Unnormal Normalcy

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Wishlist Wednesday (8)

Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper

Novice knight Gair has a gift: he can hear the songs of the earth, and weave that music into magic. But in the Holy City, that makes him a witch, and that means he must be tortured until he gives up the name of his demon master …except that he has no demon lord; it’s just something he can do. After the Questioning comes the court, and Gair himself is as shocked as the knights to find his death-by-fire sentence has been commuted to excommunication, branding and life banishment – but only if he can make it over the boundary by sundown. Gair may be starved and battered, and he may have a festering new brand on the palm of his hand – but though his body’s broken, his spirit has not yet given up, and with help from an unlikely source he escapes to the Western Isles, where he hears about the Veil that separate the worlds, and the Guardians who protect it. But this peaceful haven is threatened by Gair’s arrival. Those who condemned him set an implacable witchfinder on his trail, for they want him dead. And a renegade Guardian is striving to tear down the Veil, releasing evil, unearthly monsters into the human world. Before his training is complete, Gair must take his place in the frontline against these forces – and he will pay a terrible price.

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Jesus Potter Harry Christ by Derek Murphy

LET’S SKIP THE INTRODUCTIONS. You don’t need me to tell you that Jesus Christ and Harry are two of the most famous celebrities in the world, whose stories have been translated into dozens of languages and found international support in diverse cultures. What you may not be aware of, however, is the mysterious, complicated and intriguing relationship between them. For example, did you know that the topics “I read Harry Potter and Jesus still loves me,” “Even Jesus reads Harry Potter” and “Harry Potter will return sooner than Jesus” each have their own Facebook group, or that Wikipedia has a page dedicated to “Religious debates over the Harry Potter Series”? Much more remarkable than their respective popularity is the significant tension – and unexpected affinity – between them…

At first glance it may seem that J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard and the crucified Jesus prophet who became the Christian savior have absolutely nothing to do with each other – and yet the unease and sometimes outright animosity between the followers of these two figures suggests otherwise. Harry has been banned, burned, and abused by religious fundamentalists for over a decade. At the release of Rowling’s final book, however, many readers were surprised to discover parallels between Jesus and Harry that, in such apparently diverse world-views, had no right to be there.

As a result, recent years have witnessed a revolution in Christian responses to Harry, with many groups, writers and religious leaders praising Rowling’s young sorcerer as ultimately Christian and a clear metaphor for Jesus Christ. And yet the most spine-tingling question has so far been ignored: Why do these similarities exist at all? Although it is easy to accept that Rowling crafted the literary character of Harry Potter after the figure of Jesus, shouldn’t it pique our interest that Jesus – a monumental figure in modern world religion generally believed to have been historical – has so much in common with the obviously fictional fantasy world and character of Harry Potter?

The main distinction, it will be argued, is that Jesus Christ is real: Jesus has traditionally been viewed as a historical figure, while Harry is instantly recognized as fiction. But does this distinction apply to the many seemingly mythical elements in the gospels? Can Jesus’ miracles be separated from Harry’s magic tricks because they really happened – or will we allow that certain features of the gospels were exaggerated or intended to be literary. And if so, where do we stop? What protects Jesus from the claim that he is, like Harry, a fictional character?

This is the starting point of Jesus Potter Harry Christ; an innovative treatise into religious history, comparative mythology, astrological symbolism and contemporary culture. From ancient mystery religions to modern fairy tales, from fictional Hogwarts to the ruins of Jerusalem, Derek Murphy, PhD in Comparative Literature at one of the world’s top universities, narrows in on one crucial question: How do we separate the obviously mythical literature of Jesus Christ from the historical man himself?

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All Lost Things by Josh Atervois

Killian Kendall’s life is changing faster than he can keep up. He’s graduating from high school, breaking up with his boyfriend, and starting a new job with a private investigator. He’s barely settled at his new desk when his ex-boyfriend calls with a desperate plea for help. He wants Killian to prove his new boyfriend is innocent in the shockingly violent murder of his abusive father. Killian reluctantly agrees to take the case, little knowing how complicated — and dangerous — things will become before it’s over.

On the home front, Killian’s surrogate parents decide to buy a historic mansion and turn it into a bed and breakfast. The house comes with a rich history…and maybe a ghost or two. Killian doesn’t want to believe in such things, but he’s quickly becoming convinced that something terrible happened to the home’s original owners. The century-old mystery both terrifies and tantalizes Killian. In the end, he may be the only one who can uncover the truth.

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July 27, 2011 - Posted by | Wishlist Wednesday

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