It’s time for the ‘A-Z challenge’- a post every day in April (except Sundays) working up through the alphabet. This year I will be writing about books that I read before I started this blog, that were important to me in some way. The vast majority are ones I still have on my bookshelf today, despite a move in house and sometimes many years since I first read it.
J is for JK
Book: Harry Potter by JK Rowling
What is it about:
Do I really need to answer this? Who here hasn’t heard of Harry Potter?
Harry Potter is an 11 year old orphan, who lives with his aunt’s family. They have never been very nice to him, and to make matters worse strange things sometimes happen around him. Then he starts to get mysterious letters, and finds out he is a wizard. Off he goes to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry, where he has many an adventure, finds out about his past, and discovers he is part of a fight against the most powerful dark wizard of all time.
When I first read this book:
In year 5, our teacher read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone book to us. The first three books were already out, but I hadn’t heard of it before.
Why it is important to me:
My friend T and I loved the book. We borrowed the rest from the library and spent several weeks spending every lunch time reading them together. Then we moved on to acting them out, and creating our own stories. We pretended it was our secret game, even though we knew everyone else knew what we were doing. We spent at least a term doing this. I had been in some plays before, and knew that playing characters different from yourself was the most fun, and was ok to do, whereas T felt a bit funny about playing male characters. So I was all the male characters, and she was all the female characters, and when there were two males (eg Harry and Draco), I would switch to being the evil, or generally the non-Harry, character. I remember one day, one of the other girls wanted to play. She was someone who could at times be a bit odd (and I don’t mean that as an insult- I was definitely thought weird almost all the time), and somehow we ended up acting out a Harry- Ginny scene, which was rather a bit awkward. (At that stage they hadn’t gotten together, but Ginny was obviously adoring and star struck).
I always remember primary school fondly- the people, the games, some good teachers and the freedom to be a kid and explore our interests…
Who should read it:
I think that the Harry Potter franchise has become so big, and well known in pop culture, that probably everyone should read if only to be up to date and know what everyone else is talking about.
The books are written for children initially, but they do get longer and darker. At age 10 I found number 2 & 4 to be a bit scary, but more to the extent that I had to read number 2 in one session to know things turned out ok rather than not being able to read it. Number 5 has a fair amount of teenage angst, and generally the latter ones have less of a happy, magical fun feeling, and more of a serious, we need to do these quests to defeat evil vibe.