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Announcement! New project!

Two posts on a weekend!!!! What is happening!!???!!

Hi again! Wanted to pop in for just a few minutes to tell everyone about a new blogging project I’m going to be working on. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but was also inspired by a short conversation on another blog – and I can’t find it! I wish I could give you credit! If this was you, please let me know and I will edit this.

Anyway, we ended up talking about The Baby-Sitters Club books that we both read as kids and how much fun they were. I remember having so many of them, they would barely fit on my bookshelf. And that was just one series. I followed MANY of them, as my mother can attest. The blogger I was commenting with mentioned a podcast called The Baby-Sitters Club Club where these two guys discuss the series in chronological order. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but I thought it sounded like a ton of fun.

That’s when I finally decided to do this. For a few months now, I have had a weird desire to revisit some of the books of my youth. Maybe it was just a simpler time and I feel the need to explore that more. Maybe I’m just a little weird. Or both. Which brings me to my new feature on this blog:

Nostalgic Reads

A few notes:

  • This will not be a regular thing, like my other featured posts that go up each week like clockwork. I might try to have a more regular schedule later, but for now, I’m just going to see where this goes.
  • I will not be counting these books towards my GoodReads goal for the year. I will be keeping these on a separate list. It’s only because these books are pretty short compared to the other stuff I’m reading (I literally just read one in about an hour and a half) and it would inflate my GoodReads count way too much.
  • I have a list currently of nine series (ten if I can track down another one) that I’m going to start on. The first one I will be working on is Sweet Valley High, but I might jump around a bit. There are no rules here!
  • Other series currently on the list are: The Baby-Sitters Club (because of course), The Whitney Cousins, Satin Slippers, The Zodiac Club, Fear Street, The Nancy Drew Files, Abracadabra, and The Fabulous Five. More may be added later as I think of them.
  • The other series that I am trying to track down is called (I think) Girlfriends? I have no idea who the author is and, although I remember quite a few details about it, I can’t remember any individual titles. Google searches have turned up nothing, but I have posted information to a GoodReads group dedicated to tracking down these unknown books (the thread is here if you want to check it out – maybe one of my followers has heard of it?) EDIT: That GR group is amazing! That post was up for less than a day and they found it! It’s the Girl Friends series by Nicole Grey.

Just these series alone give me hundreds and hundreds of books to post about. I think it will be fun to see how well these stories hold up. They will be dated, of course – it was the late 80s/early 90s when I read them! Even so, I think this will be fun. It will be interesting to see how many of you also read these when you were a kid.

Maybe I’ll be adventurous and jump right in with the first post tomorrow? If not tomorrow, then definitely sometime next week. I’m excited! This will be so much fun!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 4 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

HPPoA BannerIn Chapter 4, we spend some quality time in Diagon Alley, meet back up with Ron and Hermione, and find out the reason why Sirius Black escaped from prison. Let’s go!

I wish I could spend a day in Diagon Alley. Just one. I would spend so much money there, so unless that trip came with an unlimited budget, maybe it’s for the best that I can’t go. Still, just sitting there to people watch would be pretty fun too.

Harry gets a rare bit of freedom here. Since he is staying at the Leaky Cauldron, per the Minister’s instructions, he has the run of Diagon Alley. After getting a withdrawal from his Gringotts account, he also has plenty of money to spend, although he is very responsible. Good lad!

He had to keep reminding himself that he had five years go to at Hogwarts, and how it would feel to ask the Dursleys for money for spellbooks . . .

Yeah, that conversation wouldn’t go over well.

Still, Harry is still a kid and a Quidditch enthusiast to boot, so when he sees the new broom in the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies . . . very understandable that he’s tempted.  But again, he shows amazing restraint. He has a good broom, doesn’t need another one, even if it’s the fastest thing in the world. Instead, Harry uses his money to buy his school textbooks (the list of which includes that crazy Monster book that Hagrid sent him – it makes sense now!) and his other school supplies.

It does lead to an interesting scene in the bookstore though. Harry is getting his book for Divination when he sees a book called Death Omens: What to Do When You Know the Worst Is Coming. The bookstore manager, rightly, says that Harry shouldn’t read that book because he will end up seeing death omens everywhere and probably get pretty paranoid. Then we get this:

But Harry continued to stare at the front cover of the book; it showed a black dog large as a bear, with gleaming eyes. It looked oddly familiar . . .

So . . . Harry thinks that what he saw the night he caught the Knight Bus might be whatever this picture on the cover is. Except he never really got a good look at whatever was hiding in the alley that night, did he? It’s enough to make him nervous though, which is certainly understandable.

We finally run into Ron and Hermione, both of whom are staying at the Leaky Cauldron too. Ron has a new wand (thank ye gods) and Hermione has bags and bags of books due to all the classes she signed up to take. She even wants to take Muggle Studies, despite being raised as a Muggle her whole life, because “it’ll be fascinating to study them from the Wizarding point of view.” Okay, Hermione. There is overachieving, and then there’s THIS. Although it does sound like something I might have done had I been in her shoes.

One thing Hermione does want, however, is a magical pet. An owl, to be specific. Ron also wants to have Scabbers checked out because it looks like he hasn’t been feeling well ever since their Egypt trip. They head to the pet store, where the clerk basically says that Scabbers is old and not much can be done, when they are attacked by a large pile of orange fur. Well, no. It’s a cat.

The cat’s ginger fur was thick and fluffy, but it was definitely a bit bowlegged and its face looked grumpy and oddly squashed, as though it had run headlong into a brick wall.

Crookshanks. I love Crookshanks. And so does Hermione, who drops her plans to buy and owl and buys Crookshanks instead. Let’s talk a bit about this cat, shall we? We know a lot more about him now, that he is actually half cat/half kneazle which is why he is so intelligent. We know that the reason he attacked that day in the pet store was because he could sense that Scabbers wasn’t what he seemed. I often wonder where Crookshanks came from. All we really know is that he was in the pet store for a long time because no one would buy him, but if the only reason he attacked this time was because of Scabbers, it makes you wonder what he has done to make other people not want to take him on either. I probably would have adopted him anyway.

Amber
I do have a thing for ginger cats, after all.

We meet back up with the Weasleys in the Leaky Cauldron, and they are wonderful as always. Ginny is adorably awkward, Fred and George are hilarious, and Percy is as pompous as ever, especially since he has been named Head Boy. During his time with the Weasleys though, Harry overhears a conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Weasley about him.

I’m not going to quote all of it, even though every single sentence is important. They are arguing about whether or not they should tell Harry that Sirius Black, deranged escaped convict and former Voldemort fanboy, is after none other than Harry himself. Mrs. Weasley doesn’t want Harry to know, is afraid that it would terrify him. On the flip side, Mr. Weasley thinks Harry has a right to know about the danger he’s in. Personally, I’m on Team Mr. Weasley for this one. Everyone seems to think that keeping Harry ignorant is going to keep him safe, from Dumbledore on down. We first see it in this book, but it continues frustratingly throughout the series.

So Fudge is keeping it out of the papers, Dumbledore has agreed to have the “Azkaban guards” help protect  Hogwarts, and everyone pats themselves on the back that they have continued to keep Harry in the dark. Again.

Also, I think that Harry has a bit of a lackadaisical attitude about this. He just found that a crazy mass murder is after him, and he’s mostly worried about . . . the fact that he won’t be able to go on school trips to Hogsmede? Really, Harry? You’re not worried about, oh I don’t know, BEING KILLED BY A MANIAC??

“I’m not going to be murdered,” Harry said out loud.

“That’s the spirit, dear,” said his mirror sleepily.

We need more attentive mirrors in our lives.

See you next time for Chapter 5!