The Harry Potter Generation

Announcement of the week: So I heard that you wanted to sign up to perform your Harry Potter fan fiction at our open mic, right? Well, without further ado, the sign-up sheet in all its glorious majesty! Sign up now for a chance to be chosen! Now, on to the blog post. This week's is from Bookseller Rebecca.

When you get to be my age, you get to understand one simple truth: Harry Potter is inescapable. If you stand against it, the only question becomes how much you're willing to flail around cursing the heavens before you accept defeat. Luckily this isn't a problem for me. Because, like the rest of the world should be, I'm a fan. When you're in the HP generation, you kind of have to be, right?

I can still remember the first time I ever heard about Harry Potter. I was in fourth grade. My friend Evan was reading the first book at her seat. (Chamber of Secrets had just been released that summer.) She described it as "a boy discovers he's a wizard." I thought it sounded meh, and I wasn't into the cover. (Let's not laugh at past-me right now, okay?) I didn't read the book. I was busy with other books. Whatever. (Seriously, stop laughing.)

Fast forward to the following summer. My family was taking a road trip from California to New Mexico to visit relatives. I had run out of books to read. (I was perpetually out of books to read, a problem that is only nearly matched by having too MANY books to read.) My siblings were cranky (I was probably cranky) and my parents needed something to shut us up with. Enter Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, which they bought from I don't know where. Maybe a Target.

You can already see where this is going. Having been deprived of all my other reading material I had NO CHOICE but to pull myself together and dive into the world of Harry Potter. My brother and I passed the first two books back and forth over hundreds of miles driven. (There's a very adorable picture of us doing exactly this - sadly, it is not digitized.) By the time we reached our destination we had each read both books three or four times and were clamoring for the third. And that was kind of it. We were doomed.

Over the next nine years we eagerly awaited the release of each new book. We blasted through each the night of its release, reading the series from start to finish each time. The last book came out the summer I was seventeen, making Harry and me briefly the same age. My college roommate and I first bonded over her HP Facebook pictures, taken just a few weeks before we moved into our dorm room together. When we were first getting to know each other, my now-husband blurted "I LOVE Harry Potter!" when we were talking books, which I took as a very good sign.

Here's a confession: I've never been to a midnight release party. I've never written or read HP fan fiction (though I absolutely respect it). I've spent only a cursory amount of time on Pottermore. But all the same, Harry Potter has touched my reading and writing and IRL world in large and amazing ways. It's a pleasure to sell each copy to a new young reader, knowing that we're raising new Harry Potter generations, and it's a thrill to finally (finally!) get to attend a midnight release.