July 31st — Harry Birthday!


Tomorrow (in our time zone at least) marks Harry Potter’s 29th birthday so I’m starting off the celebration by reliving the Harry Birthday party my cousin Dianne and I threw a couple of years ago, shortly after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I’ve a million other things to do tonight, so I’m posting an article I wrote for Manila Bulletin (dated 13 August 2007) after the legendary Harry Birthday Party! :)

Warning: extreme fandom alert. Hahaha, I think this is the first time my Harry Potter obsession will actually appear in this blog, so to my newfound book blogger friends, I hope you enjoy reading this!

Continue reading “July 31st — Harry Birthday!”

Guilty Pleasure: Special Edition HP

I couldn’t resist. After six months of longingly staring at it on the bookstore shelf, I finally took home my very own copy of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Special 10th Year Anniversary Edition, using part of my Book Geek winnings.

If you’ve just “tuned in” to my blog, well, I’m a big Harry Potter fan (^_^), and I collect different editions of Harry Potter books, even in languages I can’t read. I haven’t counted recently, but I think I’m up to nearly a hundred different Harry Potter books (I know, I know, I owe the readers of this blog a nice long pictorial entry on my collection, but I am still scrounging for time to do that).

While my ultimate dream is the collector’s edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, I have resigned myself to the impossibility of that for the moment, so this is the next best thing (or so I try to tell myself).

It’s practically the same as the hardbound US edition except for the dustjacket, clothcover, and the front matter.

Here are the photos (because I know my Flipper friends have been waiting to see this!):

dust jacket with special Mary Grand Pre art
Red clothcover with gilt stars
brand-new frontispiece, also by Mary Grand Pre
Copyright page
My favorite part: an early sketch of Snape by J.K. Rowling
and a little intro by JKR

P.S. Speaking of Harry Potter, here’s a hilarious video Dianne showed me yesterday. Enjoy!


My copy: hardcover with dustjacket

My rating: 5/5 stars

Book Geekiness

This is a long over-due post on my Book Gook Geek experience over at Fully Booked last month.

… hehe, here’s the new and improved banner:

A bunch of Flipper friends and I joined the Book Geek challenge, our second time actually, because we are suckers for book trivia and free books and a shot at P5000 worth of Fully Booked gift certificates (just under $100).

The actual contest went by in a blur to me, so I’m borrowing my cousin Dianne’s (she has her own book blog now too by the way, which recounts bargain book hunting adventures) recap of the event, and also her photos:

Blooey and I arrived at Fully Booked High Street at around 3 PM. We went straight to the fourth floor, only to find the venue completely empty (which was unsurprising, since we were about 30 minutes early). We decided to kill time by browsing around and gazing longingly at books we would never buy at full price. I kept asking Blooey whether she was anxious or excited, and she just shrugged and replied that she was “ok”. I think I was a lot more anxious than her.

At exactly 3:30 PM, we returned to the venue and registered. Joel G was already there, together with one other non-Flipper contestant. We were offered frozen raspberry shakes from Bo’s Coffee (one of the sponsors of the contest), which we gladly accepted. As we slurped our yummy creamy raspberry shakes, more people started to file into the room. One of them was a strange lady with big curly hair who later introduced herself as Madam Dementia. Turns out she was the host of the contest.

The contest proper was supposed to start at 4 PM, and around this time, more or less 10 contestants had shown up. Other Flippers who participated were Joel G and Marie. As Madam Dementia started to explain the mechanics of the contest, Honey arrived, barely making it past the cut-off time. Due to the brevity of last month’s contest, Fully Booked decided to change the rules a bit. The contestants were seated in a circle and were to pick out numbers (corresponding to book-related questions) from a bowl. However, in contrast to last month’s “sudden death” rule (i.e. you fail to answer the question correctly, you’re eliminated), contestants could either skip the question or pass it to another contestant. Should the person decide to skip the question, he/she has to answer 2 questions correctly in the next round to avoid elimination. If the person decides to pass it instead, he/she selects another person to answer for him/her. But if that person gets the question wrong, both of them will be eliminated. Contestants can only use pass and skip once.

Honey, me, and JoelG

This newly implemented rule was shamelessly abused the moment the first question was asked. The contestant was asked, “What was the crime in ‘Crime and Punishment’?” She decided to pass the question to another contestant, who also decided to pass it to the person sitting beside him, who passed it to Joel G, who passed it eventually to Honey. Just imagine the absurdity of the situation – 5 people faced elimination with just the first question. Luckily, Honey – the Classics expert/book lover extraordinaire/Literature goddess – hit the nail on the head by answering with, “Murder”. Several people remained in the contest (even several rounds later) thanks to her.

Marie answers a question

Honey’s turn

The funny thing was, despite Honey’s vast knowledge in all things bookish, she managed to draw questions regarding relatively unfamiliar territory – Harry Potter. Which was ironic because her downfall became Blooey’s saving grace. The same was true for Marie, who completely forgot the name of the street where the Dursleys lived. And so, after several nerve-racking rounds of questions about Harry Potter, Little Women (whoever created the questions was obviously a fan), The Count of Monte Cristo (ditto), Narnia, The Little Prince, Jane Eyre, Perfume (where the Flippers all laughed conspiratorially when Blooey was asked, “What is the one thing Jean-Baptiste Grenouille cannot smell?”), chick lit, popular thrillers, Pulitzer Prize winners, authors’ initials, pseudonyms and what not, Blooey and Honey made it to the Top Three.

There was a short break for everyone to catch their breath (the “sudden death” round lasted for about an hour). Afterwards, the Top Three contestants were each given white boards and markers. The rules were simple. Questions would be drawn by the judge and a point would be awarded for each correct answer. Whoever gets five points first wins the contest. The first question was drawn, and to Honey’s horror and Blooey’s delight, again, it’s Harry Potter-related (What was Lily Potter’s maiden name?). For the first round, only Blooey gets it right. The next question was about E.B. White, which all the contestants answered correctly. Another Harry Potter-related question pops up, (What is the title of J.K. Rowling’s late
st book?), which Blooey and Honey answer correctly. The final question, as luck would have it, was about Twilight. (What was the name of the book that was most often mentioned in Twilight?) When Blooey and Honey revealed their white boards, they had different answers. Honey answered, “Pride and Prejudice” and Blooey went for “Wuthering Heights”. In the end, Blooey had Heathcliff to thank as she was declared Book Geek of the month.

Lily Evans!

Tales of Beedle the Bard

I really wasn’t sure, but the gamble paid off!

Checking my answers…

The prize consisted of Fully Booked GCs worth P5,000, Outback GCs worth P750, plus a random book. Other contestants were also given random books as consolation prizes. Pictures were taken and congratulations were given out as Blooey was now eligible for the Book Geek finale this November. Meanwhile, Madam Dementia invited the other contestants to join next month’s contest, as they were all still eligible to win.

with Madame Dementia

With Beth and Honey, who were in the top three with me

Book geek!

There you go. The final competition is in November, hopefully I can cram more book trivia in by then.

Hahaha, I was so indebted to Harry Potter, I used part of my book geek winnings to buy another book for my collection. Watch out for tomorrow’s post :)

Reliving the Harry Potter High

(First printed on Manila Bulletin Students and Campuses, December 2008)

I felt a thrill running through me when I found out that there was going to be a local midnight release of J.K. Rowling’s latest wizardry book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Over a year after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I numbered among the Harry Potter fans still hungry for more of the wizarding world and unable to find this kind of magic in other popular book series.

Before the release, I’d already requested my sister in Singapore to buy me a UK edition of the book. I’ve also spent months staring at the collector’s edition of Beedle the Bard day after day, hemming and hawing (until now) about shelling out $100 dollars for the coveted handcrafted tome. Wired for local news on The Tales of Beedle the Bard, I chanced upon Powerbooks’ site announcing the two-hour midnight release, I made a frantic phone call to my cousin Dianne, my partner-in-crime for Harry Potter hijinks.

The midnight release was pretty tame in the comparison to the other crazy things we’ve done for the love of Harry Potter, including, but not limited to: making a complex paper-mache diorama of Harry battling the Hungarian Horntail for the release of Half Blood Prince; “forging” (and inventing) signatures of Harry Potter characters one afternoon when we were bored and had nothing to do; getting customized t-shirts proclaiming “In Snape We Trust” before the release of Deathly Hallows; attending the Deathly Hallows press launch as Luna Lovegood and Nymphadora Tonks in full costumes made from scratch and lining up at 6am the next day for the release of the book; throwing an all-out birthday party for Harry’s 27th birthday, and building up a collection of Harry Potter books in different languages.

As the clock struck midnight, only a handful of people were lined up at the store, and we realized that this was the test of true fandom – we were among the very few who absolutely could not wait to get their hands on Rowling’s latest volume.

Wizard bedtime stories
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a canon within the Harry Potter canon, much like the previously released Hogwarts schoolbooks Quidditch  Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The book is a collection of oral tradition that exists in the wizarding world, with illustrations by J.K. Rowling herself. The translation of the book from ancient runes is credited to Hermione Granger, who received a copy of the obscure volume as a bequest from the late Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore in Deathly Hallows.

Now distributed in the Muggle world, the slim volume contains five wizarding tales written for young wizards and witches: The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Warlock’s Hairy Heart, Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump, and the legend of the Peverell brothers and the Deathly Hallows, The Tale of the Three Brothers.

“They have been popular bedtime reading for centuries… [and] are as familiar to many of the students at Hogwarts as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are to Muggle (non-magical children,” Rowling explains in her introduction.

Like Muggle fairy tales, each story extols virtues and defames malevolence, serving as cautionary stories that wizarding parents used to instruct their children about the boundaries of magic. The stories also address relevant wizarding topics such as Muggle relations and intermarriage, love potions, and wandlore.

Each story is annotated by Albus Dumbledore, whose notes on the book were among the many papers he bequeathed to the Hogwarts Archives. J.K. Rowling additional comments are added by J.K. Rowling to bridge the gap for Muggle readers.

While the average reader can appreciate The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the book’s more significant nuances are reserved for the faithful Harry Potter readers, who will devour this hearty blend of wizarding lore.

For those who haven’t quite gotten over the tragic events at the Hogwarts Astronomy Tower, Beedle the Bard embodies the ultimate Albus Dumbledore fix. Dumbledore proves to have been right when he posed the question “You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us?” as his quirky annotations bring him back to life, revealing both his scholarly findings and candid personal recollections.

Rowling states that the notes were completed around eighteen months before Dumbledore’s demise, and it is unclear whether they were written for his own satisfaction or for public consumption, but they reveal another important key to Dumbledore’s identity – the side of his personality that he carefully concealed: his flamboyance, his self-importance, even traces of a more sinister bite.

The slim volume also packs heady nostalgia and new revelations for the Harry Potter reader, who will appreciate Dumbledore’s anecdotes on familiar characters from the series, with revelations on how Nearly Headless Nick came to the chopping block; the Malfoy’s long running campaign against Muggles; why pantomimes are banned from Hogwarts; Professor McGonagall’s reasons for becoming an Animagus; Professor Kettleburn’s reckless career as the Care of Magical Creatures professor; and even Aberforth’s favorite bedtime story.

Marking another chapter in Harry Potter fandom, The Tales of Beedle the Bard stands as the first measure of the longevity of the concluded series, separating the true Harry Potter fans from those who only watched the movies, or read the books just because everyone else was reading them.

J.K. Rowling has given her fandom their Christmas gift, and I join the legions of fans around the world who will read the book again and again, fueled by new points for discussion, to relive the magic that Harry Potter that has brought into our lives.

My copy: hardcover US + hardcover UK + traditional Chinese + Spanish

My rating: 5/5 stars

Harry Potter Lumos Book Light

I can’t believe I finally have a solution for all my late-night reading!I was over at Fully Booked at Powerplant when I chanced upon a few more Lumos book lights still on sale at Powerbooks. I remember fellow INKie and Harry Potter (and Snape) diehard Jovan telling me she got hers on sale.

Wow, I was amazed that it was only P1000 from the original P2200 and it came with a free soft case (Harry Potter special too, with house badge on one side and the HP logo on the other side) worth P550!

So Janeh and I each bought ourselves a set, because we both like reading in the dark, and we both love Harry Potter (uhh, do I still need to say that, after our recent hijinks? hehe). I got Gryffindor (no more Ravenclaw) and she got Slytherin (no more Hufflepuff).

Continue reading “Harry Potter Lumos Book Light”

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