Now on my bookshelf at home there are quite a few series of books, all of which I’ve read several times. I think people who know me might make their own assumptions as to which one of these series wins this accolade, and I’m not sure many of them would perhaps guess right. I think that is because this series is so close to my heart, so special to me, that I don’t really talk about it that much. Also, none of my friends really share my love for these books and as the final book of the series has been published and the final film released, there isn’t really much to say about the books in passing conversation. However I think this story will stay with me for the rest of my life and it is definitely a series that I would recommend to anyone to read, no matter what their preconceptions are; I can’t imagine anyone not finding something in these books that they enjoy.
Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling
Even if you haven’t read the books or even seen the films, I doubt there’s anyone who doesn’t know a bit about what happens in these books so I don’t see the point in giving you all a synopsis for the series. So instead I will tell the story of how I fell in love with the world J K Rowling has created.
I have a brother who is 8 years my junior and so was the perfect age to read these books when they were first published. My mum, in my opinion, was too old to be reading these books that I deemed only suitable for children, and I thought she was mad staying up until the early hours of the morning reading the latest book after my brother had gone to sleep. I couldn’t understand the appeal and she must not have been able to get through to my teenage self how great these books are. When the first film came out, many of the older women I worked with who had children or grandchildren were getting excited about the film as they had also stolen the books off their owners when they had gone to sleep and were all big fans of the series. I realised that my mum was one of many mad people reading children’s books and being someone who doesn’t like to jump on the bandwagon, I still didn’t read the books, even though they were in easy reach in the bedroom next door. As a fan of film I did watch the first film, and I enjoyed it, but in the same way I enjoy a Disney film, it still didn’t lure me to read the books.
A few years later after I had moved out of my mother’s house, I would go and stay with her and my brother and whilst there, I would read whatever I could lay my hands on. Once I had re-read my entire Roald Dahl collection that had been passed onto my brother, I had a choice: Artemis Fowl or Harry Potter? I decided to finally give it a go and after devouring The Philosophers Stone, I smuggled the next four back in my bag and my love (some might say obsession) with these books began. I’ve always said that I’m glad, in a way, that I waited so long to read them as I don’t think I would have been able to patiently wait two years between The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix, so I’m glad I started just after the release of the fifth book. Some of my most vivid memories are of the two days that I picked up The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows from my local bookstore (I couldn’t trust the Royal Mail to deliver it from Amazon!). I spent the rest of the day reading the latest installment, tears pouring down my face at certain points making it hard to carry on reading, reaching the back cover and then turning back to the front and starting again. I sometimes think that I would pay good money to relive that feeling, of reading for the first time something that you love so much, because no matter how many times I read these books (or listen to the amazing Stephen Fry), I can never recreate the feeling of that first time.
If there is anyone reading this that has not read the books then the biggest gift you can give yourself this Christmas is the experience of reading these books. Even if you have seen the films, even if you are not a fan of the films, I urge you to give this book series a go, I’m sure you will not be disappointed.