Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

It’s tough for me to believe that this only showed up in the world seven years ago, in 1998. In just that short time, the characters and the stories seem to ahve become deeply embedded in our popular culture. An amazing thing, that happened incredibly quickly.

With the 6th installment of the series coming out in July, I wanted to go back and read through all the previous books — just to remember some of the nuance. I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, since I’ve read some of them a couple of times already, but I really did enjoy this one. It’s funny — it’s an extremely familiar story to me now, but I find new stuff every time I read it.

With this first book in particular, you can see that Rowling isn’t quite clear whether she’s going to write more than just the one — it can stand alone far better than the other books in the series can (although the 2nd book is a pretty good standalone as well).

I’m just completely bowled over by what a big vision Rowling paints in such an easy, comfortable, accessible way. There’s a ton of depth here, hints at a larger world & history, but it’s really easy for even relatively young children to pick up and enjoy. As a contrast, I re-read some of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books a while back, and found them really stuffy and a little bit boring. That’s not how I remember them, of course — I remember them as swashbuckling stories — but they’re just clearly not modern books for modern readers at this point. Not like Harry Potter.

Anyway, I’ll post on each of the books as I read them leading up to July — for Book 1, let me just say that even after I’ve seen the movie several times and read the book maybe three times, I don’t get tired of it — it’s still magical when Hagrid first comes to pick Harry up, it’s still amazing when he plays his first Quidditch match.

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