Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Harry Potter

JK Rowling published her first Harry Potter book in 1997. It hit the USA in 1998. I remember several friends raving over it, and going to Harry Potter parties at the bookstores as each new book was released. I thought they were crazy. I had no interest in reading a child’s book, especially about wizardry. My daughter, Maggie, had read them and kept encouraging me to try them. No way, not interested.

Cut now to ten years later, the fall of 2007. We were closing up my parent’s summer home in Indiana and I came across a copy of the 1st Harry Potter book in their bedroom. The book had probably come from an auction, where my mother often buys boxes of books. I thought, well, it’s free to read, and I don’t have anything to read right now, so why not? Thus began my obsession with the Harry Potter books! I have to admit that I wasn’t completely taken with #1, but it was good enough that I was willing to read #2. I found it to be better than the first and so I was willing to read #3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#3) was fantastic. I was hooked! In the past 4 months, I have read the first 6 Harry Potter books. I love them and could hardly stand to be away from them during the rest of my life going on. Each night, I would pick up the latest HP book that I was reading and say to my husband, let’s find out what Harry’s up to tonight!

I have forced myself to read other books in-between reading each Harry book, to try to keep my addiction under control. But I would find myself trying to rush through the other books, because I wanted to get back to Harry, Ron and Hermoine. What had happened to me. Maybe the books actually put me under a spell!

This is a real tribute to JK Rowling’s ability to write. If I were a writer, I think that to be able to hold a reader’s attention and even longing for more of the same would be the highest praise there could be.

The Harry Potter books have sold well over 100 million copies. Both adults and children are reading them. They have been an incredible phenomena.

I’m wondering what others have thought about the Harry Potter books, read or not. Have any of you been as resistant as I was to reading them? Did it take you 10 years to read one, or have you still resisted? And for those of you who have read them, did you find them as hard to put down as I did once I began reading them?

One caveat: I haven’t read the last Harry Potter book yet. A big part of my reluctance to read it is that I don’t want the series to be over! How bizarre does this sound? But I can’t wait much longer, so I will be reading it very soon. So if you have already read it, please don’t give the last book’s story away to me yet!

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