Saturday, June 4, 2016

Reading Harry Potter... for the first time!

It's true, I'm an adult bookworm who is just now reading the Harry Potter series.

To be fair, I tried to read the first book when it initially came out; I made it a couple of chapter in and had to put it down. I've never been into fantastical books or movies, so wizards and magic didn't interest me much. Plus, I was a teenager who had tons of homework and limited reading time, so I'd rather read what I loved. (I'll also admit that I had a pretty narrow reading scope at that point.) I saw the first two movies because a friend wanted to see them, but I didn't get into them, and can't remember too much about them now.

Then the hype hit. To be fair, the book was probably already wildly popular when I attempted it the first time, but no one can deny that Harry Potter fever took over as the books were released. I have this weird thing with hype, where I get annoyed when I hear about something too much and want to shun it as much as possible. Even with things I love! I just feel oversaturated by it and want to ignore it. So that, of course, is what happened with All Things Harry Potter.

Fast forward to now, when I am grown up and finishing my master's degree and doing an internship with the public library system. I am setting up my internship hours with the children's department manager when I am told that something Harry Potter related is coming out on July 31st, and that is also Harry Potter's birthday. It is also the last day of Memphis' summer reading program, meaning the library will have a huge party celebrating all of these things.

Well, if I'm going my internship in the children's department, and helping out with this party, I better know what's going on! I don't want a day of kids running up to me, asking Harry Potter questions or spouting off Harry Potter trivia while I smile and nod dumbly.

I am going to read Harry Potter!

I started towards the end of May, a little nervous that I was going to be "forced" to read seven books that didn't interest me at all. Booknerd friends on social media warn me that the first book isn't very good, but they all get better as the series progresses. Ok, here we go.

I remember the first chapter, and the second. Ok, this is the point where I stopped reading before, but this time... I'm into it! I LIKE HARRY POTTER! I feel pretty accomplished at this point, because I like a book that hardcore Harry Potter fans admit isn't too great. (It's not as fantastical as I thought it would be; the "real" world is pretty well-represented. My problem with fantasy is that you're usually just thrown into this world that is crazy-different from ours, and are expected to believe it exists and has always been this way... Sometimes creatures are too far-fetched, and names are so ridiculous you can't believe anyone, in a fantasy world or not, would burden their offspring in such a manner. But Harry Potter seems real enough, because the worlds are explained thoroughly, but not in such a descriptive way that you get bogged down in the details, trying to figure out if something is really possible. But I digress.)

I finish the book. I start the second. I finish the second. Yup - I like Harry Potter! This summer will be a breeze. I will finally get references people around me make. No one will look at me in shock when I say I've never read the series, because I will have read the series

Then I start book three. It's longer than the first two, but it's still pretty much the same - Harry is famous! Everyone loves Harry! But a lot of people also hate Harry! They want to kill him. He might be in trouble. He should be cautious and not leave the school building. But that's not Harry's style!

I get that some authors find formulas that work. I get that most books have the same setup and story arc. It's a predictable, not-horrible format for a juvenile adventure book: boy is living life; boy gets warning that something is changing and might be life-threatening; boy encounters enemy; boy vanquishes enemy; everyone is satisfied, but enemy is still out there because it's not just one, it's an army.

Like I said, I get it, and it's fine. But after reading the same basic story twice, I'm a little burnt out. So I'm hardly reading right now, because I'm just not into the story anymore. After such a high, I'm a little worried - can I finish the series before the end of July?

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