I have FINALLY read ‘Carrie’, Stephen King’s first book. Yes, it was his FIRST book!
Reading a book when you already know the story so well (from the movie) is such a different experience than reading the book and then watching the movie, but it’s even more different when it’s one like this. I’ve seen ‘Carrie’ so many times because it’s one of my favorite horror films (not talking about any stupid remake, despite the fact I happen to have the book copy that is the remake movie tie-in. Remakes of good films are blasphemy). The original movie is perfection with Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek and when reading the book, is was VERY hard for me not to get their images out of my mind. It was brilliant casting, for a brilliant story.
When reading this pretty short book (it comes in at basically 300 pages, which is so short, when you compare it to the behemoths of IT and The Stand), you are transported to 1979 immediately by the language, the descriptions of the clothing, and even the comparative style of King’s writing. It’s kind of a treat and a bit of a time warp you are pulled into. It took a bit of getting used to, along with the way King uses different narrative styles; the reader is given reports of the main ‘incident’, as well as character accounts, and intersperses them into the main story. If you didn’t know the ending from seeing the movie, you would have a good idea about a lot of it from these accounts as you go through.
As for the dynamic between Carrie and her hellacious (sorry, have to say it) mother, the interactions are horrific and they make your blood boil and King has given all he can to make the dread and tension so vivid. By writing in Carrie’s ‘thoughts’ we get little peeks into what’s going on in her mind as her powers are getting stronger; you start rooting for the girl who is being bullied, dominated, threatened all her life. You just know that there is no other way for this story to end.
What is most interesting to me now is the contrast with what what acceptable in terms of what kids could get away with (in terms of bullying and hazing) at school, compared to now. That’s a whole other story.
Anyway, I’m glad I finally got to read it as part of a Litsy buddy read. I love the movie so much, and it’s amazing to think that this is where Stephen King’s book career started. With a short novel that had one of most memorable horror movies made out of it.
*Don’t ever bother with the remake though.
What if Wonder Woman’s first foray into the mortal realm had nothing to do with Steve Trevor? What if she was an untested teenager, the weakest of the Amazons, struggling to prove herself? And what if you didn’t even miss good ol’ Steve because the focus on empowerment and positive female relationships enduring really big hardships was so lovely and refreshing? IT WOULD BE FREAKING AMAZING, THAT’S WHAT.
The story takes place in unspecified modern times (based on the level of technology). By chance or fate, Diana crosses paths with Alia, an unwitting walking apocalypse, and sets out to stop the war Alia’s mere existence is going to cause. There’s action aplenty, social issues, growing pains, poignant self-discovery, meddling gods, man-made monsters, the obligatory Diana-in-a-fancy-dress scene, a teensy bit of romance, and a whole lot of kickassery. All of that (and more!) added together = a really good time. I could blame insomnia for last night’s lack of sleep, but in reality I had a serious case of just-one-more-chapter-itis that persisted straight through the final chapter.
If you’re worried about jumping in with insufficient Wonder Woman/DC knowledge, don’t be. I had no idea what to expect from this novel going in. I’ve never picked up a Wonder Woman comic and my knowledge of the character is gleaned from the Linda Carter TV series, various animated productions, and the DC cinematic universe. But my quasi-ignorance wasn’t an issue, as this book seems largely independent from all past and current iterations of the character. Some of her backstory matches up with some of the comics, but you don’t have to have read every (or any) WW issue and crossover to get what’s going on.
If you are a fan of the comics, I have no idea if Bardugo’s take on the character will float your boat, but it floated mine all the way to Themyscira. (I was turned away at the boundary, though, on account of being a whiny, non-badass mortal who didn’t die in battle calling on the name of a goddess. Alas.)
I haven't read this book since I was 17, I'm 38 now so it's been a while. What's funny is that most of the events in the book I have entwined with the movie and I realized that I had misremembered some things. This book is perfect, the world building, the characters, the writing, flow, etc. Rowling does a great job of balancing everything though I will say the initial beginning is a bit weird til you figure out what is up with the mysterious cat.
The first book in the Harry Potter series begins with us becoming acquainted with Harry and characters we will follow through the series.
Harry Potter is an orphan bring treated like unwanted trash with his mother's family. Harry starts to realize weird things seem to be happening to him and when Harry starts to receive a ton of letters telling him he's been accepted to a place called Hogwarts, he finds out the truth about his parents, and the fact he's a wizard. When his aunt and uncle finally agree that Harry can go to Hogwarts, off starts his adventure of learning to be a wizard and finding out more about his mother and father.
Harry is loyal, brave, and above all else wants to make Gryffindor House proud. With his new friends (Ron and Hermione) by his side, Harry takes steps to protect the so called Sorcerer's Stone which ends up getting him and his friends into trouble as well as puts them in danger.
Speaking of characters I also forgot how annoying I found Hermione at first. Rowling does a great job with so many characters I can't keep pointing everyone out, but I have to say that I adored the Weasley family and maybe got a little choked up when Ron's mother knitted Harry a sweater just like the rest of the family. I almost forgot how much I adored Neville! Of all of the characters in the Potter universe, the changes in him will be fantastic to watch over the series. I almost forgot how much I adored Neville! Of all of the characters in the Potter universe, the changes in him will be fantastic to watch over the series.
I'm going to admit to something here, I still don't get Quidditch, no don't try to explain it to me, I also don't understand other sports like rugby or that other game that looks like American baseball, but is not.
The writing is I already said was great, Rowling weites for kids, but as an adult the story still holds my interest. The flow was too notch and I loved the illustrations at the top of each chapter heading.
"Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man’s name was Albus Dumbledore."
"Harry, who could see a huge Dudley tantrum coming on, began wolfing down his bacon as fast as possible in case Dudley turned the table over."
Dudley was the worst.
“— and you mustn’t go wandering around the school at night, think of the points you’ll lose Gryffindor if you’re caught, and you’re bound to be. It’s really very selfish of you.”
I remember now why I could not stand Hermione.
Everyone was eating the food that had been sent up. Hermione, however, stood alone by the door, waiting for them. There was a very embarrassed pause. Then, none of them looking at each other, they all said “Thanks,” and hurried off to get plates. But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."
The setting and world building of Harry Potter was very well done. All the places we read about come alive and Rowling balances providing us information with moving the story along. I felt like I was on the Hogwarts train with Harry, learning about spells, going to Daigon Alley with him and Hagrid. It helps I watched the movie and it made every scene in the book stand out more to me since I had a frame of reference.
The ending leaves Harry heading back to the Dursley's for the summer and feeling proud that Gryffindor House won the most points for the school year.