books & reading, library & information science

My Harry Potter shame

Confessions of a future librarian: I have not read the Harry Potter series.

3Most of my adult life, it’s been a glaring gap in my cultural knowledge, but something I’ve mostly been able to successfully socially navigate. That is, until I began a Master of Library and Information Science program last year. Because there is no faking it with these people. I haven’t taken a course yet where J. K. Rowling’s profound influence on childhood literacy or references to these books or their derivative works has not come up. The further I went in the program, the deeper the shame gnawed at me. I’m like a paramedic that never learned CPR. Eventually I confessed to a good friend who knew just what to do: she bought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for Christmas and helped me formulate a plan: one book per semester, adjunct to my formal library science studies. I should finish the series well in time for graduation, preventing untold numbers of future patrons from exposure to a librarian without this essential knowledge.

I did actually read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone not long after it was published in 1997, and really enjoyed it. And I read The Chamber of Secrets the following year, but really did not enjoy it. I’m pure pragmatism when it comes to reading for pleasure – life is too short and time is too precious to read books I’m not interested in – so when the third book came out, I didn’t bother with it. But more books kept coming, and everyone loved them. Then the movies. And the prequels. And some other stuff, I think. The Harry Potter world had kept on spinning, but I had stepped off. I always meant to go back and catch up. I just never did.

So I reread The Sorcerer’s Stone in January and loved it all over again, as expected. This time around, I am prepared for disappointment in the second book, assured that I will be rewarded for my perseverance by continuing on. Thank you, friends, for seeing me through this dark time.

One of the few things I miss about Facebook is hearing about the books my friends are reading, and being able to share updates about books I’ve enjoyed or want other people to know about. So I’ve slowly started using my Goodreads account, and now that I’ve populated my profile with some books, it’s starting to generate some suggestions. But I still like personal recommendations best, so please feel free to share with me anything you’ve read lately that you think I should check out!

Here’s what I read in January and February ~

Non-fiction

Becoming, Michelle Obama (2018)

Dare to Lead, Brené Brown (2018)

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, Nicholas Carr (2011)

The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties & Fate, Tad Brennan (2007)

Fiction: Adult

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)

Meddling Kids, Edgar Cantero (2017)

White Houses, Amy Bloom (2018)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne (1869)

Fiction: Children and Young Adult

Ghosts, Raina Telgemeier (2016)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (1997)

1 thought on “My Harry Potter shame”

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