Being involved in book blogging, every once in a while (or more like almost all the time and every day) you stumble onto something Harry Potter related. If there is something I have learned during my 9+ months of writing a blog, it's that the whole world loves Harry books. It is kind of a phenomenon - I haven't seen a single review/opinion that was negative! Even with the bestest and most hyped books, you usually get something from the each end of the spectrum, but no, Harry Potter can do no wrong in the eyes of the world.
When the first book was published, I was 15 years old, and that is basically answer to the mystery of why I hadn't read the books until this year - I was too old. Harry Potter was something for children, and not for an overachieving teenage girl.
Truth be told, I did read the first book at some point. I was sick at home, and my mother (!) had brought it from the library, for herself to read. How cool was my mother, and how uncool was I? I read it and quickly classified as "OK but too childish". Yes, the first book is meant for younger readers, but as much as I've seen, the later ones tend to mature pretty well.
The train was already gone, and I didn't really get the whole Potter mania that the world was going through (hype puts me off, needless to say). At some point I decided that if the books stand the test of time, I will read them all.
Now, more than 10 years have passed, books are still going strong, and when earlier in spring Scholastic revealed the new, not-too-shabby-looking covers for the anniversary of the books, I decided to get them, and read them (yes, even if it meant I'm getting "the Sorcerer's Stone" instead of "the Philosopher's Stone").
So that is how it's going right now: I read the book, then Jan reads the book, and then we watch the movie. I've read three books now, and he is reading the third, and we have watched the two first movies. It's a nice little project and let's hope we can keep it up until the end.
I have rated books 3/5, 4/5 and 5/5 so far, so very curious if the next ones are going to be as good as the Prisoner of Azkaban.
This is not a review, simply because I don't really feel there is much anything to add to everything being said about the book. They are fantastically written; atmospherically they are just too good; all the details (seriously, how do you even come up with all this stuff - Mandrakes? really? :D); in earlier ones maybe character development is a bit something to pick on, but I'm hoping it gets more sophisticated as characters age (looking forward to teenage-emo-Harry!).
I am also quite enjoying the films, although general consensus seems to be that they are not that good, but I find them really nice light, atmospheric entertainment with some really good acting.
The next book, the Goblet of Fire, is a proper brick and I'm thinking I will fit it in somewhere in the end of November - December. I haven't bought the other three books yet.
OMG, these new covers are fantastic! I want them too! :) The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite, and you are in for some great stuff in the fourth book too! Then teenage anxiety comes, which I'm not really a fan of, but you get tons of character development there, don't worry! Hope you'll like the rest of the books, and I'm off to some online bookshop to have a look how much a bunch of happiness with these covers may cost...ReplyDelete
Haha yes, they are pretty nifty :) I got first three books from the Book Depo, but they didn't have fourth then for some reason, so I ordered from one of the local online shops. The spines when put all next to each other on the shelf form a picture of the castle, so that looks really nice!Delete
I'm glad you're enjoying the experience. I think I was 10 or 11 when the first one came out, so I was the perfect age to grow up with them and so will always love them. I think Goblet of Fire is when they really get good, so hopefully you'll enjoy the remaining books even more.ReplyDelete
I envy you guys a bit who got to grow up with the books. I know that no matter how much I like the books now, it'll never be quite the same kind of experience. But, I'm so looking forward to read the rest of the books.Delete
Time to make a post here I guess. I just started the third book and it's going along nicely like the rest of them. I have to agree that Rowling writes very well and I particularly like how she didn't create an alternate fantasy world but decided instead to incorporate witches and wizards to our own using her rich imagination.ReplyDelete
Some of the characters are one-dimensional, stereotypical and known from the "school world", but she still manages to portray them well. This is expected of course because these are after all aimed at children. Even the obligatory recapping of events and characters is done in small bits and subtly so it doesn't feel annoying and makes you feel like you read the previous books again in a summary.
The dialogue and descriptions are a pleasure read and the pages just seem to speed past wihtout even noticing. Especially Malfoy's dialogue is always a blast to read and the humour hits home to me because it's the subtle and witty English kind, and so it doesn't come off as tacky and forced.
There would be a lot to say stil, but in conclusion, I'm glad children (and adults too) have the opportunity to read such well written and imaginative books. A little mysticism and fantasy is good for the imagination and soul in my opinion. I'm looking forward to the next books with interest on how the mood, atmosphere and character development will change as the characters age. And of course how it will all end. :)
The only thing that really irks me is that they changed the title of the first book for the Americans. Come on, the Philosopher's Stone should be common knowledge after school and should come up in chemistry or history. And even if it doesn't changing the title sure doesn't help children doing some investigation of their own on the matter. Today it's so easy to just tap it in Wikipedia for example. It feels Americans really underestimate the child's mind or purposefully easify things. The word Philosopher in this context makes absoulute sense and there is rational sense in changing it to Sorcerer just to make it sound more mystical and magical. Argh! /rant off
You shall be awarded the trophy of "The Longest Comment Submitted In This Blog" :DDelete
I agree that the humour is well-done and quite subtle, not the kind of "cake in the face" type (maybe we will get some of that in the movies? :p). I think Hagrid is also a very humorous character with his love for fluffy animals and inability to bake.
The change of the first book title is annoying and confusing and it means there will also be difference between "the UK edition" and "the US edition", so if you like covers of one you might not prefer the title of the first book and vice versa.
I was already in my 20s when the first Harry Potter novel was released, so I read the series as an adult. One of the things I like best about the series is that it can be enjoyed by both children and adults. I think the series gets better with each book, so I fully expect you'll enjoy the remainder of the series. While I love all of the books, and have re-read the entire series a number of times, the final two books are my favourites.ReplyDelete
Ah, so good to know I'm not alone :) It's so true that these books really are for ageless audience. I'm also glad that I decided to buy all the copies because there will definitely be re-reads in future.Delete
Squueeeeee!!!! It's so exciting to see you reading the series for the first time :)ReplyDelete
The books DEFINITELY get more mature as they go on, especially starting with book 4. Book 4 is actually one of my favorites, even if I have some small issues with the overall plot of that one (I talked about this in my readalong posts when I reread HP earlier this year). They're all just so good!
The third movie I hate, and all of the others are generally pretty good. I need to re-watch the later ones, I haven't seen them as much.
So basically I'm just so excited for you getting to experience these for the first time! I can't wait to see what you think of the rest of them.
It is pretty exciting! :) Ooooh now that I've heard so many good things about book 4 I want to read it like right now, maybe I'll fit it into November, then it'll be like 1 book a month. I remember when you guys had the re-read readalong, I'll go and check out your posts on books I've read :)Delete
I loved this post! It is so hard to capture the everything that is Harry Potter. Like you, I didn't read the series until later (I read it about 4 years ago). I remember I started it when the first book came out and I, too, thought it was too childish for my sophisticated 14 year old self! Then, for some reason, I picked up the first book when I was in grad. school and DEVOURED the series in about 2 years! I am hoping to actually start a re-read of the books soon, but it just keeps seeming so overwhelming. I like your idea of reading a book then watching the movie. Maybe I can pace myself out and read/watch one book/movie each month.ReplyDelete
Also, I LOVE the new covers! The Goblet of Fire was my favorite, but like you said- it really is a brick! Good luck with the HP journey! I hope you continue to enjoy the series!!
Thank you, Victoria! It's good to know that not the whole world grew up with Harry & Co ;)Delete
The books seem really big (I mean when you pile them up on top of each other it's a looot of pages, right?) but they also go really fast... I'll see about the fourth book since it's the first really big book, but generally I've noticed that the story is just so well-flowing, it kind of ends in a blink of an eye (and it's not a bad thing in this case).
I'm glad you're getting to read them for the first time. I didn't really fall in love with them until the third book. I'm such a fan and I hope you continue to enjoy them!ReplyDelete
I have to agree, first two books were just o-key, but the third book did put an extra swing into things. Looking forward to the next ones :)Delete
I'm so glad you're enjoying them more as you go along! The first book holds a special place in my heart, but it's most likely nostalgia for when I first discovered this wonderful series. Prisoner of Azkaban is my husband's favorite in the series, and if pressed I would probably say #6 The Half-Blood Prince is mine. The details are what really makes this series stand out for me -- the imagination that went into crafting the HP world (more like HP universe!) never fails to astound me. And don't worry, you'll get a whole lot of emo Harry in book 5 -- maybe a bit too much, but you can't say he's not a realistic teenager!ReplyDelete
I wholeheartedly agree on the details - this world is so well thought through, so many little wonders. I am getting a bit scared of the emo Harry now but no doubt it will be an interesting experience :)Delete