Who says you need to read the book first?

The Harry Potter Series is my favorite book series. I thoroughly enjoy the movies as well. In fact, I can admit without shame that I saw a majority of the movies before finally deciding to read the books.

It seems that most movies hitting theaters today are adaptations of popular novels, stories, and fairy tales. Even Marvel and DC movies come from comic books.

Honestly, I’m not complaining. I think it makes sense to use the popular stories that so many people are captivated by for film. It’s proof that books and reading can never truly go out of style.

If a young adult novel turns into a movie, you can be sure that people will be rushing to stores to buy the book. But you will also have those uninterested in reading the book, who decide that they  just want to see the movie. And here’s why: Seeing a movie is easy and fast. If you hate it, at least you’ve only wasted two hours of your time.

Personally, I don’t like to harp on people to “Read the book first!” Yes, I will often suggest they read the book, but only if I believe that reading the book will be even more enjoyable than watching the movie—which in most circumstances is true. With the Harry Potter books, I discovered them because I loved the movies so much. Once I started the first book, I couldn’t stop. I read them all and was enthralled by the details in the books that weren’t in the movies. Soon enough, I had finished all of the books and was waiting for the newest movie to come out.

Whatever you decide to do (read the book first, see the movie, or both) just enjoy it for what it is: a story to be experienced.


Lessons from Click: Don’t Put Your Life on Autoplay

This weekend I watched the movie Click for the first time, and I found myself with a desire to start living my life differently.cXR4a7WITJbzkVbWQJ3UVkoK2sd

Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) is a workaholic who puts his job above his family while pursuing a well-deserved promotion. In an attempt to balance his life, Michael acquires a universal remote from kooky salesman Morty (Christopher Walken). The remote allows Michael to skip or fast-forward through uncomfortable parts of his life. It’s the perfect answer to his dilemma, until the remote takes over and programs Michael’s life for him.

The prevailing theme in Click is to enjoy each day and put family first. The movie is convicting because, even without a remote, we make the same mistakes as Michael.23clic.600

When Michael skips scenes in his life, he goes on autoplay. This means his body is still present, but he gives minimal effort to interacting with others.

We can often do this in our lives. We skip around the boring or hard parts, tuning out instead of investing.

We can see from the movie, that this lifestyle has bitter consequences. So how do we keep ourselves from going on autoplay?

  1. Say, “I love you.” You will never regret being honest with your friends and family about how much they mean to you.
  2. Shut off screens. I love media, but sometimes I need to take a break so I can interact with people. Choose one night a week to be “screen-free” and fill it with quality time spent with people.
  3. Examine your priorities. Michael was so focused on doing well in his job so he could make a better life for his family, he didn’t realize he was neglecting them. Make sure you have the right priorities and pursue them the right way.
  4. Be present in every situation. Unpleasant moments are easier to skip past, but we need to be invested in others no matter how difficult it gets.

Click is a cautionary tale about what happens when we don’t appreciate every moment we have. Stay off autoplay.

– Megan R.

Encouragement and Inspiration from School of Rock



Because we talked a bit about rock music on Friday, it only seems appropriate for this Movie Monday to take a look back at the 2003 film, which has recently become a Broadway musical, School of Rock. This is the story of a struggling musician, Dewey Finn, who just got kicked out of a band. He steps in as a substitute teacher for a prep school, where he discovers his fourth grade students are talented classical musicians. So he decides to form a band with them, teaching them rock music instead of the regular school curriculum. He then enters them in a Battle of the Bands competition, hoping he can win money to pay off his rent.

This humorous film starring Jack Black is not only good for when you need a laugh, but it is also inspiring. In one scene, Dewey gives encouragement to one of the students, Tomika, who is scared to sing in front of people. He also helps another student, Zack, come out of his shell and share a song that he wrote for the band. Although Dewey is not always the wisest or most responsible character in the film, he is good at finding the unique gifts and talents that others possess. Because of this, he is able to offer them encouragement and inspiration to become the best musician/rock star that they can be.


Why don’t we start off this week by being more encouraging to one another? Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” It can be so easy to be critical of others (especially when it’s a Monday and your favorite team lost the Super Bowl), but I want to challenge you to start off the week by building each other up. Go out of your way to say something nice to someone. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up starting a band together!

-Emily H.



Who Needs Heroes?

It’s a fair question. Who really needs fictional heroes when we have people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Marie Curie?

I do. Actually, I have a pretty long list of fictional people I look up to.

  • Obi-wan Kenobi and Rey (Star Wars)
  • Mulan (Disney)
  • Jo March (Little Women)
  • Steve Rogers (Captain America)
  • Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter)
  • Korra (Legend of Korra)

To name a few.

One of my favorite heroes is George VI from The King’s Speech. He struggles with anxiety and a terrible stammer. One feeds the other in a crippling cycle of shame and self-doubt.

Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. (The King’s Speech is rated R for language.)

Speaking in public terrifies me. I stumble in class or interviews because I’m too nervous, and I agonize over it for days. It’s nowhere near as bad as George VI, but seeing someone else struggle with anxiety is encouraging. Seeing him come to terms with it is inspiring.

Technically, George VI is a real person. But I identify more with him watching The King’s Speech than reading about him in a history book.

This isn’t to say that real-life heroes aren’t important. They show us what’s possible, how drive and passion can transform the world. I respect real-life heroes, but there’s an awe and distance that makes them larger than life. Even the most personal C.S. Lewis biography makes him sound superhuman.

Media—and fictional characters—can resonate with us in ways real life doesn’t. Maybe we aren’t running countries, fighting Dark Lords, or saving China, but we do face injustice. Loss. Sleepless nights. The best media not only faces what we do, it reassures us that there is meaning and beauty even if we can’t see them right now. Tim O’Brien says, “That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”

So let’s be proud of our favorite movie heroes and TV protagonists. Tell a friend about that book character that changed your life.


-Josie K.