In Which I Attempt to Read All Seven Harry Potters Next Month

So this past New Year’s was just me and my little sister. We had two bottles of this super nasty sparkling non-alcoholic wine (red grape and white grape, if I’m remembering right). When midnight hit, we shook them up like crazy and then raced onto the back porch, flinging foaming grape juice everywhere while Frozen’s “Let it Go” blasted on full volume behind us through the open door. Not gonna lie, it was kind of exhilarating screaming, “THE PAST IS IN THE PAST!” while swinging trails of juice around us as we danced in circles. Fireworks were going off in three different places around us.

But all of that lasted about as long as the song, and then we were left slightly sticky and holding two empty bottles. “We should make resolutions,” I said, “and then shatter the bottles.” My sister’s eyes widened. “Yes.”

We were by no means rebels, but I’m from a super small country town and there were plenty of empty parking lots to use, with abandoned, weedy fields to catch errant shards of glass. Anyway. Nervous and hyped up, we found a parking lot and shut off the jeep’s lights so nobody could see us. “So,” my sister said. “I’m going to get a six-pack this year.” (For my incredibly athletic, soccer-star little sister, this was a feasible option; not so much for me. I have a writer’s doughy build and I regard crunches with the same nose-wrinkle as I do all green vegetables). I lifted mine and said, “I’m going to try one new thing every month this year.” Then we threw the bottles down and ran away giggling.

The month to month “new thing” is variable, but basically I’ve seen it either as a new habit/practice to try for 30 days, or simply doing something I haven’t done before. This month, I’ve vowed to read all the Harry Potter books.

Again. For the record, I have read them.

The other day I was in a publishing lecture, and someone asked the speaking editor what she thought about the Potter books’ climb from MG to YA to Really Upper YA. And she said that she thought it got away with it not just because the books were good, but because lots of readers were 10-11 when the first book came out, and so they literally grew up alongside Harry Potter.

I was one of those readers. I was eleven when I won a paperback copy of the first book as the prize for a drawing contest. The last scene with the mirror and Voldemort scared me a little. And the last movie came out when I was 21, so my entire transition from childhood to adulthood was tainted by Harry Potter. He’s like a long lost cousin or something. But I’m not a Potterhead. I read each book once as it came out, and also the book right before it to give myself a refresher, so that means I’ve read every one twice, except the last one (upward of six years ago, wow). I haven’t seen any of the movies. (Oh, wait, that’s not true. I did see the sixth one with a friend in the theaters.) To be honest, I barely remember the bare bones of the story. And I think half of what I know is simply media exposure.

So I thought: I should read those again.



I mean, why not? I feel like I should if only because books are my business, and also because the experience will probably be wholly different now as an adult than as a growing-up adolescent, not to mention reading them all in one condensed time instead of spread out by years and years. So March, prepare to be Potter-fied. Anyone want to join me?

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