales. To be started.
  12. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
    • …because it’s intriguing. I forgot where it was that I first heard of this book maybe it was the title that caught me. But since discovering it, I’ve always wanted to read it but have never gotten around to purchasing it. I pick it up every time I visit the bookstore and leaf through its pages but when it’s time to decide what stays and what goes, The Psychopath Test always goes. I tell myself, “Next time I’ll get it.”
  13. Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch
    • …because it’s on mythology. I like to think of myself as a mythology enthusiast so of course I want to read this one too. This is another book I visit every time I go to a bookstore and I never buy it. I always tell myself “It’s not time yet.”
  14. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    • …because it’s always recommended to me and it has received great reviews. Plus, I’ve read that Coelho’s parents tried to turn him from becoming a writer by committing him to a mental institution three times. That made me want to know more about him and his work. Like The Psychopath Test, I pick it up every time I visit the bookstore but always leave it behind. “Next time I’ll get it.”

More Lists from Zezee:

Books on writing

Books on books or reading

Reading Challenge: 60 Classics in 5 Years

Quick Find: All books discussed on this blog

Jamaica Kincaid wins American Book Award


I am happy for Jamaica Kincaid. I must admit, I first read her book Lucy in high school only because her first name is Jamaica and I thought that was where she’s from. Silly me. Kincaid is actually Antiguan. It took a while to work up and interest in Lucy but it was an okay read. I think this honor is well deserved. Congrats, Jamaica Kincaid!

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:

Jamaica Kincaid

Author Jamaica Kincaid and film critic Armond White are among the winners of the 35th annual American Book Awards, which celebrate multiculturalism and free expression, the Associated Press reports.

The Before Columbus Foundation announced Tuesday that Kincaid was cited for the novel “See Now Then.” White received an “Anti-Censorship Award” because of his being “unfairly removed” from the New York Film Critics Circle. In January, he was expelled after allegedly heckling “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen at the group’s annual awards banquet. White, known for his contrarian views, has called the allegations a “barrage of lies.”

Other winners include Andrew Bacevich’s nonfiction “Breach of Trust” and Alex Espinoza’s novel “The Five Acts of Diego Leon.” The awards will be presented Oct. 26 in San Francisco.

The Before Columbus Foundation is a nonprofit founded by author-playwright Ishmael Reed.

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Best Friends to the End: “Vampire Academy” by Richelle Mead

The is the movie poster. I prefer it to the book covers.

The is the movie poster. I prefer it to the book covers.

Watching the movie before reading the book seems the best way to go. I first tested this theory with Beautiful Creatures. I enjoyed the movie so much that I forced myself through the first pages of the story to discover a book I enjoyed. Again, the theory proves true for Vampire Academy. The movie was entertaining and Zoey Deutch, who played Rose, was funny (after reading the book, I realized that she did a great job of capturing the character).

Quick summary:

Rosemarie “Rose” Hathaway and the princess, Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir, are best friends connected by a one-sided psychic bond that allows Rose to access Lissa’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. They attend St. Vladimir’s Academy, a boarding school for vampires (moroi, the good vampires) and their guardians (dhampir, half-vampires that protect the moroi from strigoi, evil vampires). When the novel begins, Rose and Lissa have been on the run for two years. St. Vladimir’s is no longer a safe place for the princess so Rose, who proclaims herself Lissa’s guardian, hatched a plan to ditch school and seek protection in the wide, unknown world.

But within a few pages, a gang of dhampirs catch the girls and carry them back to the academy to face the headmistress, who scolds Lissa and threatens to expel Rose. However, Lissa uses her power of persuasion on the headmistress to lessen Rose’s punishment. The girls are instead given tighten security—Lissa has Dmitri Belikov, who led the dhampirs that recaptured them, as her bodyguard, and Rose is placed on a tight leash. The girls, who were once popular due to Lissa’s background, soon find that the social hierarchy of the academy had changed during their absence and there’s a new queen bee on top. Though this nettles Rose, she decides to remain cautious and advises Lissa to remain on the periphery of the in-crowd to avoid attention. However, this does not stop the threats that first propelled the girls to ditch school. Someone is leaving injured, sometimes dead, animals for Lissa to find which leaves her distraught. Unlike Rose who is dark, wild, and meddlesome, Lissa is light, innocent, and docile. She loves animals and hates to see anyone or anything hurt. She is very passionate.

Lissa also has a strange power—another reason why they ditched school. Moroi are usually able to manipulate one of the four elements—earth, wind, water, fire. But Lissa shows no propensity in either of these and that worries her. Her powers are far more strange and powerful and she is cautioned not to use them. The matter of her powers coupled with the threats and life as a teenager at a school where status is everything stresses Lissa so she at first finds solace in the chapel (churches do not repel these vampires) and develops a friendship with an unlikely chap. Meanwhile, Rose does her best to protect Lissa while training to become a guardian and developing a major crush on her mentor, Dmitri. Things take a turn for the worse when Rose is hurt and Lissa uses her power. In the end, the girls discover that those they least suspect are the ones who wish them harm.

My reaction:

The story was an okay read and the movie wasn’t spectacular but both were entertaining. Actually, it was the intensity between Rose and Dmitri that incited me to read the story. I wanted to know if the characters were as passionate in the book as those in the movie. (I think the passion between Rose and Dmitri is stronger in the book. Danila Kozlovsky was a bit stiff in his portrayal of Dmirti.) I also wanted to know if the book was as highly suggestive as the movie. I thought this aspect of the movie was unnecessary but after reading the book, I think it fits. As such, Vampire Academy reminds me of the T.V. show Gossip Girl with a paranormal twist.

Vampire Academy gif

There are a few things I liked about this story. First is the different take on the vampire/paranormal romance trend. Though the novel is set in the U.S., the cultural influence is Russian. I also like the addition of saints who were once vampires. For me, that’s a major twist. Vampires are generally seen as monstrous creatures that prey on innocent (virginal) souls so it’s interesting to see such monsters as not only a part of the church, but driven to do good. The strength of Rose and Lissa’s friendship is also a bonus. Usually in novels such as these where social status is of utmost importance to the characters, the female characters are usually at each other’s throats trying to claw their way to the top. But despite all that has happened to them, Rose and Lissa always try to protect each other even when they fall out. They are the bestest of friends.

Now I both like and dislike this psychic connection between the girls. It does help to move the story along without the author having to write from two perspectives or shifting from the first-person narrator but sometimes I wished we could read from Lissa’s perspective and see how she feels about having someone in her head even if it is her best friend. Sometimes Rose does selfish things for the sake of protecting Lissa. How does Lissa feel about that? There is that one time when Lissa lashes out but I prefer hearing from her perspective because she’s usually quiet otherwise. The torture Lissa endures is an annoyance. Although we later learn why Lissa is being taunted with injured animals, I found that it was too drastic an act for the explanation. From such taunts, I expected that someone intended to seriously harm Lissa or even kill her and though the real reason is just as damaging to her person, I think the gruesome acts could have been lessened or the reason for them heightened.

Vampire Academy gif2

And then there is Rose. I admire her spirit but it took a while for me to warm up to her. She can be selfish and petulant, and she seems to lack self-respect due to her somewhat promiscuous nature. She is a complex character and therefore the reasons why I alternately like and dislike her are often the same. She is sultry, flirtatious, and fiesty, which I like; but I didn’t like that she sometimes seems to encourage the disrespectful innuendos the guys throw at her. She is a tough girl, though, and I admire that. She tries to stay positive and strong for both herself and Lissa which is admirable given their circumstance but her apparent toughness is overcompensation for her vulnerability…I guess her wantonness with her self-respect is overcompensation for her vulnerability as well. I think she has abandonment issues since her mother is away (Rose was raised at the academy) and is not very affectionate.

Overall, the book was a quick read. I bought the e-book because I wasn’t sure if I would like the story but I did. I am tempted to conitinue with the series to learn more about Rose’s relationship with her mother and Lissa’s powers. As stated before, I did enjoy the movie but I disliked the unnecessary changes made to the story. I guess the intent with the movie was to make the story more comical. Even so, I did not like how the headmistress was portrayed. She was highly incompetent. And I also did not like how Lissa was portrayed when she started to use more of her power of persuasion. She seemed a bit evil in the movie. However, I do think the strigoi attack at the beginning was great. It was a good way of introducing them into the story. With that said, I recommend you watch the movie before reading the book as well. There’re less chances of getting upset with the changes that way.

Frostbite (book 2) —>

Harry Potter Hogsmeade

Favorite Harry Potter Book Covers

While laying in bed this morning contemplating what to write, the idea popped into my head to do a post on my favorite Harry Potter book covers. Yes, this is just an excuse to indulge in my Harry Potter fanaticism. I guess I will be rereading the seventh book soon as well. It’s about time too. The Harry Potter bug usually bites me once a year and infects me with a need to reread a Harry Potter novel, usually the first book. But for now I’ll focus on the covers.

Back in July, Bloomsbury announced that it will publish new covers for the UK edition of the Harry Potter books this September. Last year, Scholastic released new covers for the US edition of the books for its fifteenth anniversary. Here, I will compare the covers (the original vs. the most recent US and UK covers). I will highlight my favorites and will list the covers I like that were published in other countries.

When placed together, it’s easy to see the different elements the illustrators chose to emphasize. Kazu Kibuishi, who illustrated Scholastic’s 2013 covers (The illustration of Hogsmeade above is by Kibuishi.), always tries to place the focus on Harry, which makes sense because the story is about him. So Harry is always placed in the foreground sometimes as larger than the other characters or with a spotlight (glowing glasses). Jonny Duddle, the UK illustrator of Bloomsbury’s September 2014 books, emphasizes the obstacles Harry faces. Harry is usually drawn as a smaller figure in comparison to the other images in the scene to portray the enormity of the events he faces.

Mary Granpré, who designed the original US covers, maintains a cheerful/innocent tone that was probably perceived as more appealing to younger kids. Even as the book became more serious the covers still maintained a sense of innocence. The same goes for the original UK covers, which were designed by Thomas Taylor, Cliff Wright, Giles Greenfield, and Jason Cockcroft. Children’s literature has evolved much since the Harry Potter novels were first published and the evolution of the covers certainly show that. These days, it’s not surprising to see more serious, scary images on children’s book covers. So, without further ado…

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Scholastic’s August 2013 cover by Kazu Kibuishi.

I feel guilty for liking Kibuishi’s cover more than Mary Grandpré’s original. I get a bit sentimental over books and hate seeing the covers change sometimes but I do find this cover more appealing than the first. I like that it features Diagon Alley because it’s the presence of Diagon Alley that convinces us that a secret, magical world is waiting to be explored. I also like that the illustration consists mostly of blue, which gives it a mystical feel, and that Harry is placed in a spotlight, which is formed by Hagrid’s size. Hagrid is so big that, along with the crowd of people, even the buildings seem to shuffle around to give him space. Plus, the color around Harry and Hagrid is lighter, like a halo. Hedwig, perched on Harry’s shoulder, also helps.

The original UK cover by Thomas Taylor.

The original US cover by Mary Grandpré.

Harry’s face seems to have the same expression on both the original US and UK covers. This cover will always be a favorite simply because it is the first.

Bloomsbury’s September 2014 cover by Jonny Duddle.

This is my second choice because of Harry’s expression. He looks a bit puckish here. (Click the newer versions for a larger image.) Continue reading

5 Fun Ways to Say Boring


Expanding my vocabulary.

Originally posted on Just English:


[ahn-wee, ahn-wee]

ennuiNot all boredom is created equal: some of it is fleeting and circumstantial, and some of it teeters on existential crisis. Ennui tends toward the latter–or at least it used to. Derived from the French verb enuier meaning “to annoy,” its peak usage was in Victorian and Romantic literature to express a profound sense of weariness, even a spiritual emptiness or alienation from one’s surroundings and time. Nowadays it’s used at both ends of the boredom spectrum, but its deep literary history lends even the most shallow disinterest a grandiose air.



bromidicBromide is a chemical compound that was commonly used in sedatives in the 1800 and 1900s. It took on a figurative sense to mean a trite saying or verbal sedative, or a person who is platitudinous and boring, in the early 1900s with help of the U.S. humorist Frank…

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