Last week I couldn’t find the time to write a blog post. This week I am back with a post inspired by the Magical Readathon! While making my TBR for the O.W.Ls, I thought it would be interesting to make a required reading list for the most important classes at Hogwarts. I did deviate somewhat from the prompts made by Book Roast.
In your study of stars and planets, it’s helpful to read books set in outer space.
The Martian* by Andy Weir: Mark Watney is one of the first people to walk on Mars. He may also be the first to die there. His crew had to evacuate the planet and thought he was already dead. Although Mark is alone, far away from Earth, he isn’t ready to give up yet.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: An amazing book told through a collection of emails, military files, IMs and more. The biggest part of the story is set on a couple of space ships where a deadly plague and the fleet’s Artificial Inteligence cause a major threat.
For this class, I recommend to read books that discuss different forms of magic.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: When the Nigerian Sunny learns that she is a Leopard, she discovers a whole secret society. The magical abilities of the Leopard people are based on their personality. Someone’s weakness becomes their greatest power.
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb: There are basically two kinds of magic in this world. Wit is the ability to make a connection with an animal. Most people detest this ability. Skill is a power usually found in the royal family, it’s a type of magical telepathy. The royal bastard Fitz has a talent for both.
Spellsinger by Sebastien de Castell: All the Jan’Tep have six tattooed bands on their arms. Each band has to be activated to do the type of magic that matches that band. Children at the age of sixteen must prove that they have magic powers. It’s almost Kellen’s birthday and he has a problem: his magic is gone.
Defence Against the Dark Arts
Of course practicing is the best way to learn in this class. But reading books to better understand the Dark Arts will help as well.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: The main characters in this book are the Gentleman Bastards, a band of clever thieves lead by Locke Lamora. You could call them antiheroes, but they would also pass as sympathetic villains. No wealthy noble is safe for their heists.
The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang: This is a remarkable military fantasy book based on Chinese history. The first part is largely set on Sinegard, the best military school of the country. When the war starts, the story becomes very dark. It really shows what becomes of characters when they have to fight in a horrific war. Proceed with caution if you are sensitive for torture, genocide or rape.
Plants, gardens or nature in general play an important role in these books.
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert: A beautiful story about a female botanist in the 19th century. Just like Darwin, her research leads her to the mysteries of the evolution.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: This wonderful book shows how the discovery of a walled garden changes a little girl.
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: The people who lived circa 30,000 years found everything they needed in nature. This novel is full of vivid descriptions of how they lived, including the plants they found and how these plants were used for food or as medicine.
History of Magic
For this class I suggest some novels that are set in the past, all with a touch of magic in them.
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé: This book is inspired by a black, enslaved woman who lived during the 17th century. She was accused of practicing witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. In reality a lot is unknown about Tituba’s life and fate. Maryse Condé described how her life would have been if Tituba actually was a witch.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende: This family saga is about three generations of Chilean woman. It’s a beautiful family portrait with a lot of historical details mixed with some magic realism.
When studying potions, it can’t do any harm to know a lot about poisons (so you will recognize the difference, hopefully before you drink it…)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: When her parents are murdered, Mia wants revenge. She becomes apprentice at the Red Church, a school for assassins. She learns to fight with different kinds of weapons, how to seduce people or poison them.
Poison Study* by Maria V. Snyder: Instead of being killed, Yelena is offered the opportunity to become food taster. To prevent that she escapes, the chief of security feeds her poison. By appearing for the daily antidote, she can delay death a little longer.
The characters in these books are going through some kind of transformation.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: Karou changes in major ways in this story. The book also has an interesting kind of magic involving beads and teeth.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman: At the start of the trilogy, Lyra is a young and wild child. On her adventures she meets armoured bears, witches and angels, makes new friends, and learns about herself. Her journey transforms Lyra.
* I haven’t read these two books (yet).