Central: PZ 7 .R79835 Half 2005
This recommendation is not directed towards Harry Potter fans. This is for those who have so far resisted Hurricane Harry during his sweep across the world.
The Potter universe wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but I think there are some holdouts who may enjoy it, may even love it, but who are averse to fantasy books, or kid lit, or any action that resembles jumping on the latest bandwagon.
My target here is people who love mysteries, or code-breaking, or puzzles, or problem-solving of any kind. The problem-solving pleasure will greatly diminish once book seven appears, so now is the time to join the fun and start hunting for clues.
Harry Potter dominated my July reading. I re-read the earlier books before keeping my long-awaited date with the Half Blood Prince (HBP), because Rowling loves to drop clues (and red herrings). I wanted to be ready. Now that I’ve finished all six books in a row and started to formulate some hypotheses about what’s going on, and what’s going to happen, darned if I don’t feel like I need to re-read them all, armed with the wealth of information provided in HBP.
I was a late-comer to the series, not starting them until four books had appeared. My literary pretensions intact, I resisted the lure of a fashionable series lacking substance. The first book confirmed my expectation that the series was lacking in great prose, pleasant but fluffy, and I expected to read no further.
My father-in-law pressed the next two books upon me, insisting that I must read them, and by the end of book three, I did indeed feel that I must immediately begin four. I have been hooked ever since. Enhancing the enjoyment are the long waits between books, which build anticipation and allow time to meditate upon possibilities.
If you’ve only read the first book or only seen the movies, I recommend reading at least the first three books before deciding whether you really like them. In fact, (sacrilege!) skip up and start with book three, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You can always go back and read the earlier ones later, if you wish. And I suspect you will wish.
The Central library contains all five previous books in the series. In order, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (PZ7.R79835 Har 1998), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PZ7.R7968 Har 1999), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PZ7.R79835 Ham 1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (PZ7.R79835 Har 2000), and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (PZ 7 .R79835 Halx 2003).
(Originally published in Connections, August 2005)