Top 10 Best Sequels

TopTenTuesday1I absolutely love today’s topic brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish! As much as I’m exhausted by all the series that are inundating the book industry lately, I can’t deny that there have been some very wonderful sequels that make me squeal. So here are my favourites:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling: This was such a fresh story in the series because it was the only one that had nothing to do with Voldemort. We were introduced to Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Hogmeade, and I loved the start of the book when Harry stays in Diagon Alley.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: What a heart-stopping, awe-inducing sequel. Seriously. I couldn’t have asked for a better one. I fell more in love with Peeta than I thought possible. And the introduction of new characters and a new game made it all the the more wonderful. So excited for this movie!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: I tried reading The Magician’s Nephew and just couldn’t get into it. So I skipped the first book and went straight to the second, this one, and fell hard for the characters and the plot. I’ve heard this is the best in the series, but I would like to read the other books one day to decide for myself.

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer: Now, now, all you haters out there, don’t hate me! I admit that while I was in high school, I was a crazy Twilight fan, up until Breaking Dawn. But of the four books, my favourite was by far the third one. You all know Jacob was my crush and I would have chosen him and his kisses over Edward’s any day.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: Another one of my favourite books in this beloved series. The concept of the Triwizard Tournament was so cool and again, I loved meeting new characters (and seeing some of them later on). Too bad the movie wasn’t up to par.

The Sweet, Far Thing by Libba Bray: Sure, this was the last book in the trilogy and it made me bawl like a baby, but it was so good! And the relationship between Kartik and Gemma made me smile like a Cheshire cat. SO HAPPY. And then, just like that, SO SAD. What a killer way to end the series.

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien: Ahhh, I really don’t think I give The Lord of the Rings enough credit. Sure, they weren’t the easiest books to get into, but the last book was the best. I loved the love between Faramir and Eowyn, and the battles and the ending still makes me tear up. It was great to see the long story finally come to a close.

Which sequels are your favourites?

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are affected by the horrific incidents today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and at an elementary school in Central China. May the faculty and students who lost their lives rest in peace. Christmas is a time for love and happiness…not a time for tearing apart families and bringing pain on others. I can’t imagine what the communities are going through right now, and can only offer my condolences. One incident is too many, and it needs to stop. Rest in peace <3 <3 <3

“Date a Girl Who Reads” by Rosemarie Urquico

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

RIP Jan Berenstain

The world lost a great children’s storyteller today. Jan Berenstain, the second half of the great children’s series The Berenstain Bears, passed away today at the age of 88 — which is just six years shy of her late husband Stan’s death in 2005.

Stan and Jan met at art school, both 18 years old, and married five years later. Their first book in The Berenstain Bears collection was called The Big Honey Hunt and was published in 1962. Together, the couple wrote hundreds of Berenstain Bears books — and Jan continued to write and illustrate her books, along with her son Mike, until her death.

The outpour of sympathy for the Berenstain family has come from all around the world, and for good reason. The Berenstain Bears books have touched the hearts of children and parents alike, and everyone in between (including myself). This series was my all-time favourite children’s collection, and have many memorable and happy times reading the stories with my family members. In fact, my Naniji (grandma) bought me my first Berenstain Bears book.

According to The Huffington Post, Stan and Jan’s sons, Mike and Leo, will continue with the family business. I look forward to seeing what Mike’s drawings and imagination produces.

Jan Berenstain will be missed always, and I’m so glad she and her husband decided to start their beloved series 50 years ago. Without The Berenstain Bears, many children would not have the ideals and values they do today.

Rest in peace Jan Berenstain.