Thoughts on Pottermore

When Pottermore was first announced and the contest began, I honestly wasn’t all that interested. I have the uncanny ability to become addicted to flash games. I did not need to lose days of sleep trying to beat a game that in the end wouldn’t change my day-to-day life. I certainly wasn’t going to wake up at all hours of the day to try to find and decode the puzzle, hoping I was quick enough to grab the limited number of slots for the day.

Once registration closed, I watched as beta testers were admitted and began playing. I admit, I was curious. A girl can live vicariously, can’t she? Many didn’t seem to understand the concept of beta and expected the game to have few, if any, flaws, rather than what actually occurred. The game had more flaws than could be tallied and the programmers/designers were scrambling to keep it stable. Even with all the flaws, I couldn’t get enough of the extras pouring out from the beta testers. The author had always told the public that she had created the entire magical universe and a backstory, more than could fit into the seven published volumes of Harry Potter and handful of extras that were course books at Hogwarts.

On April 14, 2012, Pottermore opened to the public and I enrolled. I didn’t note the specific time, but I would guess I started the registration process in the late morning/early afternoon. I didn’t receive my confirmation email until after 7pm and the last email with my final log-in directions appeared around 9pm. However, by 9 I had already been playing for an hour or more. I decided to log-in after the confirmation email to see if there was an indication of when to expect the next email. I was pleasantly surprised to find I could begin playing. I spent the evening hours, after Boo went to bed, reading all the extra information on Hogwarts and the inhabitants of the J. K. Rowling’s magical world. It was worth the wait.

Under an assumed identity, the site chooses names for the members, I have completed Book One, but I’m not very confident that I’ve found everything. I’ve been through many of the chapters multiple times and still seem to find something new. I’ve found many chocolate frog cards, a few potion ingredients, extra book as well as galleons for the bank account and other random items. There is an implication that I might need the things I’ve collected so for now I’ll keep them tucked away in my school trunk. For the present, we only have Book One but the information contained in it is enough to keep me patiently waiting at least 6 more months before I’ll start to wonder when Book Two will open.

Of the several multiple choice quizzes, I found my wand and was sorted. I also brought a cat to school, shocking to anyone who knows me. My wand is made from redwood with a unicorn core; it is eleven inches long and is hard.

From Pottermore:

Redwood wands are not themselves lucky, but are strongly attracted to witches and wizards who already possess the admirable ability to fall on their feet, to make the right choice, to snatch advantage from catastrophe. Unicorn are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard. Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair.

If you are looking for me and can’t find me, you now know where I’ll be. I took screen caps when presented with multiple choice quizzes so that I can try again for a different outcome if I find I need more adventure.

a review: The Art of Looking Sidways

by Alan Fletcher
reading guide-it is the guide

summary
over 1000 pages of mentally stimulating visual intrigue

a review
I’m a big fan of the library system. I can read more books in a year than I could ever afford to buy. I’ve even borrowed long out-of-print books that would be difficult to obtain otherwise. I received an email from my library about 6 weeks ago letting me know this book was ready for me. When the librarian brought it to the desk my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I requested it based on a recommendation from another site based on a recommendation of another book based on a search of “creativity”. I was hoping to find a book that would give me some simple steps to find my creativity that I used to have as a child but let the educational system and real world beat out of me. I asked the librarian if she was sure it was my book because it looked like the kind of book you get when the library has a textbook rebound. I admit, I was a bit disappointed but since someone went to the trouble of sending me the book via interlibrary loan, the 5.4 pound book(bigger and heavier than my college calculus textbook), I felt obligated to bring it home with me. I’m glad I did, but sorry to report that even after having it checked out for nearly 5 weeks, I’m only 200 pages into it as it’s not a sit-down-and-read-cover-to-cover book. I find that I absorb more by reading a few pages, responding in my journal to anything that’s given me pause and stopping for a few days to contemplate the new ideas.

What in this book am I so chuffed about? Alan Fletcher has collected drawings, photographs, quotes, summaries, and more to present mind-boggling things to readers. Yes, things, you read it right, things. I can’t describe it any better than that. This book has just gone to the top of my list of books to buy because even if I did manage to finish all 1000+ pages of yumminess, I’d just want to start again. I look at a page with 1+1=3 and a wonderful assortment of quotes on creativity and spent hours contemplating each quote and then the places my brain went all on its own gave me hope that I may not have lost all my creativity after all. I love that a thought will begin on page 92 and tie into a thought 100 pages later with a footnote on the first thought to be sure to see the second. And the pages, they are not each number, each pair of facing pages shares one number, so 533 pages is really 1066 pages give or take. And lest you still be wondering about the title, it’s not just a metaphoric looking at things in a new way. I have had to turn the book round and round and round and this way and that to read everything. Not for each page, mind you, but for many there is something written this direction requirement me to turn my head awkwardly before remembering I can turn the book.

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A review: The Interrogative Mood

by Padgett Powell
Here is where I usually link to a reading/discussion guide or two, I’m not really sure one needs a guide. The book, itself, is a guide to discussion.

a summary
A book of questions, sometimes the questions relate to those before and after sometimes not.

a review
I couldn’t read very much of the book at a time, it overwhelmed my brain to the point of pain. The the more I read, the less nonsensical the paragraphs seem so I am able to read more at a time. I have found that skipping forward and back to be the best way for me to enjoy the book. I wish there was an index so I could find exact questions again. If you have someone in your life you’d like to know better, grab a copy and have a go at it. I think I would rate this book for adults, some of the questions I wouldn’t want to explain to my 5 year old even though I don’ have a five year old. I may add this to my library if I happen upon a copy for a reasonable amount of money.

A few of my favorite questions, copyright of course belongs to the author, quoted here only to entice others to read it.

  • Would a catastrophic global war be required to restore us to simple living? p17
  • Have you any skills in the area of weaving or knitting? p35
  • Do you miss Tab and do you fully understand its disappearance? p43
  • Can you knit? p61
  • Would it be reasonable to ask someone if he or she has a favorite musical note? p66
  • Why is a banana yellow and not banana? p67

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A book reivew: Flatland

by Edwin A Abbott
reading guide 1
reading guide 2
Flatland text from Project Gutenberg
Annotated Version of Flatland
Wiki background

a review/summary

I first started listening to this on Craftlit and found my attention span waning. I decided to stop listening to this book for a few episodes then checked out a hardcopy from the library. I started with the text on Project Gutenberg, linked above, and wanted to hold it in my hand and flip chapters. I found that I enjoyed understood it better to read first then listen.

While I don’t fancy myself anything special when it comes to reading deeper into what an author means, this author made it quite easy to see his points. The author used satire to convey his thoughts on social classes as well as gender inequality using personified flat two-dimensional shapes. I feel as though I can’t say too much more without revealing what can be discovered while reading. I found myself pulling for the poor square after a while. Please use the links above to read more about the book or the book itself as it is in public domain.

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A book review: Spin Control

by Amy King, 2009

a review/summary
I borrowed this book from the library along with many others to evaluate what books to add to my spinning library. This one will be joining my library at the end of the week, making an Amazon order for Christmas. Amy challenges the readers to play with the wheel. It’s nothing I couldn’t have figured out on my own but to see it written down, permission to play with the wheel whether it seems conventional or not, somehow makes it ok to set about doing. She tells us to change a specific setting one way then spin, then make another change and see what happens. Then change another setting and asks how it changed from the previous ones. (scientific method anyone?)

After the introductory chapters she gets to the business of explaining many of the questions I had in a blog draft like how to know how much twist to put in the yarn. She shows us how to evaluate previously spun or purchased yarn in an effort to reproduce it and encourages us to keep a spinning notebook. She shows us how to spin a variety to novelty yarns and even shows several knitted swatches of different prep and spinning techniques on the same base fiber. I feel like cover to cover gets me a spinning class. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book permanently. I’m off to browse the rest of the books, stay tuned for more reviews.

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Confessions of a book-aholic

I love books. I have loved books since I was young. I can’t remember not loving books, I can’t even remember my first book that’s how many books I love. I have sung the praises of visiting the library as a child to check out my limit of books every Saturday. If you live in Michigan, check out melcat to see if your local library participates. If your library doesn’t participate, ask the librarian why not. If you don’t live in Michigan, see what your state has that would be similar. I love sitting at home and searching the database for books to request from far off libraries or ones just down the road, interlibrary loan is wonderful. I have requested books for knitting, book club, biographies, home birth, many whims and fancies and of late-spinning.

I love that at the time I searched I found 19 different books on the topic of spinning that I wanted to check out and could order then without leaving the couch. Last week, 4 books came in for me, my library had 3 on spinning, and today another 10 arrived. While I will not be able to read all of them word for word by the time they are due, I will be able to evaluate the copies to see if it would be an excellent addition to my spinning resources. The final cut will most likely be renewed just to be sure. Some of the books are out of print, so I will have to settle for used books and in some cases retired out of a library.

I made my list using various online sites that recommended books here and there. I also searched melcat for handspinning once I found that tag in common. I am doing a single elimination process. If I look at book and don’t see how I will use it or it has information that another book already has, off the list it goes. If it has new information or combines information from two or more other books, on the list it goes.

So far it’s a tentative list but here are four possibilities:

  • Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning
  • The Spinner’s Encyclopedia by Enid Anderson
  • The craft of hand spinning by Eileen Chadwick
  • The Complete Spinning Book by Candace Crockett

The first one I’m fairly certain of wanting, the second is a reference book rather than a cover-to-cover read. The last two are rather redundant, so I don’t need or want both, but I don’t know which is better at this point. I’m hoping that after borrowing the rest, it will be clear.

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Three Cups of Tea

one mans’ mission to promote peace . . . one school at a time

by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

web site

a review & summary
Greg began raising money to build schools to educate the children in Pakistan 1990’s after he was unable to complete a summit to K2. He was the medic on a team who was scheduled to summit but had to do a last minute rescue and evac of a team member, thus eliminating his chance to reach the top. On his way down the mountain, he took the wrong path and found himself in a local village. Seeing the poverty in this village, he vowed to return an build them a school. This book chronicles his travels as he raised monies to build that school and many more with the hope of stopping the violence through education. He offers a unique perspective on America’s War on Terror with insights about the civilians this war impacted firsthand. I highly recommend reading this book if for no other reason than the unique perspective.

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Book Club & The Christmas List

by Richard Paul Evans

a review & summary
An extremely fast read, high on sap low on plot. In the introduction the author shares that he had always enjoyed Charles Dickenson’s “A Christmas Carol.” The Scrooge in this book is named James Kier and is three ghosts is a premature obituary wherein he understands that even his own son can’t stand him. This book is highly predictable with emotional twists and turns designed to elicit tears and joy in all the “right” places. Borrow it from the library if you must read it, I’m not likely to read another by this author. I like to at least guess at the out come, not have a map drawn to me.

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A website or two

Page by Page Books – a site similar to Project Gutenberg

I’m currently reading a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” I saw the movie, now I’m reading the story. I think I like the story better.

Catalog and track your cookbooks and recipes with Cookbooker. It’s in beta right now, I’m not sure that I’ll use it as much as I thought I would. It has some of the cookbooks I have but not all and I haven’t investigated enough to see where to put in new books.

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A Review: eat, pray, love

by Elizabeth Gilbert
reading guide

a summary
After a divorce and rebound love, Liz took a year off of life to journey across Italy, India, and Indonesia as she struggled to write this book and bring peace and balance to her life. Without much planning, Liz spent almost four months in each country making friends, finding herself, her purpose and a peaceful coexistence with life. She shared her studies in the Hindu faith as well as other spiritual insights as she travels. While in Italy, a new friend shared his view of each person, each city having a word. He shared