• About Julie

    NJ native without the accent or the big hair. Currently residing in Beijing. Teaching English. Absorbing all things China. Exploring SE Asia.

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3 book series I never thought I’d read

I always said I’d never read Harry Potter.  Not because of the usual conservative C mumbo-jumbo about it being witchcraft and morally off-base, but because I just don’t like that stuff.  I’m not big into fantasy or sci-fi.  Then I came to China and all of my students wanted to talk about Harry Potter.  I held out until the spring of 2008 before giving in.  I think I read all seven books in a three week time span, and if you’ve ever read them you know they aren’t small books.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them, and was a little sad when it was over.

Then last spring the next big craze was Twilight.  I didn’t even pretend to hold out, I just gave in and read them all.  (Note: Even so, I am no twi-hard.)

And on Wednesday I started to read The Lightning Thief, the first book of Rick Riordan’s series “Percy Jackson & The Olympians.”  I just finished teaching my students about ancient Greece and I know the movie just came out, so it seemed like a convenient time to dive into these books. The background behind the series is intriguing to me.  The author’s son is dyslexic with ADHD and struggled with being different from the kids around him, so he started telling his son bedtime stories about a 12-year old boy with the same diagnoses who turns out to be a demi-god.  The reason he has trouble reading English isn’t because he’s dyslexic, it’s because his brain is hard-wired to read Greek.  His son asked him to write the stories down, which he did in 1993 and they were published in 1997.  Knowing that the series isn’t intentionally trying to sell books by hanging onto the coattails of Harry Potter also makes them more interesting to me.

I’ve been reading a lot more recently, partly because I’ve sworn off TV for the past two weeks.  Our television isn’t even hooked up, but I watch a few shows over the internet.  I thought I’d miss them more, but I don’t, not even 24.  I’m also sick with some kind of nasty chest cold that has stolen my voice and given me the chills, so that’s added motivation to stay in bed with a book.

I’ve never been much of a TV-addict, but reading is a much better relaxation avenue than watching TV (even if it is on a laptop).  Reading is active, while watching TV is such a passive activity.  I’ve noticed subtle differences in myself when I watch TV more frequently – this kind of entertainment becomes a way to tune life out and I’m less active in tackling a to-do list each day.  When I eliminate it as an option, I end up filling my time up with better things and not putting things off that I need to do.  And if I’m being honest with myself, allowing myself to grade while I watch some TV show is purely an excuse to justify watching the TV show without feeling so guilty.  I can easily grade double the amount of material if I’m listening to music as I would if I were trying to watch a movie at the same time.  So not that all TV watching is bad, but eliminating it for a time has been a much-needed shove toward the direction of being a better steward of my time.

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4 Responses

  1. haha I just asked about this book on goodreads and now you answered my question through a blog entry. awesome. I may have to look into this series too. I wanted to see the movie because I thinkt he kid who plays the lead is hilarious from things I’ve seen him in. I tend to think that a lot of your reading interests are similar to mine, so it is nice to see what you are reading and such.

    • It’s not as good as Harry Potter, but it’s a quick, quirky, and fun read. Enjoy!

  2. glad you are liking Percy Jackson, number 2 is my favorite!!!! 🙂 have you guys found 3-5 there yet??!!?

    • I haven’t looked for them, yet. That means a trip to Wudaokou is in order to browse the street books! If I can’t find them, I’ll see if Mark E. can bring them over when he visits.

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