30 Days, 30 Books That Shaped My Life – Day 8 NaNoWriMo

I’m having a day. It wasn’t a bad day. It just wasn’t one of my more productive days. After nearly two weeks of non-stop work on this website, I think I hit the wall today. I also was tending to some personal issues and trying to get caught up on my paying gig. The constant act of juggling always seems to get in the way of my writing. In fact, I’m now behind on my word count for National Novel Writing Month.

So, I’m going to keep it short and sweet today—er, tonight—and defer to a woman who needs no introduction and never seemed to lack for words or imagination in creating one of the best book series of all time. I am referring, of course, to J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter books.

I actually didn’t read any of the Harry Potter books until the first film came out. I guess I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about, so I started in on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I tore through the first four novels and had the painstakingly long break between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, which was an utter disappointment to me as a reader (I felt it was by far her weakest book, as though that hiatus was ended by cranking out chapters rather than creating a flowing narrative). Whatever Ms. Rowling left out in Book 5, however, she more than made up for in Books 6 and 7.

As noted, I’m in a bit of a rush today, so I’m going to enumerate why this series is so damn amazing (and what I loved most about it).

  1. It created a generation of readers during an era when readership and attention spans (hello, Internet!) were waning.
  2. The world of Harry Potter was formed from other great literary works, making this true literature.
  3. Ms. Rowling’s writing improved over the course of the four novels, although the third book (Prisoner of Azkaban) remains my personal favorite.
  4. It’s my opinion that no other book series prompted more re-reading than Harry Potter; before every new book release hoards of fans would go back and re-read the subsequent chapters, and ditto for the film releases. These books were so wonderful that you wanted to start them over from the beginning multiple times.
  5. The British versions should have been the only versions; I believe that the final two books are identical, but only the first story actually had a name change (and, yes, I do own a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).
  6. You don’t have to be a child to read these “children’s” books, as film star Daniel Radcliffe famously joked on SNL.

If you are among the few readers on earth not to have read Harry Potter. Do yourself a favor, and book a staycation with this series. You won’t regret it.

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