Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Harry Potter

This entry is part 101 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

Yesterday (as I write) was weird.

I finished Zom-B Clans and then, rather than referring to my spreadsheet to see what came next in my challenge, I was able to go and find something completely new. Something I haven’t known I had to read for the last 18 months.

You can’t imagine what that’s like.

I know, I know, for Man vs Bookshelf, I was only reading the books on my shelf. It’s not like I was forced to read 210 works from the 1780s. They were all mine, and most of them I enjoyed or even loved.

But, the choice was gone. I had to read something from those shelves. If something else took my fancy, I couldn’t just go and buy and read it.

It was the point of the challenge, and I’m glad I did it.

But man am I ecstatic about choosing my first challenge book. Freedom. The complete and utter freedom.

I’ve gone for The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). I read The Cuckoo’s Calling early in my challenge (Christmas ’17, I think) and would have loved to read the next Strike mysteries straight after, but I couldn’t.

It’s nice to get to do so finally.

Not to mention the fact I borrowed them (Silkworm and Career of Evil) months ago off a colleague, and it will be a relief to get to hand them back at last.

But, of course, while I’ve conquered the challenge in terms of reading, there are still a few reviews to go, starting with…


Harry Potter

Okay, seriously, is there any point?

Let’s face it; Harry Potter is probably the most famous franchise of all time at this point. Loved by pretty much every human on the planet. There are books and films and theme parks and studio tours and countless other media.

My first experience with the franchise came on a ferry returning from France in what must have been the late nineties. I would have been six or s

even, maybe. Could well have been my birthday–I did have one of those a ferry from France, once, and that would explain why I ended up with Harry Potter one and two.

I loved them, I think, and I got Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban soon after.

From that point, I got each book on release day, and I read them in the days that followed, although, as I grew into my teens I didn’t enjoy them as much as I had in my youth.

Since then I’ve not read them too many times, but I have had them read to me repeatedly by Stephen Fry, whose narration of the Harry Potter books is the best thing to happen to this universe, ever.

You’ll know how you want to feel about them. You’ve no doubt read the series or at least seen the movies (in which case you’ve missed a lot), and I’m not going to change that, so I won’t try.

One thing I did notice this time around, was just how tightly plotted they are, and how J.K. wastes not one word.

These are books where every single sentence feeds the plot, and its a mark of Rowling’s quality that a lot of the time, it doesn’t seem like this is the case.

Even in Order of the Phoenix, which is too long, and remains my least favourite book as it was when I first read the series, everything seems to matter.

Hagrid’s long and tedious tale about his visit to the giants leads to the revelation that he has brought home Grawp, his giant brother, which in turn is integral to Harry and Hermione escaping the Forbidden Forest at the end of the book.

So yeah, the books are good alright, and if you’ve only watched the movies, you’re missing most of what matters.

Sort it out.


Next Time

Shit, it’s my last ever review.

Zom-B by Darren Shan

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International worst selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). Recently he is taking the internet by storm with his Man vs Bookshelf Challenge where he aims to read the 210 books on his bookshelf in 210 weeks, reviewing them on his blog and Goodreads along the way. He is also publishing books on Amazon, his most recent being the family suspense novel, Poor Choices, which you can find here.

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