Love for Harry Potter

I’ve made no secret that I think J. K. Rowling is the most important writer of our generation.

Notice I didn’t say best. I said most important. As in, she’s made reading a viable industry again. She has breathed a love of reading into this generation’s children and young adults by combining good storytelling with big screen captivation. She’s creating movies in each book, with larger than life characters and recognizable situations. And she’s crossing over from children’s book author to adult author – all with the same book.

She’s the first billionaire author. Ever. And she didn’t do it with self-help books or blistering exposes, fashionable memoirs or wide-reaching adult fiction. She did it with children’s books. Kids books. The Chronicles of Narnia, updated and modernized.

These aren’t simple children’s books. These are thick, bulky novels that are appreciated by millions worldwide. They aren’t just for young people – they’re universally adored by adults, by literature fans and non-readers, by critics and casuals. The Harry Potter books aren’t simply a literature series. They’re a phenomenon.

It’s been discussed ad nauseum over the past month, saturating every media outlet with stories of wizardry; of monumental sales and record-shattering numbers; of movie tie-ins, predictions and extremists.

It ends tonight. At 12:01, the seventh book will be released. Sure, the movies will continue to be released. The

It’s amazing to see a book release get this much attention. We see it with music, and we see it with movies. We know the exact date of sports drafts and we memorize the birthdates of movie stars. And now we’re seeing a book release date elevated to the level of national holiday. A book! Those are all readers out there!

I enjoy the books, but I’m not going to go crazy by rushing out to the store at midnight just to secure a book that I can easily get the next morning. I’m not going to camp out, I’m not going to name my child Ronald or Harry or Voldemort – no, not even Hermione Quiddich – and I’m not going to cry or show outrage at whatever ending Rowling has cooked up.

With that being said, I will be excited. I will look forward to every page, to becoming a child again and pouring through a book as if it was nourishment to a starving body. And once I’m finished, there’s a good chance I’ll lament, just a little, the completion of one of the best literature series in the history of literature.

The public has this right. These are great books and they deserve to be celebrated. Certain folks in the literary world are wont to turn their nose up at the books – too pedestrian, too popular. Some people will shun the book’s popularity, figuring that anything this big can’t be worth the hype.

But for the most part, everyone agrees. Sure, it’s not Dostoyevsky or Dickens. It’s not fraught with deep themes or riddled with symbolism.

Unfortunately, many will never be considered these books as serious novels. They can’t – it’s aimed at children and young adults, and those books are best left in our past, where we can’t see them upon becoming adults. We’re conditioned to shun our early favorites because, well, we simply become too old for them, only raising them above the peripheral long enough to admire them as nostalgic bric-a-brac.

Often, there’s a habit of forgetting children’s books. Once we’ve moved past the books of our past, it’s as if we are forbidden from looking back. Regardless of how good they were. Regardless of how much they meant to your life. It’s just not cool.

Let’s stop doing that. Let’s embrace the books we loved as children. Let’s place them on the same pedestal. Let’s celebrate Harry Potter just like we’d celebrate the “adult” books we read today. And let’s bask in the glory that is the Harry Potter phenomenon. Enjoy it – we may never see anything like this again.

This was lovingly handwritten on July 20th, 2007