A magical tradition
Courtney Becker | Monday, August 28, 2017
For the past 10 years I’ve had the same summer tradition. Every year, as soon as July rolls around, I pick up “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and make my way steadily through the seven books that still amaze me even after reading them so many times.
It all started in 2007, when I was anxiously awaiting “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final installment in the series. This was the first time I’d had to wait for a book to be released to read it, so I decided to pass the time by re-reading my favorite book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Once I finished that one I, of course, had to move on to the next two, and then just decided to go back to the beginning and also tackle books one through three. Looking back, this probably made me less patient during my wait for the seventh book, but at least all the details of the series were fresh in my mind while I was reading a book with so many callbacks to moments throughout Harry’s adventures.
I didn’t realize then that one summer of reading the entire “Harry Potter” series would lead to 10 summers of doing so. The next year, however, I found myself wanting to revisit the series a year after it had ended, and it grew into a fun thing to do every summer. Even though I’ve read each book over 10 times, I never find myself bored, and in fact still find some new detail in the series to appreciate each year. The circumstances are never the same when I start my annual re-read, whether that’s because the political climate has changed, I’ve met new people who remind me of the characters or simply because I’m a year older with new experiences under my belt. No matter what, the experience always feels fresh and exciting (save the disappointment of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which doesn’t count), and I find myself looking forward to starting my summer re-read each year.
The popularity of this young-adult fantasy series among people of all ages is also a major benefit to re-reading the series every year. I know not everyone has read the “Harry Potter” series and many don’t feel compelled to do so, but generally speaking, love for the series is widespread and relatable. In fact, the series has inspired many Observer columns similar to this one already. I could be embarrassed about spending two to three weeks each summer obsessively re-reading books originally marketed to kids now younger than I am while my sister reads “Moby Dick,” “War and Peace” and a bunch of other equally high-brow-sounding books, but I don’t. Partly because my family appreciates “Harry Potter” just as much as I do, but mostly because those books are just as magical now as they were when I was 10 years old.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.