top of page

Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon

Today was another one of those didn't finish a book days. I don't have many of those, especially during the summer, but I've been feeling exceptionally lazy these last 24-hours. That isn't to say I'm not reading because I certainly am. I always am. I'm currently reading Posted by John David Anderson and the Carnelian Crow by Colleen Gleason. I'm enjoying both, so my slowed down pace isn't from lack of interest. It's more that there's a screened-in porch and a double papasan with a squishy cushion and a ceiling fan and homemade blueberry lemonade and music playing and . . . maybe I'll take a nap or three before September arrives. All of this means I missed June 26th.

What happened on June 26th? Well, I'm sure loads of things happened that escaped my attention. I was considering pausing here and going to discover what happened on June 26th, but as I explained I'm feeling exceedingly lazy, so I'll just concede that stuff definitely happened and the world might still be ending. What happened that matters to my reading life is that Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone turned 20.

It really does feel like I just discovered Privet Drive, Platform 9 3/4, and Hogwarts just yesterday, but alas it's been two decades. Two freaking decades! How? When? Whaaaaaat?! I had no idea when I opened Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone how it would change me or how it would change the world. It changed me in a profound way. I went from a simple voracious reader to a book geek extraordinaire.

I had never in my life considered standing in line for a book, but there I was. There I was standing outside of Borders (RIP) or Barnes & Noble giddy with the knowledge that I was going to spend hours devouring Harry's latest adventure. I was so excited to get my hands on the books that I barely noticed the people in capes amusing themselves by casting spells. I became the person who said things like, "You have to read this book, You just have to!" People who know me know I'm rarely that effusive and I certainly don't ignore people in capes casting spells.

J.K. Rowling managed to seduce me and the world with one bespectacled boy. A bespectacled boy who was a mediocre wizard possessed of above average bravery. A bespectacled boy who definitely had greatness thrust upon him. When I read Book 1 and Book 2 and Book 3 I thought Harry was the greatest, but by the end of Book 4 everything started to change and I uttered these immortal words, "Harry is kind of a suck wizard. It's a good thing he has friends, powerful wizard mentors, and dead people to save him all of the time."

Let me call a temporary ceasefire to my ongoing one-sided hostilities toward J.K. Rowling and tip my hat to her. I'll be the first to admit that while I'm something of a conflicted Harry Potter super fan I am exceedingly grateful to Rowling for her thrusting of literature for children and teens back into conversations about literature. I don't know that she saved children's literature, but she deserves enormous amounts of credit for once again giving children's and YA lit a seat at the "literature" table. She helped restore its legitimacy in a world that was so taken by the Western Canon and the notion of highbrow that there was little room for anything else, and certainly not for any book written for children and teens. She did that. That's how she changed the world. Much respect to her. However, I am 100% holding a grudge about books 5, 6, and 7. What do you expect from a proud Slytherin?

So . . . thanks J.K! Even though you are an unforgivable paper spree killer. I know we're fighting, but really we should be mounting a search party to Australia to locate Sirius Black. Can we at least agree on that?

bottom of page