Tag Archives: Twilight

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

[Slight spoilers, just so you know…]

Just saw what seems to me the best Harry Potter movie so far. Was reading in Entertainment Weekly some hubbub about whether the HP franchise still captures attention in light of the edgier appeal of Twilight and such.

Here’s the thing, Twilight rocks. I love it for some of the same reasons as HP and some very different ones. But it’s not been around as long as Harry has, so it hasn’t had the chance to grab us quite the same way, quite as pervasively. Not yet. N said she hoped there wasn’t a new New Moon trailer for HP because she couldn’t deal with the “Beatlemania,” and that’s just it. I’m not saying Twilight is going anywhere (I don’t think it is, and I don’t want it to) and the hysteria is quite livid, but.

But it’s not Harry Potter. I was 17 in 1999, when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the recommendation of someone in the Library Club (where I met J, who remains my friend to this day, though he thought I didn’t like him when we first met). They’d already been around in the U.S. for two years and I’d heard about them, but was reluctant to jump on the bandwagon – which seems funny now because compared to how many people would eventually get on the bandwagon, it was nothing in 1999. I was a lonely student who had transferred halfway through high school and I could identify with orphaned Harry Potter and I found it impossible not to get sucked in. I quickly read Chamber and Prisoner, the only books that were out when I started reading. For a long time, HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite.

I would eventually turn many people on to Harry Potter, including Mamma Mia! and one of my ex-boyfriends, who was hooked after I read the first chapter to him in the car on the way to a movie. I couldn’t wait till a friend of mine’s son was old enough to be introduced to Harry Potter. Until I could read them to my own children, watch them discover that world for the first time and, in some way, recapture my first time experiencing the world that JK Rowling has given us over the years.

Over the years. That’s an important bit. I’m 27 now. It’s been ten years. A decade. Which isn’t a lot of time in many scopes, but in terms of a “fad” or “craze,” it’s an eternity. So, perhaps, we can say finally that Harry Potter is no fad, no craze. Many of us have grown up with Harry Potter – I imagine the children who were 10 (or younger) when they first read the books, who are twice that now. Half of their life has been influenced by a fictional character in a time when it’s been predicted that every generation will read less and less and seem to forget they have imaginations to use, or even more horribly, sometimes seem not to even have imaginations to use. And I always remember the father who told me, while I was working a HP event at Barnes and Noble, that his 7-year-old son had been behind his reading level, struggling with simple chapter books, then he discovered Harry Potter and finished Goblet in less than a week. That book is 734 pages long. And a 7-year-old boy who’d had trouble reading had finished it in a week. That boy would probably be around 16 or 17 now, the age I was when I began reading. How could he fail to be sentimental or nostalgic about Harry Potter?

I missed out on a midnight showing, but I woke up early to make it for the 10 a.m. at my neighborhood theater. There were some children in the audience, at least two toddlers (who made noises throughout the movie), but by the end of the two and a half hour movie, the entire audience was collectively and completely silent. I’ve rarely experienced that in a movie, where it was clear that we were so wrung out from the emotions we’d experienced and we so needed time to take it in that there was just no way to speak, nothing to say.

Of course I cried. [SPOILERS] An important character died, one who is evocative and beloved by many, but by me, too. And there were two fires at important, cherished dwellings. And much destruction of Hogwarts. That was hard to take, after everything else.

But in its own way, it was satisfying and cathartic, despite the sadness (if that makes sense and I hope it does). I wouldn’t want it any other way because, having read the end of the story, I know that this is the way it’s supposed to be.

I’m going to go re-read the books. I can’t help it. And I don’t want to help it. 🙂

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Filed under movies, pop culture, random rant, review

Fess Up Friday (the so glad to be done edition)

Let it be known that around 7:35 p.m. today, I finished my book and my first act upon said completion was to launch myself across Cheers, throw myself into Jamey’s arms and sob for about three minutes. And then she took me to Juan’s for some melted cheese and margaritas where I occasionally sighed with relief and randomly grinned and was generally goofy.

Just prior to this launching and sobbing and celebrating, B. came by and knocked on the window and made silly faces at me, to which I very meanly held up a finger and mouthed “ONE PAGE” and then made a rude gesture for him to leave me alone. But he’s forgiven me, so that’s okay. This is what happens when one finishes one’s masterpiece at a public venue.

At this point, my computer has threatened to die several times, my hands and wrists hate me and I am incredibly sleep deprived, but I never once had to consume an energy drink and I’ve slept at least four or six hours each night. I think we can surmise that my coffee habit is so much more pervasive and deeply rooted than the last time I pushed to finish a book (ha, also this one, but in a different version) that I had no need for energy drinks (Rockstar didn’t come through anyway).

But let’s rewind to where I left off with the last FUF. N. came into town and we assembled a motley crew for a bit of drinking and dinner at the local and the next morning, we recuperated with some yummy at Slim’s. Then, we hit Magazine and the Quarter for some fun shopping and indulged in the best candy in the city. And then, like a good girl, I stayed in to write while N. went out. Though, we did hit the local after that, so it’s a toss up how good I actually was. And then we recuperated again the next day with Slice and some Borders browsing before she went home. I spent the rest of Sunday doing some last minute hurricane research, which was pretty traumatic, but helpful. I watched a short movie (41 minutes) about the affects of storms on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands called Hurricane on the Bayou that’s pretty remarkable and I highly recommend it. It features some awesome local musicians and there’s a pretty amazing story behind it, but that’s for another time.

I finished a wonderful book called Cures for Heartbreak by a writer I adore, Margo Rabb. I managed to keep my (few) appointments and I did watch SYTYCD both Wednesday and Thursday, though I almost forgot about Wednesday and missed the very beginning. But largely, people knew to ignore me and I felt qualified to ignore them.

And so, some final word counts for you:
5/23: 68
5/24: 1,074
5/25: 4,118 (yeah, I know)
5/26: no new words, but lots of editing
5/27: 2,205
5/28: 1,688
5/29: 4,619 (whew)

The days got kinda strange there. For several days in a row, I was up till 3 and then 4 and then 5 a.m. I’d get a few hours’ sleep, address bills and emails (the least amount I could get away with), talk to Jamey and drink coffee, putter around a bit, then go home and eat. Around 7 or 8 p.m., I’d begin writing again. This morning, I was up till 7 a.m. and almost finished the book. I had ONE chapter left and had to stop because I was exhausted and had an appointment in the afternoon. Even after I forced myself to shut down the computer and go to bed, I was jotting down notes in a frenzy. So after the appointment and puttering around, I got back to work about 5 p.m. and by 7:35, I’d finished. Which brings us back to the beginning of this post.

Thank you to everyone for your support.

In parting, some links to things I’ve found interesting this week:

This person gives me hope for the youth of America (and also makes me sad about that status of education in America).

This is mostly a test to see if W. reads my blog. 🙂 Horror novels on toilet paper. What next?

Men love Twilight, too.

Yay for Louiethis is fun.

To bed, go I. My blog is a year old, my book is finished and I get to see my Papa Bear tomorrow. Life is good.

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Filed under bragging on, family, Fess Up Friday, Friends, musing, New Orleans, pop culture, So You Think You Can Dance, what I'm reading, writing updates

Emilie’s 2008 Best List

What a crazy year this has been. It’s the year that my big appetite for music became voracious and I sought out friends and resources to feed it. It’s the year that I “discovered” audio books as a natural result of driving for work – a lot. It’s the year I didn’t go to the theater as much as I used to, but everything came to DVD so much quicker. It’s the year I hoped to finish my book. It’s the year I started this blog.

This is a very personal best list, so the things that I’m highlighting as my favorites of 2008 may not have been released in 2008, just discovered by me in this year that’s soon to be past.

Books – 2008 is the year I read more nonfiction, romance and thriller than ever before, not to mention almost all of Jennifer Weiner and Jennifer Crusie, Spiderwick and Neverland and a lot of David Sedaris. Out of the almost 150 books I’ve read this year, my 15 favorites in roughly the order I read them:
1. His Dark Materials (3) Philip Pullman
2. Gregor and the Code of Claw, Suzanne Collins
3. When a Man Loves a Weapon (this will be released in 2009), Toni McGee Causey
4. Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me, Ed. Ben Karlin
5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (about halfway through the year now), Junot Diaz
6. The Rescue Artist, Edward Dolnick
7. The Ruby Key, Holly Lisle
8. To Kill a Mockingbird (finally read this!), Harper Lee
9. Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, Daniel Wallace
10. Calumet City, Charlie Newton
11. Finn, Jon Clinch
12. A Very Long Engagement, Sebastien Japrisot
13. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl
14. Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
15. The Wolfman, Nicholas Pekearo

Notables: Continued reading some of my favorite series – the “Alice” books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson books, and Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty. Also was blown away by a trio of historical romance writers – Gaelen Foley, Sherry Thomas and Suzanne Enoch, who gloriously re-invent the genre and write freaking well. Agnes and the Hitman and Faking It made me laugh myself hoarse. And I’ve been crazy about the Twilight series, of course, really impressed with how things wrapped up in Breaking Dawn.

Movies – I used to go to a movie by myself every Sunday, but that habit sadly went away. However, as a three year + member of Netflix, I still saw over 100 movies this year (and I did get to the theater some, of course). I’m going to try to approximate the order I saw them in.
1. Stardust
2. Once
3. Juno
4. Shoot ‘Em Up
5. Across the Universe
6. Wanted
7. Live Free or Die Hard
8. Dear Frankie
9. I’m Not There
10. Persepolis
11. Dark Knight
12. My Blueberry Nights
13. The Brave One
14. Penelope
15. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
16. Mamma Mia!
17. Wall*E – in some ways, my favorite of the year
18. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
19. Twilight
20. I Could Never Be Your Woman
21. Rachel Getting Married
22. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Notables: Much, much better than I’d heard/you’d think – Speed Racer, Good Luck Chuck and The Cutting Edge 3. 21 and Atonement almost made my list, so I guess that makes me a big James McAvoy fan.

TV – This was the year my t.v. became largely decorative. When I forgot how to hook the cables and wires back up after Gustav and relied almost entirely on watching t.v. on my computer. But the shows I love, I love all the more for it. No particular order here.
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. Bones (NOT happy it’s moving to Thursdays)
3. So You Think You Can Dance (Cat Deely’s the bomb, Joshua wasn’t my fav and we need DVD)
4. Survivor (yes, I still love this show)
5. In Plain Sight
6. Top Chef
7. Moonlight (NOT happy this got canceled)
8. Pushing Daisies (NOT happy this got canceled)

Notables: Big Bang Theory surprises me, whenever I manage to catch it, with how funny it is.

Music -This was the year of music. I’ve never been such an avid music listener and collector.
Singles –
1. Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show (most listened to song in my iTunes)
2. Forever in Blue Jeans, Jason Castro (he wasn’t my favorite, but this stuck in my head)
3. Toxic, Yael Naim (cover of Britney, haunting and freaky)
4. Fake Is the New Real, Alice Smith
5. Johnny and June, Heidi Newfield
6. Be My Husband, Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice
7. So What, Pink
8. Another Way to Die, Alicia Keyes and Jack White
9. American Boy, Estelle and Kanye
10. Just Like a Woman, Charlotte Gainsbourg
11. Holding Out for a Hero, Frou Frou
12. Are You Strong Enough to Be My Man, Sheryl Crow
13. You Got Growing Up to Do, Patty Griffin and Joshua Radin
14. Echo, Cyndi Lauper
15. Comes Love, Billie Holiday
16. Whatever Lola Wants, Ella Fitzgerald
17. Love Song, Sara Bareilles
18. See You Again, Miley Cyrus (say what you want, but this song is catchy and cool)
20. Missed Me, Dresden Dolls
19. Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap
20. Arms of a Woman, Amos Lee
21. Lilac Wine, Katie Melua
22. Do I Move You, Nina Simone
23. Hurt, Johnny Cash

CDs –
1. Across the Universe soundtrack (oh glorious TV Carpio, put out a cd already! Dana Fuchs!)
2. Juno soundtrack
3. Once soundtrack
4. Acid Tongue, Jenny Lewis
5. Volume 1, She & Him
6. Black Snake Moan soundtrack

Performers, period –
1. Patty Griffin – I’m delirious over Patty Griffin
2. Jenny Lewis
3. Lucinda Williams
4. Emmylou Harris
5. Allison Moorer
6. The White Stripes, Jack White notably
7. The Dresden Dolls
8. Roisin Murphy
9. Katie Herzig
10. Sugarland
11. Krista Detor

Notables: My love for Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, The Magnetic Fields, Cake and The Beatles, always vibrant, has been renewed. I grew to really appreciate Kanye West (though my first love for him came after his infamous quote after Katrina). And I learned that, as amusing as I find it when my neighbor M. sings the lyrics to “Ding, Ding, Dong,” I am NOT a fan of Gunther.

Websites – These are the websites I checked every day in 2008, once I knew about them!
1. Post Secret
2. I Am Fuel, You Are Friends
3. Living With Music – writers blog about music!
4. GalleyCat – how could I leave this one off?
5. Wikipedia
6. imdb
7. cdbaby
8. Amazon
9. Craigslist
10. YouTube

My Favorite Things – What I’ve been loving this year
1. Favorite Home Away from Home – Cheers, my coffeeshop
2. Friends – you know who you are and likely, you’ve introduce me to a lot of great music and food this year. I love you for it, this year and all years.
3. Family – for the pictures, the drama and the support.
4. Local Music – The Zydepunks, The New Orleans Bingo! Show, Loose Marbles and Gal Holiday
5. Food – the roast beef po’boy at Parkway just may be my favorite thing I’ve eaten this year
6. Lessons – dancing, parallel parking, how to be a better writer (friends again, thank you)
7. Libraries – Nola and BR, so very excited about having multiple library cards
8. Writing – NaNoWriMo, PerNoWriMo, Write or Die, Jamey
9. Epiphany – being excited and finding others who’re also excited about the same things.
10. City – New Orleans. Of course and always.

That’s it, Emilie’s Top List for 2008. Enjoy. Argue. Applaud. Whatever. 🙂

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Filed under family, Friends, movies, music, New Orleans, pop culture, t.v., weirdness