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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

I have watched all the movies but amazingly, as yet, haven't read any of the books. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.


It is great reading from cover to cover as we follow young Harry Potter discovering he's a wizard and immersing himself in his new school, Hogwarts, for wizards and witches.

I found Professor Snape to be the most fascinating of all the characters, and I look forward to see how he develops in the books as opposed to the movies.


For Teaser Tuesday, which is hosted by MizB, I have selected this paragraph near the end. Ok, it's more than two sentences, but it was the standout part of the book for me. I stopped reading to share it on facebook!


"Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realise that love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign ... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good."


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Alex Ferguson's autobiographies; Teaser Tuesday

Alex Ferguson's two autobiographies

Perhaps the greatest British football manager ever, Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United for the best part of 27 years, an unparalleled feat of longevity in our time. Coupled with huge and continuous success, Alex Ferguson restored the glory years to this illustrious club, elevating it above Liverpool as the most successful English team in history.

"Managing My Life" is the first of his autobiographies beginning from his early days growing up in Govan, his days as a player in Scotland, his seasons as a manager in Scotland, and his spell in charge of Manchester United up until the famous Euorpean Cup final triumph on that magical night in Barcelona in 1999.

"One Year On - Fully Updated Edition" is the second of his works and covers his time from his first European Cup success up until his retirement, and beyond as the club moved forward under new management.

These two books provide the avid sports fan with a fascinating look into the world of football, the management of human beings, the daily hard work that it takes to be successful, behind-the-scenes intricacies involving players and coaches, transfer policies and transactions, balancing family life with work, while also looking back in some detail on momentous and significant matches which shaped Manchester United.

A thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing read, and rather unique of its kind. There will probably never be a manager again like Alex Ferguson who can stay for 27 years at a club the stature of Manchester United.



Here's a teaser from 'Alex Ferguson, One Year On,' by Alex Ferguson, in conjunction with Teaser Tuesday which is held by MizB at Should Be Reading:

"He was such a brilliant long passer that he could choose a hair on the head of any team-mate answering the call of nature at our training ground. Gary Neville once thought he had found refuge in a bush, but Scholesy found him from 40 yards."

Ok, I thought that was hilarious, but I guess you have to be a football fan to really appreciate it!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Around the World in Eighty Days Book Review

I finished reading Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days"  around a week ago and so I've had some time to gather my thoughts on it. This is a REVIEW so if you don't want to know what generally goes down in this book, stop reading now.


Phileas Fogg is the lead character, the Englishman who sets off on a journey circumnavigating the globe after a bet with friends who suggested it was impossible to be done in 80 days. He is the sort of character who is not troubled by anything, remains unbelievably positive in every situation, and somehow always finds a way around the tightest circumstance.

Personally, I don't like such characters, they are almost too good to be true, and as you read on, you just know that whatever happens, Mr. Fogg will come up with something to continue his journey around the world on schedule.

On the contrary, I can much more relate to those who have their frailties and human pitfalls. Passepartout, Mr. Fogg's French servant, is by far and away the star of the novel for me. He demonstrates passion, fight, ecstasy and despair. The reader can understand his emotions and actions. It was Passepartout who came up with the genius idea that saved Mrs. Aouda from certain death, and ultimately, it was this servant who realised at the end that they were in fact, one day ahead of themselves, a result of their eastward trek around the globe.

Around the World in Eighty Days gave a couple of interesting insights into Indian culture (the train and elephant journey across the country) and the Mormon religion (the train ride across Utah and the Mormon missionary's discourse). However, there were many parts of the story that seemed to pass by in a blur, which could possibly have been described in a lot more detail. Mr. Fogg and his accomplices did move on from one country to the next, one continent to the next, with alarming rapidity.

The best part of the book, however, was saved for the end, and for the first time, it showed emotion in the cold Mr. Fogg. Mrs. Aouda asks his hand in marriage, to which he replies with these legendary words:

"I love you. Yes, in truth, by everything most sacred in the world, I love you, and I am entirely yours!"

To say that was unexpected would be a gross understatement! It was a little masterclass from Jules Verne. The journey around the world didn't make Mr. Fogg much money in the end, but it did open his heart and he found true happiness and love.
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