Top Ten Tuesday: Best Character Names

So, this week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday is Best Character Names. I decided to look at ten of the most creative Harry Potter names. JK Rowling is so creative with her names in the Harry Potter series, so it’s a bit difficult to choose my top 10!

  1. Argus Filch

Argus was a giant with 100 eyes in Greek mythology. He served as a watchman – very fitting for the caretaker.

Filch means to steal in British English, often in a sneaky way.

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2. Bellatrix Lestrange

As part of the Black family, Bellatrix is named after a star. Bellatrix is known as the amazon star. The amazons were warrior women in Greek mythology. Lestrange is a play on words for l’etrange, which means the strange one in French.

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3. Caractacus Burke

Burke is the surname of an infamous serial killer, William Burke. He murdered people in the 1820’s and sold their bodies to doctors for medical research. I think it’s perfect for the owner of the shop on Knockturn Alley that sells items like the Hand of Glory.

4. Dolores Umbridge

In Latin “Dolor” means pain, sadness, grief, and resentment (very fitting for this abusive ‘teacher’) and umbridge is a play on words on “umbrage” meaning to take offence. She does take offence frequently, particularly to ‘half-breeds’.

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5. Fenrir Greyback

Fenrir is a wolf monster in Greek mythology, and Greyback is another monster in Greek mythology.

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6. Fleur Delacour

Jo has said before that Fleur Delacour is a play on the French “fleur de la cour” meaning flower of the court. Given that she’s meant to be beautiful, it seems quite fitting.

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7. Merope Gaunt

Merope is named after a star in the cluster Pleiades. The star was named for a nymph daughter in Greek mythology who married a mortal and had a son with him. The myth says she’s the dullest star in the constellation because she feels ashamed for marrying a mortal. Interesting for Merope Gaunt who married a muggle and had a child with him, despite the wishes of her prejudiced family.

Gaunt means lean and haggard, particularly because of hunger and suffering. I feel like this describes how she looks in the pensieve chapters.

8. Pomona Sprout

Pomona Sprout, teacher of Herbology,  is named for the Royal goddess of fruit trees and gardens. Sprout means to grow, but are also those yuk green things Brits eat at Christmas.

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9. Regulus Black

Regulus is Latin for the little king. He is also named after the brightest star in the Leo constellation, which is interesting because despite not being in the Gryffindor lion house, he is extremely brave.

10. Xenophilius Lovegood

Xeno = strange and phile = love. As Luna’s eccentric father he definitely has a love for odd things, like the Deathly Hallows and crumple-horned snorkacks.

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Top 5 Tuesday: 5 Ending Lines

This week’s Top 5 Tuesday theme is Top 5 Ending Lines.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

  • All was well.

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

  • But there are much worse games to play.

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

  • “Then” said Poirot “having placed my solution before you, I have the honour to retire from the case.”

The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

  • Her family half carried Terri Weedon back down the royal-blue carpet, and the congregation averted its eyes.

Weetzie Bat – Francesca Lia Block

  • I don’t know about happily ever after… but I know about happily, Weetzie Bat thought.

I can’t wait to read others’ thoughts on their favourite ending lines (I am wondering just how many have HP on their lists!)

Book Thoughts: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli – 2015 – YA LGBT

Summary:

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal…

My Thoughts:

The book is told from Simon’s point of view, in first person which I tend to prefer. I liked Simon’s character and I felt he was quite believable (not being a gay teenage boy) but I could identify with some of his issues while he was chatting with Blue, and also some of the crap he goes through when he’s outed. I thought it was great he was so close to his drama teacher, but I imagine most LGBT+ kids don’t have that sort of support at school.

Also, a lot of people say they don’t like Leah but I felt a bit sorry for her when Abby and Nick just decided not to invite her to things. I wish that the story around that had been explained, so I’m hoping the sequel will go into that a bit more. I really didn’t like Abby though – I think because she was the antithesis of the sort of girl I was at school, yet people seem to identify much more with her when you read reviews. I’d have also liked more development of the other characters like Nick and Garrett. Nick is supposed to be Simon’s best friend, but he just feels so flat.

Some of my favourite scenes from the book (spoilers!) include the part of the email where Simon tells Blue that “I don’t think my heart can handle waiting a full week for an email from you.” I mean, how cute! And also where Simon finds Blue’s phone number in the t-shirt Blue gave him. Cute, but not sickly. I also really liked the reference to some of the Brit culture things in the book. You so often hear in YA books Brits referring to American culture, but here I was reading in an American book about Harry Potter and Dickens – made a nice change! 

I did have problems getting into the book though – and it wasn’t until I read other people’s reviews that I realised others had the same issue. I’m not really sure when I started enjoying the book, rather than reading it because of the hype, but I found as I went on I really liked the prose just as I’d expected to.

I really enjoyed the ending of the book. I feel like it could just be a one-off (I’m not a fan of series), but there are enough questions to make a sequel worthwhile, and I’m looking forward to reading Leah on the Offbeat, especially because it’s a book where the main character is bisexual – there aren’t enough bisexual characters out there who are portrayed properly.

I really like the cover too – it feels quite iconic, and Hank Green did a video talking about this cover amongst others that you may find interesting if you like the cover too.

I gave Simon… 4/5 on Goodreads. I’d definitely recommend this book if you are even later to the party than I am! And I can’t wait to see the film adaptation – I think I’ve missed it in cinemas (my local never seemed to get it) but looking forward to it on DVD.

Epic Reads Tag

I saw this tag a few months ago on A Dance with Books and I thought I would do it today (read: totally stole this tag). Hope to see this on some other people’s blogs if you’ve not already done it.

I’m so predictable but it would be JK Rowling and Hermione Granger. I’d want to pick their brains – Jo’s for her amazing creativity and all the answers she has about the wizarding worly, and Hermione because she might be the most intelligent character I’ve ever read. I can’t really cook through so I’d be ordering in pizza and we’d have ice cream and loads of snacks 🙂

What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?

I can’t pick Harry Potter again… I’m reading the Hunger Games trilogy at the moment so I guess I’d like to read a book about Haymitch’s games.

Which two characters (not from the same book) would make a good couple?

I’m not really bothered about romance outside of the relationships characters are already in. I didn’t even spot Ginny/Harry because I loved Cho so much…

If you ran into your favourite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?

“Please sign my book”. Do I honestly have to say who my favourite author is?

What book made you a reader and why?

Why is every answer Harry Potter? It’s genuinely the first series I read to myself though, and I started when I was about 7. I also loved Jacqueline Wilson when I was younger.

Incendio! Your bookshelf just caught fire. Show the book you’d save.

Now I need to prepare a whole sack of books that I’d just grab, and store them right beside my dog’s bed.

Which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one and why?

The only dystopian I’ve ever read is the Hunger Games, and no way would I want to be in that world.

What is you most epic read of all time?

Depending how you define “epic” but the longest book I’ve read on my Goodreads is Order of the Phoenix at well over 700 pages.

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Opening Lines

The theme for this week’s Top 5 Tuesday is Top 5 Opening Lines. Some of these are books I’ve already read, and others are books I have on my ‘owned-books TBR’ and the lines make me want to read them soon.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (aka perhaps the most famous opening line in modern literature)

  • Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number 4 Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

  • In my first memory, I am three years old and I am trying to kill my sister.

Pretending to Dance – Diane Chamberlain

  • I’m a good liar.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (OK, technically it’s two lines!)

  • Dear Friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen, and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.

The Snowman – Jo Nesbo

  • It was the day the snow came.

 

I’m looking forward to reading what other people have as their top opening lines!

Podcasts I’ve been enjoying

I’ve recently started listening to podcasts again (I’ve listened to them on and off for about 10 years) and I thought today I’d share some of my current favourites. Let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations!

Alohomora!

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Alohomora is my favourite Harry Potter podcast. They started off by rereading the series and doing an in-depth analysis of each chapter. Those episodes are still available but now they do character analysis and revisits of their favourite chapters, because the hosts have changed over the years and there’s some great new analysis of the chapters. Check it out if you love Harry Potter.

Goosebuds

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This is a podcast with three funny American guys and they talk about random nerdy crap before they dissect (read: rip apart) a Goosebumps book. Sometimes they do the choose your own adventures books, other times just the normal Goosebumps – a lot of the time they haven’t even read the book they’ve just watched the TV programmes, but it’s truly entertaining. Sometimes I just burst into laughter in the middle of the street.

Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review

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This is a film analysis podcast of the newest releases. I don’t often go to the cinema, but I like to listen to this podcast every week to see if there’s anything worth paying the expensive ticket prices, or anything I want to download and watch. They also talk about a lot of older films that new films are reminiscent of so it’s great to find some older classics you might not have heard before.

Mike Bennett Podcasts

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I’ve listened to Mike probably longer than any podcast. It started off with his Hall of Mirrors series, which were short stories that were creepy and a bit gross, and he’s done other series such as a zombie series called After the Plague, and my personal favourite Underwood and Flinch. U&F is a vampire story that came out around the same time as Twilight (although it’s still ongoing) but it couldn’t be further from Twilight. It reminds me of classic vampire stories, but more modern. If you like HP Lovecraft he’s also read a lot of them.

The Generation Why Podcast

How to listen to Generation Why Podcast

My final favourite on the list (although a firm favourite, nonetheless) is The Generation Why Podcast, hosted by Aaron and Justin. They talk about true crime cases, as well as mysteries and conspiracies. The cases they normally talk about are American, and I normally prefer British true crime (because I’m usually familiar with the case) but the way they present them is so interesting and easy to follow.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with my favourite colour on the front

My favourite colour (at the moment) is orange, and Top Ten Tuesday this week is top 10 books with my favourite colour on the cover.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Hunger Games

Kiss

One Day

Where Rainbows End

Fire and Rain

Murder on the Orient Express

The Casual Vacancy

The Silkworm

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

 

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That was a lot harder than I expected to even find 10 books on my Goodreads Read list with orange on the cover (Sometimes it looks red… but I’ve decided it’s definitely orange.)  Have you read any of these books, and did you enjoy them?

Top 5 Tuesday: 5 books I’d save from a fire

This week’s topic for Top 5 Tuesday, as you’ll see from the title is “5 Books I’d save from a fire.” Essentially 5 books I’d say are irreplaceable to me.

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 

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I’ve had my copy of the Philosopher’s Stone since I was about seven years old, so it’s incredibly battered. Naturally I’d choose to save my whole Harry Potter collection but if I could only choose 1 it would be PS. I got my copy from my grandparents so it’s extra special there, and I don’t think I’d be reading today if I hadn’t had HP growing up.

P.S. I Love You

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No, this isn’t the best written book in the world, but it’s the book that taught me that grief is a natural process and that you do get through it. It’s the book I always turn to when I want to read something sad but funny.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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This book is probably one of my favourite I’ve read where a character has a mental health condition, and it’s one of my favourite American books.

Another Night Another Day

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Again this is a great book about mental health, and it felt closer to my experience of having mental health issues, I think especially because it’s focused round the British system and it’s a bit more realistic than Perks.

And then there were none

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This is my favourite crime novel I’ve read, and despite the fact that I know the ending I can never see the clues if I reread it. This makes it into so many of my top lists, but I just really love it.

I’m looking forward to seeing what other people have said they would save! Let me know if there’s anything here that you’ve read and love too.

Book Thoughts: Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

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Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz – 2012 – YA LGBT

Summary:

Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.

My Thoughts:

I liked the character of Ari most of the time, although I did prefer Dante. I thought Ari was well-written, but I just wanted someone a bit less miserable to read about! I also liked the parents in the book. Gay people may not always have parents as supporting as this, but it’s nice to read a positive book.

The book is told from Ari’s point of view, and I found him a bit unbelievable in that way some characters are in YA – not that I didn’t like the way he was written, but I sometimes find characters in YA are not the most realistic. I had the same thing with Dante, but I liked the way the characters weren’t particularly believable. The relationship wouldn’t have played out in this way at all if it was a realistic book. It feels almost like a fairy tale.
I liked the style of writing in the novel – it reminded me of David Levithan’s books, and was nice and a simple read.

There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about this book, but I didn’t really feel like Ari’s side of the relationship was as well developed as Dante’s. It felt like the book could have been an unrequited story of friendship until a couple of chapters before the end, so I’d have liked it to be a bit more romantic – I guess that doesn’t go with Ari’s character though.

I gave the book 4 stars on Goodreads. I would recommend the book for an easy to read LGBT novel.

Top 5 Tuesday

The Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly challenge hosted by Bionic Book Worm. This week the challenge is Top 5 series I won’t be finishing:

  1. Twilight series – Stephanie Meyer.

This book series was huge when I was in high school (about 10 years ago…) and being a big bookworm myself I tried to read the series. I got about halfway through the first book and gave up. I enjoyed the first film, but I think I was just a bit too old for the series.

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2. Hercule Poirot – Agatha Christie

I read Murder on the Orient Express and wasn’t as much of a fan as when I read And Then There Were None. I’m not opposed to reading more Poirot books as there’s over 30 novels, and many short stories in the “series” I’m not actively going to be finishing each book.

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3. Maximum Ride – James Patterson

I loved the first few books of this series, but by the time the fourth book was released I think I was just too old for them. They don’t have great reviews on Goodreads, but I did enjoy reading about a female character when I was 11 years old who was the leader of (what I thought at the time) a really cool group of kids.

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4. The Shining – Stephen King

I quite enjoy The Shining, and I’ve read a few other Stephen King novels but I’m just not in a rush to go out and get the follow up in the series (Doctor Sleep). There are other King books I’d rather get to first.

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5. Bridget Jones – Helen Fielding

I quite liked Bridget Jones Diary, and The Edge of Reason, but I’m just not bothered about reading Bridget Jones’ Baby. Again I think it’s just a series that no longer appeals to me, and the writing of the first two in the series wasn’t outstanding. It’s a fun read, and a great break up novel, so I’d still say it’s a series worth reading if you like your chick lit.

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