Reading Journal (May 27): Distraction

Confession: the second week of the month, I read different books than those I mentioned last week. The first week I’d determined to read less this month – and I did. The books I started (a nonfiction politics book, Julius Caesar, and Galsworthy’s Saga) were heavy and slow, so reading them slowly is a good plan. But I couldn’t focus. Maybe it was the spring weather, or maybe it was the holiday feeling of having my husband working from home.

At any rate, that second week of the month, I reread Harry Potter 1, 2, and 3.  I don’t normally reread books on a whim like that, but it was kind of nice to read something completely easy for a change. Last week I also started reading Goblet of Fire, but then I felt like reading Julius Caesar, so now I’m back to reading my regularly scheduled books. Maybe I’ll finish rereading Goblet of Fire in June, and then the other three in the subsequent months in preparation for the new movie when it comes out. (I never see movies in the theater, so it may be a while before I’ll see it. I may have to make an exception for this, though….)

Now, don’t get me wrong by this next comment and remember that I enjoy all the Harry Potter books and the movies and all that. But in rereading the series (which I also did before Deathly Hallows came out), what really stands out is how Harry Potter (the child) is actually kind of an annoying brat. Does anyone else think that, or am I the lone critic?

Currently Reading and Library Loot

Anyway, I’m back to reading my other books. They are not going very quickly, which may be why I felt the urge for some quick reading, but I’m making progress.

I’ve just finished Julius Caesar (I’m reading some commentary and listening to the audio as well before I write my review) and I have about five pages left in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Treasury, which I’m reading aloud to my son. Those reviews should come soon. I’ll also announce a winner for my contest in the coming week. I’m also listening to 1984 when I drive in the car; I may finish in the coming week, depending on how much I drive.

Funny thing: I just read one of the commentaries for Shakespeare’s play and Julius Caesar is compared to Orwell’s Big Brother. It was a bit weird to see two of my current books crossing paths. Does that ever happen to you?

In the coming week, I hope to finish another 100 pages or so of Galsworthy (to finish the first book of the trilogy), as well as finish reading the introductions to Arabian Nights. When I finish those two goals, I’m going to put some time toward Clash of Civilizations: it is a book that deserves concentration.

My Books

  • The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (220 read of 900 pages; fiction)
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (via, about 38% finished, estimated finish date of August 18)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (200 read of 750 pages; children’s fiction) currently on hold

Library Loot

  • 1984 by George Orwell (audiobook, on disc 5 of 9 discs, equal to 360 pages; fiction).
  • The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington (100 read of 340 pages; nonfiction).
  • The Arabian Nights translated by Husain Haddawy (in the middle of introductions, out of 425 pages; fiction).
  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (audiobook, 2 hours; drama). I’d like to listen to it as well.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (235 pages; fiction). I returned the audiobook, which didn’t work for me, but I’m again entertaining the idea of reading it.
  • Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts (audiobook, about 6 hours; nonfiction). My next audiobook to listen to.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. YES YES YES!! I’m so glad someone else feels that way about Harry. I mean, I love the books, I’ve read them over 20 times each, but the more I read, the more I dislike Harry. He doesn’t bother me as much in those first couple books, but as he goes along, his hotheadedness really drives me crazy. I really hate his dad, who is every bit as nasty as Snape claims he is. I think if Harry lost his attitude and stopped mouthing off all the time, I’d like him better. And that’s not to say I don’t like him at all. I do like him. If I didn’t, that’d make the books hard to read. But I like some of the other characters more, and I can see how flawed and blind Harry is.

  2. Ah, every so often I get a craving to re-read some of the Harry Potter books – my problem is a bit like what you mention experiencing, namely that once you start the series, there’s this compulsion to finish the remaining books as well (you can’t read just one). I don’t know how you’re managing to put GoF on hold, as that’s my very favorite book in the series, and the one I probably find the most “unputdownable”. 😉 But I agree Harry can be a bit of a pain at times (I really dislike him throughout the majority of Book 5, and tend to simply refer to him as Capslock Harry in that book). Then again, I also grow tired of Ron quite frequently, and sometimes even Hermione.

    I’ve been in a bit of a reading groove of late, but I fully admit that I’ve been blazing through the books in large part because the books I’m choosing have been quite a bit shorter than say yours! 😉

  3. Interesting thoughts about Harry! I guess he is just as human as the rest of us, even with his being a wizard!

    Funny, I’m also reading the introduction to “The Arabian Nights”. My version is different. It’d be interesting to compare the two versions. The one I have has an intro and notes by Muhsin al-Musawi; but the translation is the English version of Antoine Galland’s French translation back in the 1860’s. Hmm—I didn’t pay too much attention to that when I picked the book up.

  4. Oh good, I’m glad I’m not alone on the Harry Potter thing.

    Amanda, I feel similarly about Harry’s father: I don’t like him too much. It kind of bothers me how Harry idol-worships him! Poor Snape…..

    Steph, My favorite is Prisoner of Azkaban, which is the “unputdownable” one for me! So I guess my Harry Potter “compulsion” was satisfied with that one. Plus, they just get so long that I was ready to move on and Harry begins feeling like “Capslock Harry” in Goblet of Fire. I like him better as a younger, more innocent kid; he becomes rather high and mighty in subsequent books. I’m still going to finish Goblet of Fire in the coming month, just not this week. I think after I finish my looooong books, I’m going to read a few novellas. Won’t that be fun?

    Valerie, the lengthy introduction to Haddaway’s translation pretty much says all other “translations” fail to appropriately translate the tales, but maybe he says so because he’s trying to convince us his is best; he grew up in Baghdad listening to the tales from his grandmother and obviously feels a personal connection to the tales. His opinions obviously must be taken with a grain of salt, but here’s what he says about Galland (which he believes is the best “other” translation, but he calls it an adaptation):

    “[Galland’s] French translation of the basic stories was based on none other than the fourteenth-century Syrian text, as well as other sources. But instead of following the text faithfully, Galland deleted, added, and altered drastically to produce not a translation, but a French adaptation, or rather a work of his own creation. He did succeed however, in establishing the work as a classic…”

    I personally would be wary of a translation of a translation, but that’s just me, and I’ve now (already!) been swayed by Haddawy’s claim that other translations are inadequate.

  5. I rarely read the books I put down on my blog. It’s funny I checked out Harry Potter yesterday so I can start re-reading the series again. Harry doesn’t start out annoying but once he hits puberty. . . Rowling portrayed it realistically! I’m just like Steph, once I start reading the series I can’t stop.

  6. Vasilly, yes, it’s realistic. But I realistically wouldn’t like Harry if I met him in person! I just got a little bored this time around, since I know what will happen. I’ll finish it, just with other books in the middle of it!

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