Saturday, November 19, 2011

A National Bestseller: The Help

The Book
The Help
Kathryn Stockett
451 pages

"Three extraordinary women, are about to take one extraordinary step." This line, cited from the cover of the book, definitely invites you to join in the journey.

Skeeter, a recent college graduate, who wants to be a writer, 

Abileen, a colored maid raising her seventeenth white baby,

Minny, a colored maid with a large temper.

The Movie
They all have very different backgrounds, but come together to write about something they truly believe in. Skeeter, Abileen, and Minny decide to write a novel telling the stories of colored maids, and the families they work for; the good, the bad, and the heart wrenching moments in which they experience everyday,

This story takes place in the early 1960's during the height of the civil rights movement. All three main characters find home in Jackson, Mississippi.

The book is written from each character's point of view, alternating chapters. You follow a span of about two years with them. The reader will look into the white familys' homes that Abileen and Minny work for, the cotton farm Skeeter's family owns, and the town and fashions of the era. Each section is written with great detail and attention to historical events.

Be prepared to smile, laugh, and cry out, as you read this extraordinary look into one of the most unforgettable moments in American history.

This #1 New York Times Bestseller was recently made into a major motion picture. Look for a The Movie vs. The Book review in the near future!

To read see a list of current New York Times Bestsellers click here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Movies vs. The Books: Harry Potter

As promised, I am continuing my discussion on everything Harry Potter. Last night, I watched the epic finale to the Harry Potter phenomenon. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 the movie hit the shelves and online stores yesterday.

This review contains SPOILERS

Many people argue that when books are made into movies, they are not authentic to the original story. I disagree when it comes to Harry Potter. I agree, and disagree with that statement. Here's why:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
The scenes showing Harry's first trip to Diagon Alley, Platform 9 3/4, and the Sorting Hat, were portrayed well, and I think it gave people who did not read the books a good idea of what the wizarding world is like.

Something I did not like was the scene showing the night Harry's parents were killed. The movie did not really explain Voldemort's reasons for doing so.  

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Overall, this movie was very true to the book, accept for the fact that Hagrid is taken to Azkaban in a hurry. It kind of comes out of nowhere.

The line said by Dumbledore, "Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it." in Hagid's hut is said perfectly, and does come up again in later movies, like in the books.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
In my opinon, this was the least accurate movie. There is not enough background information about who Sirius Black is, and his connection to Harry until the end of the movie when he escapes Azkaban Prison. For someone who did not read the books, this movie could be hard to follow.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This movie was very true to the book. The Yule Ball disagreements between Harry, Ron, and Hermione were laughable and a bit uncomfortable, as they should have been, due to the fact that the reader is left wondering if their friendship would last.

I think the ending scene (in the graveyard) was portrayed well too, even when Harry's parents come back from the dead to aid him in a battle with the newly re-born Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Order of  the Phoenix
This was my favorite book in the series, and I believe the movie did it justice. I enjoyed seeing all of the members of the Order of the Phoenix come to life. All of Harry's visions of Voldemort's doings and where-abouts were also done well.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
My only problem with this movie was the fact that one of the main focuses of the movie was the relationship between Ron and fellow Gryffindor Lavender Brown. Several scenes show them hugging or "snogging", but Emma Watson, who plays Hermoine Granger in all eight movies,  did a great job of showing her feelings for Ron and this relationship.

I would have rather liked to have seen the relationship between Harry and Ginny Weasley instead of Ron and Lavender throughout the movie, as it kind of comes out of nowhere at the end when they come back to The Burrow.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
This was definitely a very heart-pounding and intense movie. Bill and Fleur's wedding was done nicely, and so was Harry and Hermione spending the summer at The Burrow. One think I missed in the movie, was Harry's seventeenth birthday scene. I wish they had included this part so that we could see the decorations and guests.

The scene of the battle inside Malfroy Manor was also well done. Ollivander the wandmaker and Griphook the goblin were not showed, and their reasons for being at Shell Cottege in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 are unknown to viewers who have not read the books.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The mood and music of this movie was very dark, just like the second part of the book. The Battle of Hogwarts was very intense, and at some moments I even wanted to cry, like when they showed the dead lined up on the floor of the Great Hall. The loss of Fred Weasley, Lupin and Tonks weighed heavy on all.

In the book, the Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore played a fairly large role, but it was left out entirely in the movie. Except when Aberforth talks briefly of their sister Ariana in the painting above the fireplace. I wish some of this plot was included in the movie.

The ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book and movie was perfect for all fans. In the movie, I wish they had told the names of all Harry and Ginny's children in order to see that he named them after the most important people in his life: James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter, and Lily Luna Potter.

Overall, I think all of the movies were true to the main events in the books by J.K Rowling although, for people who did not read the books, they might be a bit challenging to follow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dear Harry Potter Fans,

This is the second in a series of posts that I am writing about the world acclaimed Harry Potter books by J.K Rowling. Like many people, I am proud to say I am an avid Harry Potter fan and I am anxiously counting down the days until the release of the seventh movie (part 2) on DVD next Friday - 11/11/11

I've decided that instead of writing a review for each book separately, that I would write one really long one. So please bare with me if this seems to go on and on. :)

Harry Potter Series
many, many, excellent pages

Upon reading the first pages in Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (Year One), the reader will feel automatically hooked. You are thrown into a world across the ocean that isn't much different than the life we live today: a humble, British town, and a young boy oblivious to a future that is destined for him to achieve.

As the story and books progress, Harry Potter grows immensely, and faces many diffferent conflicts that will keep the reader's eyes glued to the page. As Harry enters Hogwarts for the first time in book one, he is amazed that such a place could exist, and that there are so many other people like him. SPOILER: *Unfortunatly, this is also a feeling he shares with the Dark Lord Voldemort who plans to take over the wizarding world with Dark Magic.* Harry faces intense Quidditch games, OWL exams and many battles that build as the years at Hogwarts become unforgetable.

Rowling does a great job of creating settings that seem so real. Hogwarts, Privet Drive, Hogsmeade, Grindelmaud Place, and The Burrow can be pictured perfectly and although not all of them are cozy and inviting, they each play an inportant roll in each book.  
Rowling also vividly creates characters that invite you to read their tale time and time again. Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger have no idea of the triumphs and tradgedies they will face when they step onto the Hogwarts Express for the first time. Other minor characters I love are: the sweet and loveable Mrs. Weasley, the odd, yet engaging Luna Lovegood, curious Neville Longbottom, beautiful Ginny Weasley and the peppy Nymphadora Tonks. 
The Harry Potter Series is as follows:
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone         309 pages
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets   341 pages
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  435 pages
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire           734 pages  
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 870 pages
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince     652 pages  
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows        759 pages
As you read, Harry Potter becomes more than just a protagonist in a great story, but a best friend you want to keep forever and ever.
For everything Harry Potter visit: