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review 2018-09-20 08:18
J.K. Rowling’s world: Harry potter

 

We all have heard about J.K. Rowling from her famous novel series Harry potter, the movie that changed our childhood perspective of magic and wizards, and somehow during the series, Daniel Radcliffe became to be known as Harry potter. Taking us to the journey of magic through her righting J.K. Rowling have spread her wings into the world of fiction, but, is that really true?

 

Origin of J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is one of the pen names of Joanne Rowling born on 31st July 1965, she has also been writing under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Joanne is a British novelist, film and television producer, philanthropist and screen writer. Her most popular novel series was our all-time favorite Harry Potter, the book that won many awards and were sold more than 500million copies all over the world. Some of her other works are The Cuckoo's Calling, ‘The Silkworm, ‘Career of Evil, and ‘Lethal White’. She have been through a lot of hardship but, after dedicated hard work she is now the most successful British author alive.

 

Harry potter: the series

J.K. Rowling first got the idea of Harry potter while she was on her way to London from Manchester on a delayed train in 1990, The first book took seven years to make as, she saw her mother dying, her child as born, got divorced by her first husband and many circumstances throughout this time span. But, fortunately the book was completed and was a global hit. Soon there were six sequels of the book, where the last one was released in 2007 ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.

 

J.K. Rowling had put all her heart and might in writing these books that were taking fantasy to a whole new level. A world of magic with so much details that even candies were special in such a world. Let us go through the time span of all the series of Harry Potter and she did not have academic paper writing service online to help her with things that time.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

ABOUT- This was the first ever series of Harry Potter, book released on 26th June 1997 (UK), in English. A fiction fantasy novel.

 

STORY LINE- Harry potter was an orphan, lost his parents after he was born. He was given shelter at his relative’s place the Dursley’s, who made him live in a cupboard under the stairs, was forced to wear his cousins hand-me-downs and was even forced to work at home. But, everything changed at his 11th birthday. He gained an invite to study in a school of magic name ‘Hogwarts’, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was informed by a giant named Hagrid that he was a wizard. When he was an infant, the evil Lord Voldemort killed his parents and then tried to kill Harry too Despite of the Dursley’s efforts to stop harry he takes the night bus (magic bus) to the station and took the train from London to Hogwarts and his journey to magic begins. By the end of the book harry had fought Voldemort once, and had become friends with Ron and Hermione, facing all the dangers in his way.

Many interesting things were introduced with the book like, magic wands, magic candies (even the one that could scream), and flying brooms, talking hats and what not? I honestly wished to have magic so that wouldn’t need to research paper topics for college and could complete it magically.

 

Well as the series took shape more books were released during the span of nine years creating masterpiece after masterpiece, those were the extension of the initial book. The other parts of the novel were as follows with, the time of release that were J.K. Rowling’s own work:

 

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,

 [July 2, 1998 (UK), June 2, 1999 (US)].

 

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,

 [July 8, 1999 (UK), September 8, 1999 (US)].

 

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,

 [July 8, 2000 (global)].

 

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,

 [June 21, 2003 (global)].

 

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,

 [16 July, 2005 (global)].

 

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,

[21 July, 2007(global)].

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review 2018-09-11 22:46
Epidemics are horrible. Well, duh ...
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright

In substance, I don't really have a whole lot to add to my one ill-humored status update on this book.  This is the book-form equivalent of a cross-breed between tabloid journalism and a series of superficial, but opinionated and self-centered blog posts: short on bonafide science, history, and research generally; long on sweeping, generalizing judgments, inappropriately flippant tone, ill-matched pop culture references, character assassination, vagueness and imprecision, the sensational aspects of the diseases treated, and the personal histories of some of the protagonists of the episodes chosen for presentation (clearly not all of them selected for their "heroic" attributes but for their "human interest" and sensationalist appeal).  Several of the chapters do not deal with genuine epidemics (never mind "plagues") at all: the "dancing plague" was arguably collective hysteria, encephalitis lethargica doesn't qualify on either overall numeric or "sudden mass occurrence" grounds, and if Wright's grounds for including lobotomies seriously were (as she writes) that you can't possibly leave a gruesome procedure such as this out of a book on "medical horrors," then that statement alone shows what she was truly after; never mind her book's extremely misleading subtitle.  Most of all, however, Get Well Soon is extremely long on MeMeMe: the book's true protagonist is not in any way, shape or form any of the brave, poor, heroic, stupid, bright, unfortunate and other souls remembered for their accidental, unwilling or deliberate involvement in one epidemic or another, but the author herself, who clearly considers herself God's gift to popular science writing. 

 

Well, no, Jennifer.  You're not.  And contrary to what you seem to be hoping, history won't remember you, either.  Not even because you've written a book.  Because this just isn't the sort of book that either scientific or general literary history will remember.  Not even because it's taking a scientific position that will be shown off as outrageous in the near or far removed future.  It's just a run-of-the-mill, subpar, badly-researched tract that would be (and, as the books you cite show, has in fact been) in better and more competent hands with just about any writer who, unlike you, actually understands what they're talking about.

 

To the above comments, I will add only one thing that began to bug me (no pun intended) progressively more after I'd posted my only status update:

 

Wright's view is extremely Anglo-centric: in a book that makes so much out of the benefits reaped by humanity at large from the medical and scientific advances of the late 19th and the 20th century, and a book that purports to deal with, inter alia, cholera and tuberculosis, you'd expect scientists such as Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch and their research to be given fairly big play, but Wright has either never heard of them at all or is completely unaware of their immense contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of the very diseases she writes about, including in the areas she trumpets over and over again: disinfection / sterilization, sanitation, and vaccination (which contributions to science and medicine justly earned both of them the scientific community's highest honors -- Pasteur was, inter alia, a member of the Académie Française and the Académie des Sciences, and gave his name to the Institut Pasteur and the procedure known as "pasteurization"; Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine).  Even more than that, however, Wright's world is divided into "core countries" and "periphery countries" -- which seems to translate vaguely into "the North American and Western European parts of the industrialized world" and "all the rest."  If that isn't outright racism -- and not of the casual sort, either -- I don't know what racism is.

 

Wright is adamant enough about the importance of vaccination and disinfection / sterilization / sanitation for me to give her the benefit of the doubt that she really is passionate about these subjects -- and about the importance of science and scientific research generally.  On those grounds, and those alone, and in light of the undeniable importance of these topics (not only in connection with the current anti-vax idiocy), I'm willing to award her books two stars.  But that doesn't stop me from wondering who at Henry Holt (of all places) thought this book would be a good idea in the first place, and where they hid both their science editors and their general editors before they let it go to print.

 

Finally, two fun facts:

 

1)  "Lone genius" or not, I learned more about Edward Jenner and his research from my 5th and 6th grade English language textbook -- i.e., from a book whose primary purpose was not to teach science, but to teach English to nine- and ten-year-olds who were just starting to learn the language from scratch, and who were in the very first stages of building a very basic English vocabulary.

 

2)  I happen to know one of the authors Wright cites.  He is a friend of my mother's and, when in Germany, always makes sure to spend some time with my mom / with us.  On one of those occasions, we took a trip to Speyer, which is some 2 - 2 1/2 hours south of Bonn (near the Luxembourg and French borders), has a certain significance in the history of Germany, and was founded, like many cities in the southwest of Germany, by the Romans.  Not surprisingly, it therefore has a museum dedicated to its Roman history, which the three of us decided to visit.  Having peroused the museum's exhibits, we afterwards proceeded to discuss the decline and fall of the Roman empire and my mom asked her friend what he considered the key causes of Rome's eventual downfall.  Now, that was a very apt question not merely on general grounds in light of our just-concluded museum visit but more specifically because her scientist friend had published, a few years earlier, a book on the collapse of certain civilizations (including some highly advanced ones), and even before that, a book that deals with the way in which [resistance to] epidemics, warfare and technological advances combined have historically favored the descendants of the inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent over the indigenous inhabitants of other parts of the world (say, the Americas) (this, incidentally, is the book that Wright cites in Get Well Soon).  So you could say that he knows his stuff.  And you'd think that if a scientist who had researched, in depth, these specific aspects of scientific, medical, geographical and social history, were to consider the Antonine Plague even remotely among the things that brought to an end a millennium's worth of Roman history, he'd say so, right?  Well, guess what was the one thing he did not consider worth mentioning at all?  (Spoiler alert: yes -- the Antonine Plague.)

 

Nice try, Jennifer.  Better luck next time.  Or on second thought -- maybe better not.

 

 

 

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text 2018-09-08 18:31
Reading progress update: I've listened 120 out of 833 minutes.
Penhallow - Georgette Heyer,Ulli Birvé

 

A very different Heyer -- more a social study than a cozy mystery (and certainly no romance in sight as yet, either).  The victim-to-be is still with us, and going by Golden Age standards, he has to be one of the most loathsome and deserving murder victims yet.  It's a miracle he's managed to survive past middle age, in fact.

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text 2018-09-08 17:12
Reading progress update: I've read 107 out of 336 pages.
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright

This reads like a series of blog posts by an overconfident twentysomething with an only superficial grasp of both history and medicine / science, who won't, however, let her lack of in-depth knowledge and research keep her from jumping to unsupported conclusions by the dozen. (All of which being said with profound apologies to the twentysomethings on this particular site -- no reflection on present company is intended, of course!)

 

The asides and pop culture references were cute at first, and might perhaps still be, if there weren't such an awful lot of them.   Frankly, though, at this point I wouldn't mind if there were not a single pop culture reference and snide comment anymore, but if instead we'd finally move on to hearing about the scientific aspects of the epidemics under discussion -- but I suppose that's asking a bit too much of an author who seriously has to rely on her family doctor's shorthand illustrations for medical laypeople in order to describe, even on the most basic level, the effects of the smallpox virus on the human immune system.

 

If this doesn't drastically improve, it's headed for a 2 1/2 star rating at most (and it owes even that rating only to the fact that at least Wright makes a serious argument for sanitation, vaccination, and the general availability of at least a basic standard of healthcare).  If I weren't reading this for Halloween Bingo in addition to the Flat Book Society, however, I'd DNF at this point.

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-07 20:27
The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses)
The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses): A Novel - Terri-Lynne DeFino
The refurbished mansion is now home to individuals who once had their hands in publishing. From writers to editors, the rooms are now filled with individuals who have gathered together to finish out their remaining years. Working as an orderly, Cecibel enjoys hiding amongst the famous wards, for they don’t ask many personal questions and she’s able to go about her work, unnoticed.
 
Alfonse will be arriving soon to fill a vacancy and his arrival is causing quite a stir, especially with Cecibel. Alfonse is Cecibel’s idol and she took great care in getting his room ready.
 
This novel was such a joy to read. I laughed as Olivia took her medicine out in the yard. As she lit her joints and she smoked her marijuana (medicine), her pains went away and she moved more graciously. Sometimes, she even commented on how stoned she was. The residents sometimes talked about literature when they got together. They all knew that each one of them had their own special talent and had a success. At this point in their life, they all valued one another and they had a special bond with each other.
 
When Alfonse arrives, Cecibel is thrilled and Alfonse basks in the attention and the admiration that she places on him. Cecibel changes too and by the end of the novel, she’s a different person. With Alfonse on the premises, this once retired group suddenly becomes passionate again about their gifts and a few of them feel that they need to pick up their pens and work. An entertaining and incredible journey develops and it was heartwarming to be a fly on the wall and watch it evolve.
 
We’re taken back in history to see how things developed and we see some romances cropped up along the way, but there was nothing that took over the whole novel.
 
Wouldn’t that be wonderful if a place like Bar Harbor Retirement Home actually existed? To think that these talented individuals could come together and reminisce about their glory days. Then, to think what would happen if they decided to take up the pen together and write? What would transpire? What about a mixing of genre writers? This makes me smile.
 
I won a copy of this book from Harper Collins in their August Grab Bag Sweepstakes. Thank you, Harper Collins. This review is my own personal opinion.

 

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