Books

Magical Readathon: Christmas at Hogwarts | Wrap-Up

Sorry! I woke up at 9:30 am, I’m not sure I’m late or not? Time zones are a little wonky at Ilvermorny. Oh well, I didn’t get to bed until 1 am taking care of my Christmas tree and other plant friends. Anywho, going to sit in the common room to finish my coursework now.


My Beijing: Four stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve forever been in love with Asian culture and its traditions and this book is such a treat, following a little girl named Yu’er and her grandfather who live in a hutong (basically a close-knit neighborhood) with a few of their neighbors. It features four little intimate dreams coming to life in one magical way or another – Yu’er wanting to become an Olympic swimmer, a musical bug theater, a sweet story about how her grandfather & grandmother meet through the power of stamp collecting, and a grumpy old painter. The colors and art style were delightful, I wonder if Nie Jun imbued some magic into his paintbrushes as he was illustrated this, I only know of one blonde-haired craftswoman with some sparkle in her silvery brush but that’s a story for another day. I heard the Beijing School of Magic has a renowned all-girls martial arts team, though.

It’s now about 10 o’ clock and I haven’t eaten yet but thankfully Pudgewudgie Tower has its own kitchen and a few of the older students already made breakfast. Usually, we just have an array of cereals stacked in the cabinets and different kinds of milk for whoever wants which – cow, soy, almond – someone has a jug of goats milk for some reason – but it’s the holidays so I guess they went all out. I made myself a cup of green tea, and grabbed a plate to fill with a couple whole-wheat Belgian waffles, a pack of cinnamon butter, an apple, and a block of chocolate for later.

The Shrouding Mist is usually clear by this time but it’s been getting colder, maybe the Naiads were still sleeping, I like to think their warm-blood helps clear the morning mist, just not enough to unfreeze the whole lake, every creature has their own type of magic. Naiads are mostly a nice bunch, just easily offended sometimes, then they can be real jerks trying to drown people and what not. Maybe the summer heat just gets to their heads quickly around that time but I get along with them well enough. (It’s a bit cold…)

Tragically, we don’t have a Hagrid here at Ilvermorny, Care of Magical Creatures is more of an elective than a required class so there’s no set teacher for it. But I love getting his letters every week! He suggested a million different teas for me to try and tells me about his most recent eggs that have hatched and I’ve been telling him all about Jackalopes and their wonderful babies. Last night was kind of lonely for me but it was past curfew to go out and tell the trees. Do you ever tell the trees your troubles? or secrets? It’s great for the mind, we tell the trees our struggles and our heartaches and they return the favor through a bit of hard labor and creativity, by giving us a bit of their soul to hold in our hands and read their story through all the beautiful books throughout the world. So I will have to decorate my tiny bedside tree alone but at least I can enjoy hearing what one of his friends has to say.


The Serpent’s Secret: Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond by Sayantani Dasgupta
⭐⭐⭐⭐

How beautiful is this cover?! There are some recent fantasy/adventure books that have grown within the shady landscape of Uncle Rick’s garden of hyacinth, peonies, and narcissus – deeply rooted in folklore & mythology, charming characters, a rich world to dive into – and this was a fun adventure to join the fields! I’d explain the plot myself, but I’d rather give that honor to the beautifully illustrated book trailer – the art featured is sprinkled throughout the book as well and bursting with vibrant color!

I read this along with the Playaway and while it clocks in at 32 chapters, they’re very short, no longer a real-time than 10-15 minutes. This first in a series does wonderfully in flourishing the inspirations of its Indian/Hindu mythological elements and characters, I love discovering a different nation’s perspective on the reason why the world is the way it is. Through Kiran’s journey, there are countless riddles, serpents that speak in rhyme, winged horses, and a bright yellow oh so puny bird Even our main characters, Kiranmala, Lalkkamal, and Neelkamal, are derived from Indian children’s stories. I can’t accurately comment on the rep of Indian immigration, but there was a cheeky reference to a border checkpoint, also the overall theme of acceptance and holding on to your heritage. Kiran is just like any other 13-year-old girl always being embarrassed by her parents and dealing with snooty-faced fellow girl bullies, I like her for being irrevocably confident in her family, the one who raised you and took the time to love you, it isn’t always the people who brought you into the world and that’s completely fine. She has no doubts about who her family is. Refreshingly, this didn’t end on a big, dramatic cliffhanger – maybe some pre-pubescent, adorkable flirting… (:3) But the best part was the author’s note afterword, detailing the inspirations for DasGupta’s modern fantasy. So yeah, I really enjoyed this! Time to go to find a yellow dragon!

Tuesday, I read a little here and there but I was mostly in the library for work, but at least there are infinity mugs full of hot chocolate! And for working there, I don’t have to pay any overdue fees! Which is fabulous since I check out a LOT of books, mostly No-maj graphic novels, and Herbology guides.

It’s now Wednesday, which is usually my manga/anime day. So, I decided to catch up on the series, Yona of the Dawn, over at the Lion’s Den in Stockbridge later today, after cleaning my room for Saturday inspection. We have the Steward Square instead of Hogsmeade but it’s too crowded for my liking, especially during the holiday break. I don’t mind the 45-minute broomstick ride, and the various lion painting and statues everywhere in the pub are sweet to talk to about your day. Except for Gary by the entryway, he doesn’t like people getting mud all over his carpet but it has a dirt-repellent spell put on it, I don’t know why he has to be so stingy. Samson is nicer, he’s a part of a sign under a table by the front window with a perfect reading lantern, it’s my favorite spot. I was talking with him last week about the new lion king remake and showed him the teaser trailer, he laughed with a wheezy and almost hyena-like boisterousness. He asked me how the talking animal’s angle was going to work, I assumed either bracelet charms for the whole crew or a charmed throat spray.

My brother came to meet me with his DVD player so we could finally complete Soul Eater and it was a fun ending! Only a brief stay, however, he had to go for some last minute Christmas shopping with mom so it was just me, my manga and a cup of apple cider (I’m not a pixie wine drinker) with Samson napping above my head. They have live music all the time, today is soft rock swirled with the booming laughter of a few guys getting high off giggle water by the bar, the lion painting’s odd circus tricks weren’t helping deafen the volume either. I moved to the velvet-backed booths in the dining area next to the fireplace, the wind was ear-biting on the way over here so I ordered a bowl of beef chili. It only cost 40 Dragots (or $20), they’ll accept either but I didn’t have any cash on me. I might come back up Saturday though, they’ll be playing upbeat renditions of Sinatra songs!


Yona of the Dawn – Vol. 6 – 10
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I can’t say much here being in the middle of the series but it’s progressing very nicely! It’s a real shame the anime wasn’t able to reach this far. (The last volume to be connected to the anime is Vol. 7)

A Yule Ball sounds much more stellar than Prom…we just have prom… like any other No-Maj school, basically – maybe some magical embellishments, but yeah, it’s just prom – where eventually someone’s going to spike the punch or just be a general annoyance trying to get a Fortnite dance off going and ending up in “jail” for the rest of the night. Ours is annual during the second week in March so it’s already passed, this year was space-themed. Complete with moving constellation cups, an exclusive 30 Seconds to Mars/Walk the Moon/Jefferson Starship music playlist, and a popping rocks bar (Just a Tip: don’t close your mouth when the fireworks start, they’ll move to explode from your ears and give you a terrible migraine.) My dress was fun, sun-based with a warming spell woven into it so, despite the spaghetti-straps, I was warm as a toaster. (*trying to dig through my folders for the picture) I’m not huge on prom, it’s just a big dance and I’m not very good at that. I’d much rather just sit and enjoy the music – and not that I hated the music, it just got repetitive with only three artist choices, should’ve expanded their single-rity…(eh? No? No…okay, all I’m saying is Neptunes has a wider scope of songs.) Staying on brand, I brought a space adventure to read on the bleachers. They came with these “eclipse” glasses that make the pages jump out, with a totally immersive, atmospheric charm to block out the music from the DJ. All I can hear is an electrolyzed voice reading off briefing notes…



Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
… stars

~To be filled with words soon…~

Finally, the day of the Christmas Feast! It’s gotten fiercely cold this week with all the wind, but as much as I hate this biting weather, I thought it best to check on Clive. We have an owlery but being a barn owl, he prefers tree holes, we decided to meet in the middle and I made him a box on the edge of the forest at the west gate. If it were a nicer day, we would go on a hike, well I’d be the one who hikes picking up trash along the forest trail, he’d fly around catching voles and whatnot. But it’s much too cold now to venture in there, while it’s not off limits, no one really knows all the creatures that lurk within the green so we don’t generally leave the beaten path. Anywho, Clive wasn’t in his box when I got there….okay, this is between you and me, friends. I’m technically not supposed to have this on school grounds but a pal of mine who recently worked on Christopher Robin sent me one and if you know me and my Disney obsession then you know I couldn’t get rid of it… plus it’s helpful!

It’s just a special charm bracelet that aids in calling and understand the speech of my beautiful barn owl…where else do you think the impressive “Disney magic” came from? But only I can hear what he says and at least I modified it to call only Clive now and not every owl on the coast heh…He has to be within a fixed radius for me to understand all his chirps of course but if you put it between your teeth and blow, you’ll sound just like 

whatever owl you’ve charmed it to call.

Unfortunately, I will not be translating what he says for your reading pleasure because he is quite a pompous bird, in all his elegance. Luckily he loved to cuddle and has such a sweet-hearted face, otherwise, I might prank him with some Juicy Jackalope Jumpers for good measure. He landed on my shoulder to nuzzle my cheek hello when I got to a page about the Greater Sooty Owl, kind of like the yin to Clive’s yang color scheme, I wonder if he would want a partner…

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Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Beautiful watercolor illustrations to accompany insightful descriptions, Matt Sewell’s books are a real delight to complete any birder’s collection. 

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