Experience the world of Harry Potter all over again in this brilliantly engineered pop-up book that shares secrets about the production of the movies.
Once I went to the bookstore with my mom and took her to the book’s hiding place to show it to her. It was no longer there, and I was upset. Why had I waited to buy something I loved so much?
(It didn’t occur to me that it would be on Amazon. Since I had never seen it before, I thought it was rare and I would never see it again.)
Turns out, the book was gone because my husband had bought it for my birthday. Now it’s sitting proudly on my shelf.
My two daughters ask for the book frequently – sometimes every day – and I have the hardest time keeping their snatching fingers away from all the intricate shapes in the pages.
This book would make a great gift to anyone who loves Harry Potter. So basically anyone who’s read the books, because to read them is to love them.
By the way, if you haven’t bought all the books yet, they have a new set of them that I think looks really great. They also came out with illustrated versions of the story.
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Fifty years after her death, the much-guarded journal of the adored painter Frida Kahlo has been released. Half illustration, half text, the book offers an intimate look into a brilliant yet troubled mind.
Then I’d read the story behind each painting and become stunned by its genius.
For instance, there’s a painting of her lying in bed with a large cone sticking out of her mouth, and inside the cone is vile-looking meat. It’s disturbing, to be honest with you. Come to find out, when her health was failing and her appetite non-existent, her doctor force-fed her pureed fatty meat through a cone. The title of the painting is “Without Hope.”
Wow. As soon as I understood the painting, I felt like I also fully understood how she felt as that disgusting food was shoved down her throat. It’s stunning.
But like I was saying, there was a specific moment when I did a 180 and decided to love her. It was shortly before her death when a gallery hosted her last art showing. No one thought she’d be able to make it, but she got an ambulance to take her to the gallery where a bed was set up for her. Amazing! She never gave up.
The journal is fascinating because I don’t think it was meant for anyone to see, and therefore doesn’t make coherent sense. For me, that makes it fun. It’s a puzzle to figure out. For instance, some people argue that her diary indicates that she committed suicide; I believe it proves that she did not. Also, she wrote a bunch of love letters, and then later in a different colored ink wrote in “Diego” at the top (her husband’s name). Why add it in later? Were the love letters really about him?
It’s also a beautiful journal. While all her paintings are done in a style specific to her, her journal is more liberating, and it contains works of art unlike anything you’ve seen her do before.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves Frida, or who loves art, or who is fascinated by living with disabilities, or who is human.
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When Harry August dies, his life resets – in the exact same way, with the exact same family. He is born over and over and over. But he doesn’t have to make the same choices every time.
It was an extremely violent book. One part was so gratuitous that I had to put the book down and roll my eyes. Yet because of the way the book is structured, it’s hard to say how much of the violence really “counts.”
For example, Harry comes across this serial killer and decides to murder him before he can claim his first victim. Only problem: everything resets when Harry is reborn, so he has to murder the serial killer every single lifetime. If the man keeps coming back to life, did Harry really kill him?
That’s just one of the hundreds of questions in this book to make you think.
He also has a very removed way of talking about the things that happened to him that keeps the readers from being traumatized. For instance, he gets tortured multiple times. The second time, he was more or less like, “So, then I got tortured. Again. It sucked, but then I died, so whatever.” I think since he's telling his story from his fifteenth life, most of the events he talks about happened to him centuries ago, so he's able to distance himself from them.
Let me put it this way; I'm usually very sensitive to what happens to characters, but in this book, I was really only disturbed by it that one time that cued the eye roll.
Did you read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August? What did you think?
Books by Claire North
After a painful divorce, Elizabeth Gilbert went on a year-long journey of healing and self-discovery in Italy, India, and Bali.
Her genius – and it truly is genius – is how she can express her thoughts while at the same time allowing you to have your own and that be okay. The point isn't to prove herself right; the point is to get us thinking. Somehow even if we don't come to the same conclusions as her, we agree with the path she takes to find them, and we're grateful that she took us on the journey.
And by the way, I have never wanted to learn to meditate more than I did after reading this book. Someday, I want to disappear into a Buddhist retreat for months just like she did. And really, if a writer can make something as boring as another person meditating so exciting… that’s dang good writing.
Did you read Eat, Pray, Love? What did you think of it?
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This is a memoir about Corrie Ten Boom, whose family hid Jews in their house to keep them out of concentration camps. Sounds like an ordinary WWII book? It’s not.
By the time I finished reading her book of selflessness and bottomless love, I felt compelled to give away everything I own. I didn’t, but the compulsion was definitely there. Instead, I give away copies of her book whenever I get the chance; I need to just buy ten of them now so I can have a ready stock on my bookshelf.
The book is a Christian book, which I liked because she uses Jesus as a model of how to emulate Christ-like behavior. Without his influence in her life, she would not have been the same person and this would not have been the same book. However, her experiences are so universal that this book would appeal to anyone.
Have you read The Hiding Place? What did you think?
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The black-and-white circus comes without warning in the night time. Everyone believes the magic is an allusion; they have no idea the circus is the setting of a deadly battle between two magicians... who are also lovers.
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