2017 Reading List: vol. 1

Happy Steeler Sunday, friends! It’s the middle of a long weekend and I have been thoroughly enjoying it, doing what I love most – working out, reading, sipping wine, and hanging out with my hubby and my greyhound.

I was thinking towards the end of last year that I want to focus more on the books that I read. I read a lot of books. I read so many books that I often forget what I’ve read or I forget what the book was even about. And that certainly doesn’t mean it was a bad book. I just get really caught up in what I’m currently reading that when someone mentions something else, my mind goes blank. I’ve been trying to keep a list of the books I’ve read and 1-2 sentences about each one, so now I can pull out my phone, look at the Notes app, and it all comes back to me.

During 2017 (and beyond?), I want to give you all the rundown of the books I read. I’ll give you a super short synopsis and some of my opinions, which are not right or wrong. I’ll try not to give anything away 😉 Nothing brings people together like a good book, right?

Without further ado, my first book of 2017…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by J.K. Rowling

This screenplay is about a man, Newt Scamander, who has a case full of magical creatures. He has brought them to the U.S. to put them in their natural habitats. But some of his creatures escape in New York City and they must be recaptured. With the help of Jacob, a No-Maj (non-magical person), and two witch sisters, they’re trying to get the creatures back, but at the same time, some Dark Magic is revealed and they get wrapped up in the middle of it.

I will preface with the fact that I have not (yet) seen this movie, but the movie got great reviews.

This book/screenplay was not what I expected. It was J.K. Rowling’s first screenplay and the first time I’d read anything like it, so I will cut us both some slack. But in general I thought that the characters lacked depth and that the beginning was shallow and brief. I expected to dive back into the wizarding world of Harry Potter and instead I was reading about No-Majs instead of Muggles and one particular No-Maj came along for the ride for some reason. They made a big deal about how he had to have his memory of magic erased, but, correct me if I’m wrong, there ARE normal people in the Harry Potter books who know about magic and yet can keep their mouths shut. The Dursleys, for example. Any of the parents of Mudbloods. So I wasn’t quite sure why they fixated on wiping Jacob’s mind. He seemed harmless to me.

It was a cute little love story on the side, between the No-Maj and the witch, but I didn’t fall in love with the characters the way I wanted to. I wanted to feel something when tragedy struck, but instead I felt indifference. I wasn’t captivated by the magic. I wanted to get to know the fantastic beasts the way I’d come to know Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Some of the creatures did have quirky little personalities, but again, I thought it was skimmed over.

And this might just be my inexperience with screenplays, but I felt there wasn’t enough background. I wanted to read background story and thoughts and reasons. There isn’t an opportunity to provide these things except through dialogue, which I felt there wasn’t enough of. The dialogue seemed to gloss over some important moments. Newt himself was vague and dodged questions and avoided explanations.

Overall, I would probably give this book 3 out of 5 stars. It was still interesting and comical at times, but it didn’t pull me into it’s pages the way Rowling’s previous Harry Potter books did.

That being said, I would probably go see the movie, and I would hope that the movie would change my mind a bit about the overall story.


Have you read the screenplay? What did you think? 


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