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An end to an era.

Posted Thursday, October 11, 2012, at 4:04 PM

The "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" film was recently released, bringing to an official end an era: My childhood. I remember checking out the first book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the Nevada Middle School library when I was just in sixth grade. I was a rambunctious little tomboy of a girl who could care less about staying indoors and reading. I would've rather been outside playing flag football with my brothers and getting myself into countless mischievous adventures.

My sixth grade English class participated in the A.R. program (Accelerated Reader) by which you were tested on your reading level and then were instructed to check books out of the library that were on your level, signified by a colored sticker dot that they had placed on the spine of all of the books. You would log the pages you read daily into a red folder that your teacher would look over to make sure you were actually reading. I had always hated this. Force me to read, eh? I would read as few pages as possible...really taking my time. This was my form of rebellion -- my way of sticking it to the man.

Even though I had been placed in the most advanced reading level, I could not think of anything that I would want to do less with my time than read. I recall that most of the books on my level were just not exciting or challenging enough. I read the book "Carry on, Mr. Bowditch" by Jean Lee Latham when I was only 10. It was my first novel I ever read and was around 300 pages. I don't know if it was due to the fact that it was written in 1956 and just didn't capture my young mind or interest, but from that point on I thought reading was utterly boring.

I can still perfectly remember the day that I was proven wrong. We had been instructed to check out a book from the library like we had done numerous times in the past. I had sluggishly roamed the shelves of books, glancing here and there at the colorful spines that popped out at me and drew me in, only to realize they were either misleading or on a lower reading level. Feeling defeated, I went up to the librarian's desk and asked if she had any suggestions. She asked me what kind of books interested me and I can vividly remember my response being, "Exciting books!!" She smiled and told me she knew just the book I was looking for. I was led to a book that had been put neatly on display at the front of the library. It was just recently released and the cover immediately captured my adventurous young intrigue. There was a boy on the front, around my age, whizzing through the air on a broom chasing a gold ball that was flying. In the background, what appeared to be a unicorn was running with a castle even further in the distance. This WAS exciting! I checked the book out and couldn't wait to start reading. I even read the book in the hallway walking to and from classes.

The author, J.K. Rowling, took my 11-year-old mind on an adventure of wizards, witches, villains, magic schools, and young friendship. Wow. All of this excitement behind the hardback cover of a book?? Reaching the end, I was thrilled to realize it was only the beginning of a series. I became a proverbial "book nerd" after this point. I eagerly awaited the release of each new book in the series and even started reading other books more. Even as I went into high school, I still waited in anticipation when each new book came out. And the movies? Just too much for me to even handle. They actually took these wonderful books and made them come to life on the big screen -- it was truly something to behold.

I'm 24 now and it's been 12 years since I read my first Harry Potter book. With the recent release of the final movie in the series, most people my age realize that the story has finally ended. This is kind of a bittersweet time for most of us. Although I've been an adult for quite some time now and have moved on to bigger things, it comes as a reminder that our youth is brief but it doesn't have to end with the changing of our age. The imagination that J.K. Rowling brought to life in her books and in the readers will continue to reside and grow in our youthful hearts. I have these books to thank for my love of reading and the joy I get out of writing. They truly helped in a way to mold me into the person I've become.

With each passing generation, there is a new trend -- a new popular fad. The most recent generation of young book-lovers have embraced the "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer. While I'm not a huge fan of the series, I do enjoy and appreciate the fact that this series is a catapult to spark an interest in reading to our youth. How great is it that those who weren't previously interested in the literary world are now finding a love for it?

The "magic" of the Harry Potter books transcend the world of pages and book covers. It created a belief in my generation that anything is possible. That we can defeat and overcome the difficult times in our lives and this is a positive trait to have -- especially in these trying economic times. The drudgery of life may get us down occasionally, but when we remember the vast possibilities we have in this world and that we can achieve anything we put our minds to...well...that truly is a magical thing.


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Good work! I hope your next blog is about Nora Jones!

-- Posted by DangerousDoug on Fri, May 23, 2014, at 11:28 PM


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This simply complex life...
Sarah C. Haney
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