One of the current topics on the Child-Lit listserv, where I usually lurk, is a discussion "Harry Potter -- Hype or Word Of Mouth," which got me thinking about when I first read HP and its impact on me, personally and professionally.
I was a lawyer and while not happy with the career, not yet ready to leave the profession. A friend gave me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, saying I needed a little magic in my life.
She had heard of the book from her nephews; and I was aware of the HP books, but it was not yet the intense media hype that now accompanies all things HP. Since 3 of the books were out already, and I was still practicing, this was somewhere between the end of 1999 and the start of 2000, to the best of my recollection.
At the time, I wasn't reading much children's or YA books; and I hadn't read fantasy since early college.
HP&tSS blew me away. I loved everything about it: the world, the humor, the adventure, the characters. I quickly read the others and have been a fan ever since. What else did reading HP do for me? It brought me back to fantasy; showed me that fantasy could be good. And it brought me back to reading children's books and YA books.
I left law and went to library school believing I would become a law librarian. (And I'd be making more money if I had stayed with that path.) But because of HP, I "indulged" myself while at school and took courses in Children's Lit and YA Lit. And because of that, decided to become a children's librarian. I wonder where my next midlife crisis will take me?
So for the HP readers out there: what impact did reading HP have on you?