Black Swan

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I finally saw Black Swan. I’ve wanted to see it for months . . . ever since I saw the trailer.

It was a beautiful and fascinating movie, falling under the psychological thriller movie category with some horror thrown in. And drama. A lot of drama.

*Spoiler Alert*

I love how Nina’s life mirrored Swan Lake, and how at times the audience couldn’t tell whether she was hallucinating or not. It was done nicely. I thought her descent into madness was subtle enough to be believable in the context of the movie. Natalie Portman did an amazing job; I’d like to see her win best actress for this role.

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Have you seen this movie? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

If You Liked Harry Potter Read . . . The Chronicles of Narnia

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My uncle gave me a boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia when I was seven or eight years old, and I’ve loved it ever since. To this day, a small part of me still believes that I can find Narnia in the back of my closet, in a painting, at a train station . . . You never know, okay?

 

Here’s the strange thing: While everyone has heard of this series and considers it a classic, very few people I know have actually read it.

 

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are playing hide-and-go-seek when they discover Narnia in the back of a wardrobe. There, they have all sorts of adventures, become kings and queens, and grow old together. When they discover their way back home, they realize that time runs differently in Narnia. Although they were gone for a lifetime in Narnia, they were only away for a few minutes in the “real” world. In later books, they go on to have other adventures in Narnia.

There are different ways to read this series. Most people start with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe—the most popular book and the first one featuring the Pevensie children.

 

There has been debate on the order in which the books should be read. I read them in chronological order because that was how they were labeled in my boxed set—with the Magician’s Nephew as the first book.

 

Although I think you need to read the whole thing to get the entire effect of the world, I think that the books featuring the Pevensie children are the most magical. If nothing else, read these three books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (Yes, these are the three books that have been turned into movies. I definitely believe that they picked the right ones to film.)

 

The part of this series that really resonated with me when I read the series was Aslan told Peter and Susan that they were too old to return to Narnia (Prince Caspian). It’s symbolic—Narnia is a place for children to discover. Giving up Narnia means growing up and living in the real world.

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Have you read this series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below..

If You Liked Harry Potter Read . . . Percy Jackson

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I was sad when I read the last Harry Potter book, but luckily there are plenty of other books out there set in amazing fantasy worlds. This series will let you know about some of my favorites. It was originally going to be one post, but it was so long I thought I’d do one post per series instead.


Today I want to talk about the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I actually read this series at the recommendation of my 12-year-old cousin, but I think it’s entertaining no matter what your age. For the record, my mom likes the series as well.

I think that this is a great series of books for someone who likes Harry Potter and should appeal to many of the same readers.

Even if Percy Jackson is about Greek gods and goddesses and Harry Potter is about witchcraft and wizardry . . . they are quite similar. To start with, Percy Jackson didn’t know that he was a demigod until the books began and Harry Potter didn’t know that he’s a wizard.

Here’s a quick little comparison:

Percy Jackson Harry Potter
Appearance Black hair, green eyes Black hair, green eyes
Age range 12-16 11-17
Number of books 5 7
Female Friend Annabeth—smart, bookish Hermione—smart, bookish
Male friend Grover—goofy, comic relief Ron—goofy, comic relief
Main setting Camp Half-Blood Hogwarts
Prophecy Yes Yes

The characters have a similar since of wonder at discovering a new world, and are thrown into ordeals that they can only survive with the help of their friends. Furthermore, both children might be the subject of a prophecy.

I’m not trying to imply that Percy Jackson copied Harry Potter—I think that it’s inevitable that books will resemble each other to an extent. I honestly enjoyed this series.

Overall, I say try it. It’s a fun and entertaining read.

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Have you read the Percy Jackson series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Why I Love Harry Potter

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So I was going to do a whole Harry Potter series this week in honor of Deathly Hallows Part 1, but I don’t think I’ll have time for that. Instead, I’ll do a couple of posts this week, and perhaps do the series when Part 2 comes out in July 2011. I’m actually hoping to review the movie on Friday (in addition to Facebook Friday), but we’ll see how that goes.

This post assumes that you have read all of the books, so I’m giving you a SPOILER ALERT.

Today I wanted to talk about why I found Harry Potter books so appealing. I grew up with Harry Potter and I’ve pretty much been obsessed with it for over a decade. If I were sorted, I’d probably be a Ravenclaw. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m quite the nerd/ bookworm.

What draws me into the series is that it’s so magical. No, not necessarily the literal magic, but the universe it takes place in. I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy because it takes me to another world, one that I can’t experience in your everyday life.

I can read the books and picture myself at Hogwarts. There’s something about the series that draws me in and makes me care about the characters. My friends and I spent a lot of time discussing whether Snape was good or evil (I totally called it) or whether Harry Potter would die (I knew he wouldn’t, but thought he should).

No, J.K. Rowling is not the best writer out there. But she’s an amazing at building worlds and the world she created captured the hearts of millions.

No, the Harry Potter series did not spark my love of reading, but that’s because I’ve always loved reading. But the series made me beg my mom to go to the bookstore at  midnight so I could be among the first to pick up a copy. And then spend the entire day reading it.

Perhaps my biggest adventures with Harry Potter came when I studied abroad in Italy. My roommates and I found an English movie theater and bookstore in Florence so we could see the fifth movie and read the seventh book. Then of course, we called and bragged to all of our friends back home that we saw the movie/read the book 6-8 hours ahead of everyone back home. And they were jealous. Obviously.

I’m thrilled for the last two movies, but kind of sad at the same time too. It’s the end of an era.

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What does Harry Potter mean to you? Are you excited for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie? Let me know in the comments below.