Sunday, November 06, 2011

series [seer-eez]

a set of successive volumes or issues of a periodical published in like form with similarity of subject or purpose.

Synonyms include: continuity, progression, sequence

When I was younger, I remember being asked what I liked to do in my spare time. What were my hobbies? What did I do when I wasn't doing school work, etc. I played volleyball in elementary school, cheerleading in high school, but I wouldn't consider either endeavor to be "spare time" activities. I was certainly no athlete. And though I was (and still am) fortunate to have had a social life, what I really enjoy doing, as nerdy as it was to admit in my "younger" days, was read. And what I really love to read are series.

When I was in the fifth grade, I discovered the Anne of Green Gables series. At 11 years old, I took to Anne like an imaginary friend whose adventures in life and love I so wished I was part of. I wished I had her sassiness, her focus, her smarts and, of course, I wished (and sometimes still do) for Gilbert Blythe's devotion.

The longest series I've read is Harry Potter. I consider myself a Janey-come-lately of sorts, and J.K. Rowling's masterpiece is the perfect example of it. You can tell by looking at the series of books I own, at which point I finally caught on. The first four HP books are paperback (which I prefer) and books 5-7 are, well, hardcover. When the last three books were released, I devoured them; read them each moment I had a few minutes to spare. Harry Potter came out when I was in college. I worked at the bookstore on campus and shelved these classics-in-the-making over and over again, oblivious to their magic (pun tooootally intended). I think J.K. Rowling might have even visited the bookstore across the street when I was at UCI. But when did I start on Sorcerer's Stone? About two years after I graduated.

The Lord of the Rings series is one I feel a little guilty about. It's a classic, for sobbing out loud, but I discovered it, how else, through film of course. I watched "Lord of Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" because I was curious about it, and you know what? The orcs totally and utterly freaked me out and I have to be honest and say, I didn't really understand any of I read the book. When in doubt, right? After I read that, I read Two Towers...then Return of the King, all before the last two films came out. J.R.R. Tolkien, to have created a language like Elvish, not to mention a whole world made up of so many different races and creatures - it's just so incredibly...INCREDIBLE.

...And then came Twilight. I was chatting with a friend of mine online a few years ago, and she asked if I was reading Twilight too. What the hell is Twilight?, I asked. She responded with an all-caps, no-doubt shouting, WHAT?! Janey-come-lately, remember? So a couple of years ago, before a planned girls-night-in, someone suggested we rent New Moon. I hadn't seen the first Twilight movie so I rented it on my own before that thinking, obviously, how am I going to understand New Moon if I hadn't seen Twilight? For whatever reason, we ended up not watching New Moon but after watching that sorry excuse for a first movie in a series, Twilight, I got curious and just decided to read the book, so I borrowed it...and then it swallowed me whole. WHOLE. I started reading in mid-March in 2010 and finished the whole series by the end of April. I read late at night before bed, while I brushed my teeth in the morning, at work during lunch, in time-outs during Laker games - it was beyond ridiculous how quickly I finished those four really long books but I had to know, as quickly as I could, what Edward and Bella's future held. Lucky for me, by the time I discovered the Twilight Saga, the entire series had already been published. Being "late to the party" suddenly became an advantage - I didn't have to wait anxiously for the next book in the series to be released.
About four and half hours ago, I finished reading the last book in The Hunger Games series. Katniss and Peeta kept me inside the house during this rainy weekend and I'm thankful they did. I started The Hunger Games last Monday. Jovi handed me her copy of Catching Fire on Thursday at work, just in case I finished the first book during the weekend, she said. Yeah, I started Catching Fire on Friday night and finished Saturday night, at which point I dove right into the last book because, two chapters from finishing the second, I went to Target and bought Mockingjay. I fell asleep last night with the book in my hand and woke up this morning to an extra hour and read about 160 pages before breakfast. I literally couldn't get myself to put the books down because I HAD to know what happened next, and I had to read (and hear in my head), Peeta speak to Katniss the way he did. It was like Edward Cullen all over again. No one writes a romantic hero like women can (Go Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins!).
Except for The Hunger Games, merely because I literally JUST finished the last book today, I've read all the books above at least twice, and why shouldn't I? Whether it's a simple but meaningful life on Prince Edward Island, a magical world at Hogwarts, a fantastical existence on Middle Earth, Vampire and Werewolf-inhabited Washington State or the authoritarian nation of Panem; taking yourself somewhere beyond the rudimentary life that pound at us each day is refreshing. And sometimes, you just need to read something inspiring, encouraging, or just nice...

* * *
"There's a book of revelations in everyone's life." ~ Anne Shirley, Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

"Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it." ~ Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling

"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something...That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for." ~ Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night, very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn't see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything." ~ Edward Cullen, New Moon, Stephenie Meyer

"I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever." Peeta to Katniss, Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

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