Sunday, December 18, 2005

How I Found Out About Harry

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?


Anonymous said...

It had no impact on me at all, but I enjoyed reading your story! I'm glad I also left the law to follow my heart.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say it had a huge impact on me, but I was already a huge reader of ya literature, and I probably would have become a librarian anyway. It did (coupled with a persistant friend) turn me on to the world of fanfiction, which has changed my reading habits tremendously.

I did try to resist the hype and not read the books (especially since I wasn't, and am still not, a fantasy reader), but I wanted to see the first movie, and didn't want to see it without reading the book first. I read the first four books before seeing the movie, over the course of a week, in the middle of my sophomore year of college.

But I have seen multiple non-readers pick them up after being harassed by me and a few other obsessed friends (we're obsessed to the point that you would feel left out of the conversation if you hadn't read the books), and start to become readers again, which is really great.

MaryG said...

Hi Liz. So that's how you ended up being a librarian. I'm always interested in hearing about how people left the law, and how people decided to become librarians (and what type of librarian they became) so I enjoyed this post. I first read Harry Potter when my mother-in-law's best friend gave a copy of Sorcerer's Stone to my newborn daughter in 2000. Since my daughter obviously couldn't read it, and I had all kinds of time on my hands as my daughter nursed for hours at a time, I picked it up. And became instantly hooked.