I’ll start this blog by suggesting my absolute favorite books of all time: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. If you’ve ever met me in person, I’ve probably already suggested these to you. If you were agreeable, I probably had an extensive, enthusiastic conversation with you. If you haven’t read them, or if you find yourself averse to reading them because of their mainstream status and the atrocity of the films based on the books, I beg you to continue reading and have a change of heart.
If you don’t already know, (where have you been?), J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series consists of seven novels: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
If you don’t know the story already, which means you haven’t read the books, watched the movies, or overheard/read any of the hype, I won’t spoil the plot for you (once again I ask, where have you been all this time?!) Harry Potter is the protagonist, but the books are written in a 3rd person limited omniscient point of view, which allows the reader to experience the world in which Harry lives as well as his thoughts and feelings. Harry goes to a school for witches and wizards called Hogwarts, which enables him to finally escape his cruel yet humorous adoptive family the Dursleys and discover a place where he actually feels at home. At school he meets lifelong friends while fine-tuning and learning to control his powers. Harry also learns that he is the only wizard to ever survive the infamous and illegal killing curse, and that he has a deadly foe that he must face who operates under the title Lord Voldemort. The plot, as it is in any story, is only the tip of the magnificent iceberg that is Harry Potter, and since there are seven long books in the series, it is basically impossible to sum up and keep it brief.
These books have literally helped shape the person I am today and what I aspire to do and to be. I began reading Harry Potter when I was ten years old and was still in elementary school. Waiting for the amazing Rowling to write the next book was always an excruciating experience, and when the next installment did come out, I immediately buried my face in the pages and did not resurface until I was finished. J.K. Rowling taught me how to read an 800 page book in two days.
These books are about more than witches and wizards. They are also about love, life, learning lessons, and the recreational quality of reading. I don’t mean to sound cheesy or corny, but there are scenes in these books that make me laugh out loud, shed tears, and teach me about experiences in my own life and what lessons I should take from them. The characters in these books are fictional, of course, but they could easily exist in the world we live in. They are complicated, three dimensional, easy to hate, easy to love, and easy to relate to.
The books are also easy to read. Reading them is more like watching a film inside of your head in that it feels like more of a passive than an active experience. Whenever I can’t find a new book to read, or don’t feel like making a huge effort, I reread one or all of the Harry Potter Books. I must have read the complete series at least 15 times, and I have lost count of how many times I’ve read each book individually.
I was always a reader, but the Harry Potter books made me want to be a writer. J.K. Rowling has followed in J.R.R. Tolkien’s footsteps and created a brand new, detailed, rich, magical, and somehow believable world in which the reader lives and thrives, even when he or she is not actually reading the books. Literature is an art, and the Harry Potter series taught me that. They will open your eyes to the world of literature you have to chose from, and what can be gained through reading.
I suggest these books to anyone and everyone of all ages and cultures. You can find them in any Borders, Barnes & Noble, and most likely any book store you may encounter. If you have a library card, which everyone should, you can use that as well to access these books.
Thanks for reading! (Pun intended)