My love for books truly began when I learned to read. One of my neighbors always used to tells that soon after I learned to read, I was probably around 4 or 5 at the time, I ran straight over to his porch and read him a book. Whenever I used to see him, he would always bring that up, and while I don’t remember the initial memory, I love the story.
I remember attempting to read a falling apart and fading green book about sugar plum fairies which once belonged to my mother. I remember accidentally taking a book from my doctor’s office and thought I was going to be in tremendous trouble. I remember scouring book order forms trying to decide the perfect book to read next.
One of my most vivid book related memories, however, has always been the first time I ever picked up a Harry Potter book. While I can’t remember my exact age, I was probably in 2nd grade when I got my hands on a copy of Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire. I remember sitting on the couch with what seemed like the biggest book ever on my lap and began reading the first chapter. I was a little confused about the characters, but I asked my older sister of I had to read the books in order. She told me that it didn’t really matter, but it still didn’t feel right to start on book four. Later that week, I started the series from the beginning, and Harry Potter went from a fictional world to a very real place in my heart.
One of the reasons the series was so important to me was because for the first time I found something I could relate to. No matter how many friends I had, I was still a bit of a nerd: book-loving, smart, and a goody two shoes. Through Hermione, JK Rowling taught me that those are great qualities to have. With Hermione in my mind, I never once felt like I had to be anything but myself.
The series also meant so much to me because of the connection it brought my sister and I. With a six and a half year age gap, it’s not always easy to find common ground, but we found a large part of ours in Harry Potter. At first, I was just lucky that she let little kid me borrow her copies of the first four books. The last three books we each got our own copies of because we had to read them the day they came out. We couldn’t be bothered with waiting for the other one to finish. We saw all the movies together in theaters (at midnight starting with the fourth one) even if we were living in different states.
Watching the series end three year ago was hard to bear because it felt like I was being forced to grow up, but I know that those seven books will stay in my heart for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to pass them down to my future children in the hopes that they too find solace and joy in them.
While there’s no more Harry Potter besides the new short story update (at least right now), I’ve found myself back into my bookworm ways that I haven’t indulged in years. I’ve read 31 books so far this summer, and I remember why I love to read in the first place. I feel as if I’ve gone on incredible adventures to distant lands and places much closer to home, when in reality, I haven’t left the sleepy town of Franklin in two months. I crave the excitement of starting a new book and learning about a diverse array of characters. I feel as though a piece of myself that was lost before has been found again.