While drafting my 2020 reflection post, I was initially going to include a “What I Watched and Read” section in it. That section eventually became far longer than the others to the point that I’ve decided to make an entirely separate post.
It is a tad bit more mouthful but I want to emphasize that this reading slump pertains specifically to novels or literary fiction. I haven’t really been in a reading slump, in its general term*, because I continue to read beautifully well-written and drawn webcomics, manga, or long-form articles during my free time. But between March 2019 and April 2020, I have read exactly one novel**.
I think that’s an appropriate use of “slump”, don’t you agree?
My first thought was, “This is insane!” And then I realized that it has been going on for a decade and I was like,
HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?!
Apparently, I’ve been living under the Wizarding World rock because I was not made aware of this happening since 2005.
So here’s the gist of what is now called Muggle Quidditch. It doesn’t really veer that far away from the game J.K. Rowling created for Harry Potter and the rest of the Wizarding World. It’s a semi-contact sport, coed, and 7 on 7. We’ve got the 3 hoops that are the goals, 3 kinds of balls–the quaffle, the bludgers, and the snitch. And there’s the differences: the existence of a Snitcher, the absence of flight (because we can’t do that. Yet.), the presence of dodgeball instead of a rogue iron ball, and plenty more.
I won’t be talking too much about the rules and basic know-hows of Quidditch since that’s not my goal here. But I’ll link up some helpful articles and videos below for those who want to know more.
Moving on, what I want to talk here is how the birth of this sport is such an amazing phenomenon to witness in our lifetime.
For some hours as I watched highlight reels from last year’s Quidditch World Cup on YouTube, I was just so overwhelmed with amazement on how something fictional was turned by creative and inspiring people into a real thing. That a certain literary work could impact an entire generation so much that they have owned it and made it real.
But here’s the thing about creating something new and unique that has the potential to be big: people will find you weird at first. And the general population will for quite a while.
We see something new and different, the first thing that comes to your mind “That’s weird”. It’s a reaction that’s probably been passed down to us from our parents along with our DNAs.
Quidditch and the entire community, players and mere avid fans, are pushing to achieve the sport’s legitimacy. And the greatest obstacle that I see they are facing is this mindset thatit was a fictional game from a fictional novel. And that’s why it’s taken less seriously in the sports world.
Read that again, and again, and again.
I feel infuriated about this. J.K. Rowling clearly described in her books that the sport can be very physical and aggressive at times. And in the many videos, including documentaries like Brooms Up! and Mudbloods, and articles I’ve watched and read regarding this 10-year-old sport, it certainly is not a game for the faint of heart.
But why the stigma? Because it came from a fictional world?
The world of literature has long been the source and inspiration of the birth of many hobbies or interests that are beyond its traditional sphere. Cosplays, roleplays, fanfictions, the freaking Medieval Festival. And they are all getting acceptance in the general society. What’s so different about Quidditch?
Here’s what I think: real-life Quidditch does not only transcend through the realms of fantasy and reality. It is also breaking this age-old wall, blurring this age-old line that separates stereotypical jocks and nerds. And it may look or feel uncomfortable to some.
In Mudbloods, Alex Benepe, commissioner of the sport’s highest governing body International Quidditch Association, shared a story when he and his friends were starting Quidditch and heard someone make fun of them. Calling them “freaks” and the sport a “nerd game” or some sort.
All in the basis of where the sport came from.
But here’s the thing, Quidditch and the rest of the other sports all came from the same place:from the imaginative minds of creative people.
The last decade and, hopefully shorter, the decade to follow are adjustment periods for the whole world to accept Quidditch as a true sport. And we, those who campaign on making it legitimate, can only push other people into a better understanding that, yes, Quidditch is real and it’s happening.
And hopefully, more of this unique, amazing and inspiring kind of things that came from literature will happen in the near future. I wonder which book/s will inspire the next generation?
YOUR TURN! Have you heard about real-life Quidditch before this? How do you feel about it and the sport’s legitimacy? What other kind of stuff from literary fiction do you think will possibly exist in real-life? (Hopefully, for the good of everyone, you aren’t thinking of Hunger Games.) Let’s discuss!
Okay, so I was supposed to create a review for The 5th Wave first. But there are still stuff that I haven’t disclosed on that novel and I’ve already finished reading this one. So…why the heck not, right?
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Published on: 27 August 2015 Published by: Walker Books ISBN: 1406331163 Pages: 343 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy Add it on: Goodreads Buy it on: Amazon | Book Depository Favorite quote: “Me, all I want is to graduate…And then get on with finding out about the rest of my life, don’t you?”
This novel is not about the Chosen Ones, the fated heroes and heroines who will fight off the dragon in the end and save the entire world. It’s about ordinary, non-indie kid boy Mikey who just wants to graduate from high school, attend the prom, and maybe kiss Henna before they graduate. Because sometimes, there are far bigger problems than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
The very concept of the novel immediately sang to me and appealed to me like moth to a candle’s fire. I’ve mentioned it before how we are so attracted to literary perfection and over-the-top spontaneity because they aren’t entirely present in our lives. This novel tells me just that. Also, it gives a unique and soulful take on what’s happening in the background of the fantasy stories we read and watch so much.
You get this ordinary guy with an ordinary life, Mikey, whose biggest problems have nothing to do with the blue eyed people and the blue lights and disappearing indie kids.
He is one of the most relatable YA protagonists to me. His awkwardness, fear and anxiety of many things…He is not the kind of ideal main character on a YA novel that dives into otherworldly trouble to save the world. He’s just an ordinary kid.
I like how you get to see two stories in this novel: one was of the typical fantasy hero doing typical fantasy heroic acts and the other was of Mikey and what’s going behind the fantasy story. The short synopses of the fantasy story are hilarious at times because they show these typical YA fantasy tropes in a kind of sardonic manner.
The plot was really simple and had not much difference with some other YA novels I’ve read. But what really makes this novel stand out is the context of how this seemingly ordinary story and ordinary plot is used.
The emotional aspect of the novel and its depth is completely profound. The magic behind The Rest of Us Just Live Here lies not in the presence of magic and perfectly spontaneous moments. It lies on the ordinary stuff happening in life, zoomed in to show us the extraordinary element that these trivialities possess.
Seriously. Patrick Ness is really inching his way to becoming one of my favorite authors of all time alongside Rick Riordan (duh, of course) and J.K. Rowling. He writes about tried-and-tested themes, issues and tropes in YA and Children’s Fiction but then he adds his own amazing, unique concepts and gives those themes, issues and tropes an entirely different look.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here leans more on wonderfully ordinary with some dash of common issues dealt in YA novels. And I love it. I am so excited to read more of his works.
Hopefully, as soon as I have the time and get my hands on a physical copy. Dear local bookstore, why you no have Patrick Ness novels yet?!
Hey there, guys! 🙋 Today’s the 4th day of 2016 (and yes, we’re still at that point in the year where knowing the 4th or the 20th day is still easily countable) and this is my first post of the year. Also, this is the first book that I’ve finished and will be reviewing for the year. It’s starting out to be a good year, book reviews-wise, in this blog but this also resulted to the first book-related bawling of the year. Good job, Patrick Ness.
Anyway, I’ll do my best in posting other topics in this blog like Art Appreciation, which is apparently the most viewed topic of 2015 according to my 2015 Year in Review (though, that’s probably because it’s the topic I share to other social media sites more often). I actually have blog posts in mind already (way from last year) but they’re just that right now–mental notes, rough drafts of the mind. So on to that later on, here’s my review of The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Only one month more and it will be Todd Hewitt’s thirteenth birthday. The day he will become a man, as dictated by the law of Prentisstown. They are all that’s left of the settlers who arrived in New World twenty years ago with the hope for a better life. And now, after a deadly war between race that killed the entire female population, and living in a world where one’s thoughts, one’s Noise, is heard by everyone, the men of Prentisstown, and the boy Todd Hewitt, are left off to fend for themselves. That is, until Todd finds a hole in the Noise. A quiet lurking in the swamp at the edge of Prentisstown. And then everything he knew and was told about changes.
I always had this thought that, after Hunger Games, YA dystopian literature will gradually come down from its celebrated hype. Suzanne Collins certainly created a benchmark of that genre that seemed almost entirely unreachable. So many YA dystopian novels were greatly compared to the Hunger Games Trilogy. Admittedly, some books almost leveled with the glory and wonders of Katniss’s story. And, personally, none have passed it. Until this.
The Knife of Never Letting Go was more than just a wonderful read. It was a breakthrough and a reminder of what YA dystopian novels could bring to the table that is literature.
The plotline was strong with the basic foundations of a YA dystopian novel–note: basic foundations, and not tropes–down pat. The beginning was slightly murky, as one tries to adapt into Todd’s world, the middle was a long excrutating torture filled with segmented thrills that are always followed by silent breathing rooms of scenes, and the end was hair-pullingly, head-scratchingly, throat-sore-from-yelling-frustratingly-ly…annoying. I swear, I was just annoyed.
Because I wanted to know what would happen next. It wasn’t wrapped up neatly but then that’s part of its appeal–it makes people want to know more. (And thank god, the trilogy is finished so I don’t have to wait for a freaking year for the next installment *glares at Uncle Rick*) The world-building was one of the best that I’ve seen, easily being at par to that of James Cameron’s Avatar and the world of Capitol and the thirteen districts.
The character development was splendid. Todd Hewitt was a great hero who served as an absolutely engaging narrative with a point-of-view you would want to be in. Viola Eade is easily comparable to Annabeth Chase and Hermione Granger for her composure and cleverness. But she instilled a personality that is entirely her own. And the bond and chemistry that they both have created–in the midst of the challenges they’ve faced–was simply believable and strong.
But beyond that is…*voice croaking* beyond that is *clears throat* Manchee.
Remember what I said above about how reading this book resulted to the first book-related bawling of the year? Yep, it was because of Manchee. I won’t say more for the benefit (or the sorrow I so wanted to witness) of the ones who haven’t read this series yet. Just know that Manchee was the best dog ever. And if I’ll ever get over my fear of dogs and own a pup, I’ll name him Manchee. Also to Patrick Ness: *flips the bird* You broke my heart and I am not even in love with you.
Overall, The Knife of Never Letting Go was a wonderful opening novel to a greatly anticipated series. This novel brought me hope to YA dystopian genre and is now officially a fan of Patrick Ness’s works. And I’ve got the entire Chaos Walking Trilogy bundle so you’re sure that I’ll be reading the entire series. I’m actually currently reading The Ask and The Answer, the second installment of the series…and it’s getting good. So good that I’ll probably post a picture of me and my future bald spot in my review of it.