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Cram Your Summer Reading In Now

by Alexandra - 0 Comment(s)

Photo Credit: http://www.etsy.com/listing/35063991/books-printI love books. I love ALL books. I love ancient books and new books and bad books and blue books. I love classics, adaptations, translations, blatant rip-offs, movie novelizations, and sometimes even pure, awful, fan-fic-y drivel.

There is nothing I love more than getting my hands on a book I've never read before...

But no, wait... that's a lie. Because there IS something I love more than a new book.

An OLD book. A book that I've already loved. A lot. And I don't mean like... "I read that book ages ago and can't remember the plot, I should read it again". I mean like "I-have-read-this-book-so-many-times-the-words-come-easier-to-me-than-breathing". Like "I-am-reading-the-words-in-my-minds-eye-before-my-real-eye-even-gets-to-them-on-the-page". Like "Move over, J.K. Rowling, I've got this ish on lock!"

And yes, as you can imagine, there are some pretty touchy-feely reasons for doing it. Every July 1st (since 1998) I have sat down to the comforting words “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” and this wave of pure nostalgic happiness washes over me… like getting a massive bear hug from an old friend (the twirly kind where your legs dangle in the air) and it’s just… bliss. And it’s true, I DO find something new that I’ve never noticed before each time I read an old favourite. For example, this past July when I read that “the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban”, what I realized for the first time ever was that Fred and George WERE THROWING SNOWBALLS AT VOLDEMORT’S FACE and it’s a miracle that they weren’t Avada Kedavra’d on the spot.



So yes, I have a set list of favourites that I re-read EVERY summer (all 7 HP’s, The Hobbit, The LOTR Trilogy, and 3 different Tamora Pierce Quartets; Allana, Daine and Kel), and have since I was about 11 years old, and I don’t even feel a little bit weird or guilty or childish about it. Here’s why:

It’s good for your Brain. Your brain needs the chance to relax after a whole year of cramming during school. You need a certain amount of vegging-out so that you can start… vegging-IN, come September. But you also can’t just do NOTHING all summer… you’ll get Brain Drain, and start using double negatives in your sentences or something outrageous like that! Best thing to do? Exercise those synaptic connections by picking up a book you know you love: it might not be challenging, per se, but it's working out all the right muscles and keeping the cogs turning. And then you won't have to worry about regressing a grade level or anything horrifying like that.

It's good for your Body. Re-reading comes with some surprising health benefits that are linked to our emotional releases and sense of well-being. It's theraputic. And before anyone asks, no, that is not a picture of me in that first article... EVERYONE loves HP.

It's good for your Soul. Hot on the heels of me saying how much I love ALL books, I also have to speak to the utter power of curriculum-required, school-assigned readings to crush your soul. It's summer! Read what you want! Read WHATEVER you want. If that means forgoing "Ender's Game" (and just waiting for the movie) or postponing the latest George R.R. Martin in favour of picking up Percy Jackson one more time, just do it! Life is too short to read bad books. Enjoy your free time will while you have it!

Also... a lot of really successful people do it. A lot of super smart people testify to the importance of re-reading favourite books. That’s how you know it’s a good idea.

So here's my recommendation: Spend some time this summer with well-loved favourites. You'll thank yourself (and ME!) for it.

On the Bus? Bored? School Trip?= Audio Book

by Adrienne Adams - 0 Comment(s)

Going on a school trip? Bored? Get sick reading on the bus? Many of your favourite books are now being produced as Audio Books & Book CD's. Play them in the car while going to Vegas with friends or family. Down load one of our E-Books sound recordings from Overdrive on our e-library and listen on your i-pod while biking around the river or play a book cd on a cd-walkman while on the bus to school. In fact sitting outside sun-tanning while sipping virgin margaritas listening to an Audio Book might just have become one of my favourite weekend pastimes. Especially if they could get Leonard Cohen to do the voice... One of my favourites recently has been Wildwood Dancing by Juliette Marillier narrated by Kim Mai Guest. Kim's soft voice is intruiguing and one of the great things about listening to her describe all the beautiful Romanian worlds like "Piscu Dracuili", from Transalvania, is that I didn't have to guess at the correct pronounciation everytime. On CPL's Overdrive you can listen to an audio sample - giving you a chance to decide whether not the book interests you. You can also search for other audio books narrated by the same narrator (from other authors). Sometimes the author narrates their own book - most times not. Cybele's Secret - a companion novel to Wildwood Dancing is also available on Audio Book - I read this one just to compare - and I admit you can probably read faster than most people can speak... however can you read while baking, knitting, cycling, driving or drawing?

And there's some of your favourite titles! Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld won an award (Read by Alan Cumming). As did Will Grayson, Will Grayson which you'll like if you like Glee! (by John Green and David Leviathan) narrated by Macleod Andrews and Nick Podehl (both Odyssey Honor Audiobooks Award).

And of course there's the Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Colins- all three books are available on Audio and Book CD.

Others that have won awards include Alchmey and Meggy Swan (Karen Cushman, narrated by Katherine Kellgren), The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness, Mp3 narrated by Nick Podehl), and Revolution (Jennifer Donnelly, narrated by Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering). (Also Odyssey Honor Audies)

Mirror Mask - by Neil Gaiman Narrated by Stephanie Leonidas was quite enchanting and highlights the complexities of fighting with your mom...

I asked Alex what her Audiobook picks would be. She said, "If you'd rather listen to a book than read one, I highly recommend the mp3 copy of "An Abundance of Katherines" -- John Green's words hardly need someone to read them since they leap right off the page, but the narrator of this one does a great job anyways!

If you've never treated your ear canals to the audioCD of HARRY POTTER, you're in for a real surprise! Jim Dale has won TWO grammies and TEN Audies (Audio Awards) for his readings -- he has a different voice for every character and they're all phenomenal. I fall asleep to one of these books almost every night. I bet I could recite Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Princeby heart!!! There are also loads of audio books that are read by celebrities! Check out titles like "InkHeart", performed by Brendan Fraser and "Series of Unfortunate Events" read by the amazing Tim Curry!"

Personally though I think listening to Harry Potter before bed might explain some of the horrifically fantastic dreams Alex has reported having! Just saying... Those ones might be better for those long rides on the bus ;0)

Potter Passport

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

Harry Potters

You guys aren’t going to believe this. It’s seriously the best thing EVER and I’m not even just saying that. This is going to be the highlight of my life. Well… it’ll make Top 5 at LEAST.

Cineplex Sunridge and Chinook are offering HARRY POTTER PASSPORTS for $24.99 that will allow you to see the first SEVEN MOVIES again on the BIG SCREEN, as well as buy advance passes for the last movie on July 15th. It also gives you a chance to win a trip to London for the premiere, and you can download a copy of any of the first movies at a discounted price.

Yeah, I know, right?

The only catch is that they’re only offering two showings per movie, so if you can’t make them, you’re going to miss it.

Still, that’s better than trying to cram all seven of them in on July 14th (I realized the hard way that movie marathons stopped working after OOTP came out…)

If you’re fan-girling/boying as hard over this as I am, comment on this blog about the geekiest thing you've ever done in the name of Harry Potter. I’ll go first (in the comments section).

Gringott’s account is a little low on sickles at the moment? You can always check out all 7 of the released films on DVD or Blu-Ray from the Calgary Public Library!!!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1

And just in case you guys need a little something extra to tide you over, you HAVE to check out Team Starkid. Their phenomenal shows “A Very Potter Musical” and “A Very Potter Sequel” are TOTALLY AWESOME. If you haven’t seen them yet, I won’t spoil the fun, but you’re going to LOVE gLee’s Darren Criss as Harry, and he’s not even the best part!