For me, this was the summer of Harry Potter. I had not previously read any of the books, in large part because the volume was so daunting. By the time I was affected by the cultural mania, people were reading Volume 3 and I was a thousand pages behind. I was overwhelmed and opted out.

But this summer, I was looking for a “beach read” and Volume 1 happened to be on the shelf in the library. And even though the books were published between 9 and 19 years ago, it was the last of the seven books that I would be able to read without first being on a wait list.  

In fact, I did read all seven — 4100 pages — in a span of about 10 weeks. I think about how that colored my experience vs. those who read them originally as they were published over the span of 10 years. The suspense did not have to build waiting a year in between books. I did not need to wait in bookstore lines at midnight to get the next volume. I could watch the entire series of eight movies right after finishing the whole series of books instead of waiting for long gaps in between those features too. And yet, I missed out on the immediacy and the camaraderie of the cultural phenomenon. I also missed out on two decades of understanding some of the references that have crept into everyday language!

I am incredibly glad to have read the series and highly recommend it to others. The hardest part is reading page 1. After that, the pages just turn themselves in a brilliantly written story that as much about friendship as it is about dragons.  

The next time I am faced with a daunting task, I will think about reading Harry Potter. I missed out on wonderful entertainment for a decade because I focused on the 4100 pages instead of just the first one. You don’t have to be a wizard to gain the magic that comes from starting!

beth triplett

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