Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Characters I Would Love to Revisit as Adults

toptentuesday

Image via The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by the The Broke and the Bookish, is all about checking in with our favorite literary characters from our childhood. It’s great when you’re a kid reading about other kids–often from magical places–but what would those characters’ lives be like when they’re all grown up?

I can only imagine all of the shout-outs to Harry Potter from other book bloggers, but I’ve purposefully left that series off my list. As much as I love Harry and friends, let’s make room for other awesome novels!

Kids Books

  1. Jonas from The Giver by Lois Lowry
  2. The Tuck family from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  3. The children from The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
  4. Artemis from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
  5. Bartimaeus from the Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud
  6. Lyra and Will from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
  7. Addie and Meryl from The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
  8. Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones
  9. The Baudelaires from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  10. Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
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Upcoming Movie Adaptations: Witches and Fairies and Titans, Oh My!

This week has been chock-full of news about the latest stories to hit the big screen, so let’s jump right into the headlines–all of which were published at ComingSoon.net.

Image via Coming Soon

Nicholas Hoult of “X-Men” and “Mad Max” reboot fame will play renowned and reclusive author J.D. Salinger in the film, “Rebel in the Rye.” The movie will be written and directed by Danny Strong, the creator behind the FOX show, “Empire,” and the screenplays of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2.” I’m so confused by this casting, because I don’t see any resemblance whatsoever, but Salinger is an intriguing enough figure that I might give this biopic a try. Release date TBD.

Image via Coming Soon

Two years after Disney announced that they would be producing the adaptation for beloved children’s series Artemis Fowl, Kenneth Branagh has been signed on as director. I absolutely loved these magical books by Eoin Colfer, so if this movie is a flop, I’ll be crushed. However, given Branagh’s outrageously impressive filmography (acting as Gilderoy Lockhart in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” directing the bestselling “Thor” and “Cinderella,” and participating in more Shakespearean adaptations than I can count), I’m optimistic that this movie is in good hands. Release date TBD.

Image via Coming Soon

On the other side of the world, Japan has been all a buzz with the live-action adaptation of the hit manga series Attack on Titan. I highly recommend reading the comics and watching the anime, because I haven’t seen anything like this story about a city ravaged by gigantic man-eating monsters and a boy ready to avenge his mother’s death at all costs. Not to worry, the U.S. will be releasing this film in limited theaters, with Part 1 out 9/30, 10/1, 10/7, and Part 2 out 10/20, 10/22, and 10/27.

Image via Coming Soon

Lastly, Shakespeare buffs will be dying to see the upcoming rendition of “Macbeth,” starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. This is my favorite play by the Bard, so I was practically squealing with delight while watching the trailer for the first time. Check it out below, and mark your calendars for its release on December 4th.

Are you as excited for these films as I am? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Top Ten Literary Characters I’d Like to Check in With

Image via The Broke and the Bookish

Have you ever wondered what certain literary characters are up to nowadays? How did their lives turn out after they conquered that villain or got married? Even when we get to “The End,” we know that it’s only the beginning for the stories we don’t get the privilege to read.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, discusses which literary characters we’d most like to check in with. It’s like when you run into someone from school you haven’t talked to in forever, and you both agree to grab coffee sometime, but you never do, because let’s face it, neither of you is really that interested. Instead, in this case, you genuinely care what these characters have been doing all this time!

To get right to it, here are the top ten literary characters I’d like to check in with:

Ladies Bouncing Back from Bad Situations

 

 

1. Daisy from The Great Gatsby
2. Jane from Jane Eyre
3. Medea from Euripides’ Medea
4. Violet from A Series of Unfortunate Events

Happily Ever After?

 

5. The All-American Girls
6. Mia from The Princess Diaries
7. Lyra and Will from His Dark Materials

Growing Up in Their Golden Ages

8. The Ringbearers from The Lord of the Rings

9. Artemis from Artemis Fowl

10. The students of Hogwarts from Harry Potter

Book Review: Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5

I feel like it’s the end of an era, because I finally finished the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. I reviewed the penultimate novel, The Atlantis Complex, last year, and I’m pleased to say that the finale was much better.

If you haven’t heard of Artemis Fowl, let me bring you up to speed. Artemis is a boy genius with unsurpassed intellect, upscale taste in designer suits and classical music, and an obsession with increasing his already massive family fortune. His penchant for illicit scheming makes him many enemies, but he’s always shadowed by his best friend/bodyguard Butler.

The book series covers his life from ages 12-15, starting when he kidnaps an elf military officer named Holly Short to gain access to fairy gold to the present novel in which he puts aside his greed to save humanity. After seven books, Artemis and Holly are close comrades, and together with centaur techie Foaly and conniving dwarf Mulch Diggums, they must once again band together to stop the series’ pixie villain Opal Koboi.

It’s interesting to see an author’s writing style evolve over the course of a saga, and at times I felt Colfer inserted too much politics in regards to climate change or animal species preservation. The Atlantis Complex did not feel true to the series when Artemis became an obnoxious schizophrenic. Reading that novel, I was worried that Colfer had lost his magic.

But it came back full force in The Last Guardian. As Opal used time travel to thwart the LEP, I too felt like my younger self, literally laughing out loud at the many jokes that made the series so fun when I was in middle school. Being entertained by Mulch’s flatulence might seem juvenile, but with Artemis and friends battling an army of possessed crickets and ducks, how could you not chuckle?

Harry Potter fans will most likely draw similarities between the two supernatural stories, especially at the end of The Last Guardian. Artemis must make a sacrifice like Harry, but I won’t give away the details. I’ll just say that you walk away with that sad, yet satisfied feeling of fulfillment.

I only wish there could have been more romance between Artemis and Holly! Is that weird? I know that love blossoming between a teenage human boy and a three-foot-tall, 80-year-old elf would be far-fetched, but readers of the series know just how close they’ve become over the years. And in my opinion, nothing Artemis does can be considered normal or average, so I wouldn’t expect his love life to be either.

Lack of love story aside, reading Artemis Fowl has been a wonderful ride, and I would recommend the tale to anybody. Don’t wait until the movie comes out, because after eight years of conflicts, ranging from financial disputes between Disney and the Weinstein Company to the creative decision between CGI and live-action, the project has been shelved as of last year. The odds of seeing Artemis on-screen soon are slim, but at least you have time to catch up reading!

The Reading Phases of My Life (So Far)

I’m half-way done with The Last Guardian, the finale of Artemis Fowl, and I’ve been reflecting on my experience with the series as a whole. I started reading Eoin Colfer’s best-selling saga since the first novel was published in 2001. I was about 12-years-old at the time, so eight books later, the Artemis Fowl series has spanned half my life.

Thus, Artemis Fowl has meant almost as much to me as Harry Potter, in terms of how many years I’ve spent reading the books. And what’s funny to me, is that young-adult fantasy has not always been a favorite genre of mine. In fact, I find it interesting to see how my reading habits have evolved over time, so I thought that I would share them in a quasi-timeline, if you will…

Early Childhood (ages 5-8)

When I was a kid, I loved educational stories. I remember two of my favorites were The Magic School Bus and Kratt’s Creatures. Many of my classmates attributed my love for learning to my mother, who’s a 3rd-grade teacher, and although she contributed so much to my intellectual development, I was also very self-motivated. To this day, much of what I can recall about the human body or the ocean, I learned from Mrs. Frizzle. And that’s not a bad thing at all!

Middle Childhood (ages 9-11)

During this time, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. I’m a huge animal lover, so I gravitated toward stories about them. I enjoyed Island of the Blue Dolphins, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Because of Winn-Dixie. Toward middle school, I had an obsession with wolves, and Jack London became one of my favorite authors after I read The Call of the Wild and White Fang. I no longer want to be a vet, since I’d rather play with pets than treat their ailments; it’s similar to how I now avoid reading sob-fests like Marley and Me–why is it that I’ll mourn a human character’s death for a day, but when the dog goes, it’s a full-blown depression?

Young Adult (ages 12-17)

Originally, I scoffed at the idea of reading Harry Potter. A book about a school for wizards? Balderdash! I was knee-deep in tales about Alaskan sled-dogs. But after the persistent nagging of a good friend, I became just as hooked as everybody else. It was one of those, “Where have you been all my life?!” moments, and it unlocked the gate to some great literature. I fell in love with His Dark Materials, The Lord of the Rings, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Lost Years of Merlin, the Bartimaeus trilogy, The Young Wizards series, and–of course, Artemis Fowl. After experiencing fantasy like that, the real world never looked the same again.

The College Years (ages 18-22)

I know that I haven’t addressed required reading for the very fact that it was required. Every high school student was forced to read A Tale of Two Cities, so even though I loved it, the chances of me picking it up myself were slim. However, my tastes matured in college, and I sought out classics because I wanted to. Wuthering Heights, The Age of Innocence, and 1984 were all examples of me reading for reading’s sake. It’s no wonder that some of my favorite novels ever were read during a time when I could truly appreciate them.

That’s not to say all my reading was sophisticated. I had always passed by the romance section in the bookstore, but it wasn’t until a good friend of mine from UC Santa Cruz recommended some, that I actually got the guts to dive in. Because of my friend, I became a big fan of Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Nerd series. Now I balance out the literary with the lusty by swapping between classics and romances. I like switching it up!

The Future

Now I’d say that my reading comfort zone consists of classics, fantasy, sci-fi, chick-lit, romance, historical fiction, and memoir. There’s some genres I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, such as horror or spiritual, but my blog has made me more open to recommendations. I’ve realized how much fun audio-books can be, and once I can no longer fit anything on my bookshelves, I’ll have to invest in a tablet. I like jumping on bandwagons, as well as discovering hidden gems. Many book blogs have a niche, but I’m not the type to limit what I read. Life’s too short! Who knows what books we’ll obsess over and where our reading will take us!

Top 5 Fictional Vacation Destinations

It’s finally Friday, and although I should be writing my comprehensive paper that’s due in two weeks, I wanted to take a break to talk about what’s really on my mind: vacation. (Or yasumi as the Japanese call it). My brother and I are so excited to visit the Pokemon Center and Studio Ghibli museum in Japan, my girlfriends and I can’t wait to party it up in Vegas–even my parents are busy planning their 25th anniversary getaway. So let’s just say senioritis is kicking in full force!

For fun I thought I would share my top 5 fictional vacation destinations: the places that don’t actually exist, but I would book a trip in a heartbeat if they did. And no, Narnia is not on the list–talking beavers and lion messiahs are not my idea of a good time, sorry!

5. Fowl Manor in Artemis Fowl

What Fowl Manor might look like

Boy genius Artemis Fowl lives in a 15th century castle on a 200-acre estate an hour from Dublin, Ireland. It is covered by oak trees and stone walls, along with a state-of-the-art security system. His great-great-great-grandfather added a ton of rooms in the 18th century, but the castle still possesses its original guard towers and walkways. It’s a gorgeous home, and did we mention it comes with your own Butler? That is, Artemis’ family servant Butler, who is a martial arts and weapons expert. Whether you’re trying to escape some evil elves or just have a private weekend with loved ones, Fowl Manor puts most five-star hotels to shame.

4. Howl’s Moving Castle

Perfect for hanging laundry!

Originally a 1986 novel written by Diana Wynne Jones, it was adapted by Studio Ghibli in 2004. Wizard Howl lives in a magical castle that appears to be made of blocks of coal since a fire demon named Calcifer holds it together. The door to the castle actually has a doorknob with four dabs of paint, one for each of its four locations. That’s right, this castle has secret portals to four other places! And Howl can change these destinations whenever he wants, so you’re always left guessing! In the anime, the castle was made to look very industrial, and although it doesn’t quite have curb appeal, you really get the bang for your buck with all its extra locations!

3. Ouran Academy in Ouran High School Host Club

Jealous, aren't you?

If you haven’t read this manga by Bisco Hatori or watched the anime or live-action drama, then you are simply missing out. Ouran Academy is a (fictional) private high school in Tokyo where only the richest students attend. Now although it might be weird to say you want to vacation at a school, just look at that photo from the Japanese drama! Talk about classy (pun intended!) But of course, the real reason to visit is to hang out with the Host Club, a group of insanely hot guys whose only job is to treat their clients like princesses. If all schools were like this, dropout rates would vanish, that’s for sure!

2. Hogsmeade from Harry Potter

I guess the amusement park will have to do!

Hogwarts would be the obvious choice, but there’s room for only one school on this list! Plus, Hogsmeade is just as fun. Nothing sounds better than sipping a butterbeer and shopping ’til you drop at Zonko’s Joke Shop. You can even stock up on all the wizarding essentials: wands, quills, cauldrons, and more! While some cynics might call Hogsmeade a magical strip mall, fans know that this destination exudes warmth and plenty of mystery too. If only travel websites could book the Three Broomsticks Inn, I’d reserve a room pronto!

1. Rivendell from The Lord of the Rings

Paradise, plain and simple

If you know me, my #1 fictional vacation destination is no surprise. Meaning “deeply cloven valley,” Rivendell is located in northern Middle Earth near the river Bruinen. Although it does snow there in the winter, the summers are warm–in fact, many allege that it’s on the same latitude as Tolkien’s Oxford and based on a real village in Switzerland where Tolkien had taken a hiking trip. It’s probably the most beautiful setting I’ve ever seen (on film anyway). Who wouldn’t want to mingle with elves among waterfalls and forests? Move over Heaven, because you have competition!

So where would you love to stay in your imagination? Any literary locations that you want to add to the list?

2011 Book Review Catch-Up: Part 1

So in case you haven’t noticed, there’s six books that I read this past summer that I did not have the opportunity to review. In order to effectively rank them from best to worst, I wanted to introduce the novels properly. Yes, I’ve taken valuable time away from my Christmas just for you guys! (That’s okay, though, I needed a break from stuffing my face with food anyway!)

I decided to do mini-reviews for two books at a time, starting with two science-fiction young adult novels: A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane and Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer.

A Wizard of Mars

A Wizard of Mars (Rating: 3.5 out of 5)

This ninth installment in Duane’s Young Wizard series, published in 2010, takes teenage wizards Nita and Kit back to Mars to learn about the planet’s alien species. Unfortunately, they’re caught up in a galactic conflict which could destroy Earth in the process. Although it seemed like Duane did her research on the red planet extremely well, I’m getting tired of this series. I’ve been reading it since middle school, but it began in 1983, and many of the novels seem to take the form of “filler” stories. Duane herself has admitted that she sees no end in sight, and writes as she goes. So what started out as magical has become stale and without purpose. However, I still love these characters and hope that Nita and Kit get a real romance going soon. Maybe a bit of outlining on the author’s part will give this series the structure it so desperately needs and will maintain my attention span for a few more years.

Cover of "The Atlantis Complex (Artemis F...

Cover via Amazon

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (Rating: 3 out of 5)

This seventh and penultimate novel in Eoin Colfer’s series, also published in 2010, hit a new low. I have loved this tale of boy genius Artemis Fowl, but now this boy is a teenager suffering from “the Atlantis Complex,” a psychological fairy syndrome with symptoms such as OCD and split personalities. He creates an alter ego called “Orion,” who is a flamboyant, obnoxious character with Don Quixote-esque delusions of adventure and romance. Meanwhile, Butler and Juliet fight luchadores in Mexico, and Turnball Root concocts a scheme to save his aging human wife Leonor. Overall, this novel suffers from the same staleness as A Wizard of Mars, but thankfully the final book–The Last Guardian–will be released sometime next year. I wish Colfer would ditch his overly moral storyline on global warming and return to us the mischievous Artemis we all fell in love with, but I highly doubt that’ll happen.

So these two science-fiction novels, although drastically different in subject matter and writing style, fell victim to the same weakness of becoming tiring after so many years into their respective sagas. But if you’ve been a fan of Duane or Colfer, I trust you’ll be following them to the very end.