top 5 wednesday: Books for your Hogwarts House

Top Five Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is currently hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the goodreads group to learn more.

June 7th: Books For Your Hogwarts House: Show your Hogwarts House Pride, and tell us the top 5 books that represent your house!

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Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.

I know there’s nothing particularly original about being a book nerd who identifies as Ravenclaw, but oh well.  I’ve always been decently ‘book smart’ (except where Chemistry is concerned, but let’s not talk about that), but more important than any innate intelligence I may or may not possess, I never seem to be satisfied with merely consuming media without engaging with it on a critical level.  That’s why I started writing book reviews in the first place – primarily to have somewhere to get all my thoughts down, because regardless of whether I loved or hated a book, my mind is always racing when I read.  I may have gotten really burned out with school toward the end there, but I’m always going to love learning.

(If you’re interested, the order that I identify with each house is: Ravenclaw > Slytherin > Hufflepuff >>>>> Gryffindor.)

Anyway, let’s get to it!  I think these books would be Ravenclaws, too.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt: This is an obvious one, but I had to include it.  Donna Tartt’s intelligent prose alone would earn this book a spot at the Ravenclaw table, but then when you throw in the subject matter – a group of pretentious classics nerds at an elite liberal arts school who want their lives to play out like a Greek drama – it’s hard to argue that this book belongs anywhere else.

517iynhfy5lThe Awakening by Kate Chopin: The Awakening is an early feminist novel about a woman who becomes dissatisfied with her marriage.  While the subject matter isn’t particularly innovative or shocking today, Kate Chopin is one of the first authors to lend such a daring portrayal of independence to her female protagonist.  I think this book belongs in Ravenclaw because the ‘awakening’ that the heroine Edna undergoes has to do with questioning the limitations of her own life, as well as the role of women in late 1800s society.  It’s not a book about action, but reflection, and how quiet reflection leads to a change in the way Edna lives her life.

6460814Ransom by David Malouf: What, a top 5 Wednesday where I don’t include the Iliad???  The Iliad is clearly a Gryffindor.  Alas.  Fortunately though, we have found a loophole, which is: being able to talk about the Iliad anyway.  Hooray!  Ransom is Australian writer David Malouf’s retelling of books XXII-XXIV of the Iliad, which focuses on the conflict between Priam and Achilles.  Achilles has killed Hector, Trojan prince, and has been dragging Hector’s body around the city walls of Troy, so Hector’s father, Priam, crosses battle lines to approach Achilles and ransom his son’s body.  While the Iliad is all rage and bloodlust and battle scenes, Ransom puts a quiet and contemplative spin on this famous tale.

33564The Crazed by Ha Jin: Do you ever finish reading something and think ‘I am too stupid for this book’?  That was me and The Crazed.  This is one of the most erudite things I’ve ever read.  Steeped in Chinese literary history, the intertextuality in this book is layered and masterful.  It’s hard to understand everything Ha Jin is trying to say in a single reading of The Crazed – this is the kind of book that could probably use five re-readings, as well as an intimate knowledge of multiple other texts before approaching it.

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang: The Vegetarian is one of my favorite books that I read last year, about a South Korean woman who stops eating meat in reaction to a violent dream.  This book is complex and layered – it raises questions about violence, sexuality, mental illness, social norms – and it gives no easy answers.  This is a book meant to stimulate and challenge the reader to think critically about the questions it poses, and my Ravenclaw brain loved the sheer amount of thematic complexity here.

So, what’s your Hogwarts house?  And which books do you think belong there?  Comment and let me know!

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36 thoughts on “top 5 wednesday: Books for your Hogwarts House

  1. Great idea! Being bookish (and without wanting to sound big headed, I did do well in school), the obvious House would be Ravenclaw, but there are probably more Hufflepuff traits that I relate to: I hate conflict, I’m a people pleaser, I love animals, I really value loyalty and kindness, and you’ll often find me near food 😋

    You’ve got me thinking, so I’m going to have a ponder over which books I think suit each House 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes I think it’s the most embarrassing to identify with Ravenclaw, because for some reason ‘I’m smart!’ sounds so much more vain than ‘I’m a loyal friend’ or whatever. But I did say ‘book smart’ for a reason. I always got good grades, but the other week I cooked a frozen pizza without removing the cardboard from the bottom, so that’s about where I’m at with life skills.

      I’d be interested to hear your Hufflepuff book choices! I wasn’t sure about this topic at first, but once I started going through my bookshelves and mentally sorting books, I had a lot of fun with it.

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      • Haha 😋

        It’s funny, I used to feel frustrated about not getting sorted into Ravenclaw on Pottermore, because Hufflepuff is probably the House that gets the most stick since the main trait they’re usually labelled with is being scaredy-cats, meaning a lot of people don’t like saying they are one. But I remember JK Rowling saying that her daughter once said, “Hufflepuff is the House we should all want to be in” and that she agreed, so that made me feel better about it 😂 Plus, Hermione is the biggest bookworm going and she isn’t a Ravenclaw, so that helps too!

        I’ll definitely be having a look through my shelves and thinking about it.

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      • I don’t set much store by the Pottermore quiz, because I made like five different accounts and got sorted into Gryffindor every time, which is ridiculous because I don’t identify with a single Gryffindor trait. I then made a sixth account and got Slytherin so I decided to call it a day. But I once took this quiz that combines all the potential Pottermore questions and got Ravenclaw, so all was well.

        http://www.gotoquiz.com/pottermore_sorting_quiz_all_possible_question

        Hufflepuff is awesome! I’d way rather be a Hufflepuff than a Gryffindor. Being loyal and hardworking will definitely get you further in life than any of the other houses’ traits. Plus, their common room seems super cozy.

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      • Yeah, I heard someone say they took the Pottermore test 4 times and got a different House each time, so I definitely don’t think it’s all that reliable. It’s ironic that Gryffindor and Slytherin are probably the ‘main’ Houses in the books and yet I’d sooner be in either of the others 😋

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      • I just took it again – 80% Ravenclaw, followed by Slytherin – Gryffindor – Hufflepuff. Why do these quizzes keep ascribing Gryffindor traits to me??? It says I’m only 19% Hufflepuff which I think is ridiculous, because I really value loyalty and I’m always the diplomatic ‘keep the peace’ friend, but oh well. At least it got Ravenclaw right!

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      • I think most of us know within ourselves which House we feel most aligned with, and even then, we all have traits from them all to some degree, so I bet a lot of people disagree with the results of these kinds of tests 😋

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  2. Wow I haven’t read four of these, I need to get on that! Totally agree with The Secret History being a great Ravenclaw pick though. I’m late this week, but working on my list now.

    I’m so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who had bizarre Pottermore results though! I hold a grudge because the original Pottermore test put me in Ravenclaw, but when they revamped it I got Hufflepuff (not a huge deal since it’s my second house, but still!). I tried again and got Slytherin, which is just laughable because I have no ambition at all, so I gave it a day. The percentage quiz put me at 80% Ravenclaw and 76% Hufflepuff, with the others a distant 3rd and 4th though, so that’s what I’m going with!

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    • It’s funny because while I think I have a decent amount of Slytherin characteristics, I am not ambitious at all either! I definitely relate more to their tendency toward selfishness (hi, only child syndrome) and how they’ll save their own necks over doing the ‘right’ thing. I wouldn’t have fought in the battle of Hogwarts either, let’s be real.

      To be fair I did pick some weird ones this week. I don’t think I’m going to find another person who’s ever read The Crazed tbh – I have my mom’s random Ha Jin obsession to blame for that one. But omg, you must read The Awakening!! It’s a pretty quick read iirc, and simultaneously depressing and empowering in that way we like. I can’t wait to see your list!

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      • HA! Well, when you put it that way… I actually agree about the selfishness being a tendency I do have. It’s different when it’s family and friends I’m happy to sacrifice for, but I don’t know about the greater good. It’s also one reason why I don’t want kids, I’m way too selfish about my time for that! But the complete and utter lack of any ambition I think puts me out of the Slytherin running. I will definitely add The Awakening to my list!

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      • Ambition is always the first Slytherin trait I think of, but then when I start thinking about it more and more I realize that I identify with the house pretty strongly outside that one characteristic! And same – I’m happy to do things for my friends and family, but I’m definitely not principled enough to stand up for What Is Right in a lot of cases. I could never imagine putting my life on the line for some noble cause, or being in the military or anything like that. The principles are all so abstract, but the danger is very very real!

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  3. I love how you defined being a Ravenclaw as more than just being book smart, but feeling the need to engage critically! I’ve always felt that Ravenclaws have a bit of a base reputation for booksmart-ness, but it’s so much about using the knowledge rather than just knowing it- like how the Ravenclaws needed a riddle to get into their common room. Of the books on your list I’ve only read The Secret History, but that’s SUCH a Ravenclaw book, it definitely needs to be on here. I’m a Hufflepuff myself, I almost always get it on quizzes and whatnot, but I definitely identify most with Hufflepuff, so I’m happy 🙂 But I think it’s good to have at least a little of every house in us! I love discussing the nuances of Hogwarts house traits.

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    • I went through a major house crisis toward the end of college, because I was so burnt out and hardly making an effort in any of my classes, so I was like ‘how can I possibly be a Ravenclaw??? don’t Ravenclaws love school???’ It took me a while to realize that academic burn out is a Real Thing and I was just reaching my limit. Being out of college let me rediscover my love of reading and critical thinking. So yeah, I definitely think there’s more to it than ‘smart’ and ‘loves school’ which is how I always see it defined.

      Hufflepuff is awesome!!! And I agree – it’s so cool that Hogwarts houses aren’t even real, but people still take these discussions Very Seriously, and consider their house a significant part of their identity. It’s also interesting to see how people interpret different house traits.

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      • I was super burnt out when I finished college, it’s such a real thing. It took me like a year to really get back into books and reading after I graduated. But getting to read and review without any academic obligations is the best thing ever!

        I once had a job interview where the interviewer asked me my Hogwarts house, I love how much Harry Potter is ingrained in society.

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      • It took me about a year after college to get back into reading too! I’m still sad when I think of all the years I wasted not reading, but I just reached a point where I couldn’t do it for a while.

        Oh my god that’s so awesome!!! Anywhere that asks you about Harry Potter in your interview has got to be a good place to work.

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      • Ahhh I know. It amazes me when I read posts by bloggers in college who manage to read so many books AND find the brain power to blog while doing school at the same! I never could have maintained this blog while I was in college, never mind find the time to read fun books when I had so many school books to read. It makes me so impressed lol.

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      • Oh my god I know, it absolutely blows my mind. I was also a lit major (Italian lit but still) so it was a lot of reading, maybe that has something to do with it? Maybe people who don’t do humanities have more time for blogging. Not that STEM isn’t time consuming – it just uses a different part of the brain I guess. I’m glad I started blogging when I did though, even though it took me a while! The people I follow right now are really great. What year did you graduate?

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      • Yeah, I double majored in English and History, so even if I tried to spend time reading something for pleasure I felt like I needed to read one of my million school books instead. I can imagine that a major that doesn’t require as much reading might make a reading blog easier to manage, but having known people with STEM majors and how hard they worked makes it impressive! I graduated in 2014, so like 3 years ago now :O I’d gotten a job where I was required to take hour long breaks and that’s when I really started reading again. How about you?

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      • 2014 for me as well!! That’s so cool. Funnily enough, I rarely make friends online who are the exact same age as me.

        English and History is such a cool double major, no wonder you love historical fiction! My major was technically just called “Italian” – it was mostly Italian lit but a lot of Italian history as well. When you’re a history major do you focus on one area/time period in particular, or were your classes all over the place? It seems so broad!

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      • Me neither!! I think a lot of the people I’ve befriended on here are in their earlier 20s or in their 30s. It’s easy to feel young and old on here.

        So I’m assuming you must know how to speak Italian?? What made you choose to major in Italian? Had you been there before or did you just like the culture and whatnot? Italy’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, I loved how old it feels there.

        When I was a history major I kind of floated around and took classes in all different time periods and parts of the world. But if I was to do it again I think I’d have focused more on European history. But I only know that now because I got a good sense of what I’m most interested in because of all the classes I took, lol. And even then I can’t bring myself to nail down a time period, or even a specific country, though England and France might be some of my favorites. And I love Asian history as well. I guess I still can’t choose haha. But I love reading historical fiction that brings certain historical events that I remember from a text book to life. And historical fiction that teaches me stuff. I just want to like, have a knowledge of everything!! But even when people ask me my what favorite period of literature is I really don’t have a straight answer…just books I like and books I don’t. But I love how literature basically goes hand-in-hand with any subject.

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      • si, parlo italiano! Honestly probably not very well at this point – I can read it fine but it’s just been ages since I’ve had a conversation in Italian.

        Actually I’d never been to Italy (or Europe!) before my year abroad. So in high school I’d studied Spanish, French, and Latin (I was a bit of a foreign language geek) and I was REALLY passionate about Latin. I had the most amazing teacher all four years, I learned so much not only about the language but about ancient Rome through various art and literature. Honestly I probably should have gone on to major in Latin/classics because academically I have never been as good at anything as I was at Latin grammar, but it felt a bit too pointless to devote intensive studies to a dead language. So I decided to switch gears and study the country from a contemporary perspective, and learn the language that’s actually spoken so I could go visit/do a year abroad/etc. I wasn’t initially going to major in Italian – I was actually a Linguistics major for the first two years before deciding I wasn’t passionate at all about that, but unfortunately switching majors after your sophomore year isn’t exactly the best idea in the world, and it basically worked out that the only thing I had enough credits to major in was Italian. I have a minor in art history and honestly would have much rather majored in that, but I was like… ONE class short of a double major or something stupid like that. Long story over!

        I feel you about concentrating on something different if you did it over! I can imagine with history it would be so difficult to figure out what you want to specialize with, without having taken all the different classes. I’m so interested in all of the areas you mentioned! European and Asian history are definitely the most interesting to me. And yes, the history-literature relationship is so cool to me too. This circles back to what we were talking about a few weeks ago, about the importance of teaching books in their historical contexts.

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      • Even though college is four years I feel like that’s not always enough time to really figure out what you want to study! Or by the end you just have a clearer idea of what you should have studied, lol. I certainly would be more selective with my history classes now. But I guess it’s all about figuring it out. But Italian sounds like it did cover a scope of things!! If only you didn’t have one class standing between you and an art history major!! I actually went into college as a communications major, but I kept trying to sign up from all these English classes and looking through the English catalogue, and I was talking to my mom one day and she was like “why don’t you just become an English major?” and I was like….huh. Good idea. And I loved my history classes in high school so I added that major later. But I did focus a part of my English degree on creative writing and have an official ~creative writing certification~ lol.

        I think history is also why I like to travel as well, which Europe was super great for obviously. I really want to go to Asia one day too. American history isn’t my favorite, but I like living in New England where it’s not hard to find historic places!!

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  4. This is so cool, I loved reading this! Some great book choices here, “The Vegetarian” is brilliant and I really agree this belongs in Ravenclaw! We identify pretty much identically when it comes to the Hogwarts houses though, like that is literally me. If I wasn’t Ravenclaw I’d probably be Slytherin, I feel like I have all those traits but in too much moderation to actually be one lmao. I think I got Gryffindor on my first ever Pottermore account and was so confused as I didn’t see the logic behind that at all. I guess I can be a little bit of all the houses but I am for sure the least Gryffindor XD

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    • That is awesome!!! Yay Slytherclaws!!! Except that makes us sound more Slytherin than Ravenclaw which is dumb. But still. I wonder if our only child upbringing has anything to do with developing similar traits? And I know what you mean about having all the traits in moderation – that’s definitely how I feel about Slytherin and Hufflepuff. Gryffindor is just not for me. Whenever I get Gryffindor on a quiz I know I can’t trust its credibility at all.

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      • Yeah, I think that’s totally a plausible explanation! And it’s not just the only child upbringing but it’s the aspect of a tiny family too, so I can definitely see us developing similar traits. And exactly, it’s like, I guess I could be in Slytherin or Hufflepuff but if I could choose – and you do have a say – I’d always pick Ravenclaw. lol same, I can’t trust a quiz that puts me in Gryffindor. If the Sorting Hat was a real thing and it considered putting me there I’d do like Harry but I’d whisper “not Gryffindor” instead. Not because I hate the house though, I just don’t identify with it at all, I’d be miserable there haha

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      • There is probably something to that! I’m so interested in the psychology behind the way kids are raised – it’s something I wish I knew more about.

        Ironically Harry is actually my favorite HP character, but just because I admire him so much – there is literally nothing in his character that I identify with. Whenever he rushes into situations I want to yell TAKE A DEEP BREATH, YOU ARE GOING ABOUT THIS ALL WRONG. I would hate to be surrounded by impulsive people like that!

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      • I remember I had something about this when I had a child development course in college. I think I wrote an essay of some kind on only children too; if I can find the paper again and if some of the sources I used are still available then I can link you to them if you’re interested ^_^ Might not have been so much about raising them though.

        I love Harry! Even when he does idiotic and unnecessarily dangerous things I end up supporting him XD But yeah, if I was the one who was supposed to stop Voldemort it might never have happened because I lack that kind of impulsive drive! I like to think things over two or eight times first haha

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    • I hope you enjoy Ransom! It’s such a brilliant character study, and Malouf’s prose is gorgeous.

      I’ve seen a couple of people do Hufflepuff for this topic! What would your Hufflepuff books be?

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  5. I said this on another book blogger buddy’s post, but I can’t believe I missed this T5W… I’d be Hufflepuff->Ravenclaw->Gryffindor->Slytherin I think 🙂 I haven’t heard of most of your picks- checking them out on Goodreads now! I did just finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt- have you read that one too? Which one did you like better?

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    • I actually haven’t read The Goldfinch yet! I’ve heard REALLY mixed things – I have some friends who love it and some who hate it, what did you think? Have you read The Secret History?

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      • Haven’t read Secret History, not sure if I will. I think Donna Tartt is very stylized so I could see how that leads to the love/hate relationship you mentioned. I finally posted my review, but overall it just wasn’t my thing…

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