For the Love of Language

 

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My recent research in college education has led me, as it has many times, to my one of my biggest passions: Language. Throughout my K-12 years I bounced around with what I wanted to study due to the fact that I have many interests. East Asian studies, art, veterinary medicine, animal behaviorism, graphic design, and English have made up the main bunch.

Even so, I always seem to make a loop and end up at the same conclusion. I love language; particularly English.

Language is what sets us apart. It is a fundamental aspect of our lives. We speak, write, and read language. It is what allows us to express ourselves in the most profound ways. It is interesting how many people might say, “Well, yeah,” as if that’s just a fact of life and there is nothing fascinating or extraordinary about language. Yet when you give it thought, imagine what language means to us.

One facet of language presents to us an escape from our lives by letting us delving into created worlds. That is reading.

My relationship with reading began well enough. I was fascinated by stories, but as a child it was visually appealing. Who didn’t love those picture storybooks?

Late elementary into middle school introduced an entirely new type of reading. No more pictures? I have to use my imagination? As a kid that grew up on Disney movies and vibrant picture storybooks, this was not how I wanted it to go. So, I decided that reading and I didn’t suit each other. Silly me.

It wasn’t until late middle school when I was roaming idly around the library that the spine of a book caught my eye. It depicted a horse, and I’ve always loved horses. As I looked at it, I read the title, “Wild Magic”. Horses, wild, and magic? What was this enticing sorcery? I checked out the book that day and was hooked.

Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic kindled my love for reading. This was the kind of reading that provided that wonderful escape from reality; the type that grips your mind and heart.

Mark Edmundson (The Ideal English Major) described it so well:

“There are people who read to anesthetize themselves—they read to induce a vivid, continuous, and risk-free daydream. They read for the same reason that people grab a glass of chardonnay—to put a light buzz on. The English major reads because, as rich as the one life he has may be, one life is not enough. He reads not to see the world through the eyes of other people but effectively to become other people.”

“Real reading is reincarnation. There is no other way to put it. It is being born again into a higher form of consciousness than we ourselves possess.”

It was through these kinds of experiences that I developed a love for language and so a love for writing. After all, the three facets of language are all interlinked.

It’s why I am writing to all of you right now, and why I plan to pursue a degree in English.

I completely geek out over language!

It’s a dream of mine to have a career where I can indulge in my passion for language (reading, writing, speaking), and to reach others through my work. I’d like to publish at least one book if not more, and I will forever to encourage others to love language.

Here are some of my favorite books/series that I recommend:

The Sevenwaters TrilogyJuliet Marillier

Heart’s BloodJuliet Marillier

The Maze Runner trilogyJames Dashner

The Immortals quartetTamora Pierce

Dragonriders of PernAnne McCaffrey

 

Britney

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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No wizarding household is complete without a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Albus Dumbledore

Last Christmas, a friend of mine bought me a gift that I now rank in my top 10 favorite gifts of all time. He bought me, “The Hogwarts Library” book set! This is a high quality hardcover set of extra books written by J.K. Rowling that emulate the books used by Harry and his friends in the H.P. series.

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The set includes:

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Quidditch Through the Ages
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard

After reading them, it was easy for me to decide that Fantastic Beasts was my favorite of the three. Why? I love animals, creature, and beasties whether they are of this Earth or reside within fiction.

The “author” is the magical beast fanatic and overall eccentric, Newt Scamander.

Newton (‘Newt’) Artemis Fido Scamander was born in 1897. His interest in fabulous beasts was encouraged by his mother, who was an enthusiastic breeder of fancy Hippogriffs.”

It also features a Foreword by Albus Dumbledore as well as notes scribbled by Harry and his friends. I found these notes very amusing. They turned what would be a mundane glossary section of the book into an entertaining one!

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Notice the word “section”. While the majority of this book is a glossary of magical beasts, it isn’t everything. See below for the contents listing.

CONTENTS

Foreword by Albus Dumbledore

Introduction by Newt Scamander

About This Book

What Is a Beast?

A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantasy Beasts

Magical Beasts in Hiding

Why Magizoology Matters

Ministry of Magic Classifications

An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts

About the Author

Now I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book, but I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was physically holding the same book that Hogwarts’ students held. This book as an e-book just wouldn’t do it for me. So do yourself a favor and buy this bad boy and the others paperback or (especially) hardback. You’ll thank me later. 😉

On to the fun stuff! I wanted to briefly mention that I love the names of the beasts exclusive to the H.P. world. They tickle me. Like, I genuinely giggle at some of the names. So here is a short list of some of the names I find amusing.

  • Billywig
  • Chizpurfle
  • Crup
  • Dugbog
  • Erkling
  • Fwooper
  • Lobalug
  • Murtlap
  • Niffler
  • Plimpy
  • Snidget

I took the time to write a list of the beasts that interested me and narrowed it down to one favorite (because I’m a super geek) to give everyone an example of what sort of information you might find.

// Drumroll //

Antipodean Opaleye

“The Opaleye is a native of New Zealand, though it has been known to migrate to Australia when territory becomes scarce in its native land. Unusually for a dragon, it dwells in valleys rather than mountains. It is of medium size (between two and three tonnes). Perhaps the most beautiful type of dragon; it has iridescent, pearly scales and glittering, multi-coloured, pupil-less eyes, hence its name. This dragon produces a very vivid scarlet flame, though by dragon standards it is not particularly aggressive and will rarely kill unless hungry. Its favourite food is sheep, though it has been known to attack larger prey. A spate of kangaroo killings in the late 1970’s were attributed to a male Opaleye ousted from his homeland by a dominant female. Opaleye eggs are pale grey and may be mistaken for fossils by unwary Muggles.”

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Film

On September 12 2013, Warner Bros and Rowling announced they will be producing a film inspired by the book, being the first in a new trilogy. Rowling herself will be the screenwriter. She came up with a plan for a movie after Warner Bros. suggested the idea. Here is the statement released by J.K. Rowling.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.”

Rowling will make her screen writing debut with this film. David Heyman, who produced the Harry Potter films, will be returning as producer for Fantastic Beasts.

  • October 2013, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe stated he would likely not be a part of the film.
  • March 2014, Warner Bros. confirmed that the story would be released as a trilogy.
  • May 2014, no director or cast member has been confirmed.
  • May 2014, according to entertainment reporter Nikki Finke, Alfonso Cuarón, who directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is in talks to direct the film, but Cuarón denied about directing the film.
  • July 2014, Warner Bros. announced that J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to shoot at the Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the U.K., which also happens to house the Harry Potter Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter.

 

Needless to say, I am super excited about this movie! I always found the magical beasts of the H.P. world to be really odd and fascinating so let’s see which of them they decide to include. Maybe I’ll get to see an Antipodean Opaleye or a cute Kneazle!

Britney

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Harry Potter Month!

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We wanted to let everyone know that we are going to be doing a Harry Potter themed month as this month is his birthday! July 31st, to be exact.

So expect to see at least one H.P. post a week from us, all with varying topics and neat stuff! We have some interesting things to show y’all so do stop by each week. (If you don’t already, that is! ;D)

That being said, we’re kicking it off with a Hogwarts’ Houses Poll!

Britney

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Love of Written Words

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I was sitting at work today thinking of what topic should I post about tonight and then I realized I haven’t discussed books yet. I, like all my fellow geeks am an avid reader. I truly love to read and in different formats. I do own a nook tablet and the size of the screen is perfect for reading manga  and if I want to read a particular book  I do not own and have no time to purchase it in store I like that I can have it right when I want it. I also use it to decide if I really loved the book I will purchase  a hard coy to keep on the shelf with my others and if I didn’t  care for it then I won’t worry with it While the nook is handy nothing beats a real book. Ones with aged yellow pages and a scent that I wish I could bottle .

My love affair with books began when I was little and my favorite book was The Wind in the Willows. It will always have a special place in my heart. I can remember going to a book fair at school when I was in the second grade and while most kids were buying coloring books and those wacky science experiment kits to play with I had had my eye on this book that was supposed to be a fictional diary by a young Cleopatra. I was obsessed with Egypt so I begged my mom for the money for the book and very excitedly I purchased the book along with bookmark with a beautiful tassel on it. I felt so grown up. Now that I’m older and have many many more under my belt I’ve read some books that have left me with a meh feeling and others that have left me awestruck and awakened my soul. I’ve mourned the loss of many fictional characters and for others at the end of a series sat back like a proud parent. When I read I feel like Harry approaching the pensieve. I turn slowly to the first page then plunge face first letting the scenes envelope me as a movie reel plays in my mind.

I’m not sure how many others do this but I often envision myself as the heroine of a story. When I read these lovely stories I’m not just the girl that gets up for work every morning to go to the same job day after day doing the same routine. In these books I’ve battled dark elves, I’ve ridden dragons, I’ve lead rebellions but most importantly I’ve gone on adventures.

I can’t imagine my life without books. Without them I wouldn’t have learned of all these emotions within me to be able to feel something so deep.

To all of the wonderful authors out there please continue to do all that you do and thank you for taking me on adventures I never thought possible. Thank you. -Kelly