‘Harry Potter’ books renew love of reading

By Josh Albrecht

Two weeks ago I purchased the book “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” for the sole reason that I wanted to read the book before I watched the movie.

Of course, I was about only three years behind everyone else by this time, but I had finally broken down and become a Harry Potter wannabe. And so, I went from being in a bizarre state of nonconformity, in which I refused to read the book on the basis that everyone loved it, to a state of conformity bliss and loving Harry Potter.

My adventure with Harry and his pals (I think Ron is the coolest) took up but a week of my life; although, if time had permitted, I would have read it straight through. During that week — luckily there were only two days of class — my mind was filled with owls, potions and all sorts of wizardry stuff. And I finally understood what the whole circus surrounding Harry Potter was about.

This book is awesome.

The story, although resembling many other stories that I have read or seen unfold on the silver screen, captures your imagination and sucks you into a new world. But, most importantly, the book makes you want to read. Yes, despite falling into a world of bad puns, I will say that it is as if J.K. Rowling herself has put some sort of magic spell on the book.

That magic spell, though, is nothing more than a beautifully crafted book that uses archetypal characters perfectly. I still am waiting for Voldemort to turn out to be Harry’s father. Of course, I have read only the first book, so please don’t ruin it for me if he is. I mean, imagine watching “The Empire Strikes Back” if you already know what Vader says to Luke in the end.

That would be no fun.

So now, I am left with a new thirst for reading. After four years of being an English major, an enchanting children’s book about wizards is just what the doctor ordered. And as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” stares up at me from my desk, I must fight temptation and continue working on my many papers that are due.

And that is the beauty of this book. Children and adults have been bitten by the reading bug thanks to it — magazines and newspapers galore tout its ability to make people want to read.

But it is not just wanting to read that it makes you want to do it — it makes you want to be a kid.

Consumed with the thrill that is Potter, I found myself scoping out the toys one day in Wal-Mart. Here (along with any other toy aisle in the country) one can find virtually everything having to do with Harry Potter.

Quickly, I eyed the toy wand that allows you to do battle against other magicians and the like. I picked up the wand, pressed the “on” button and the battle was on. Two decisive victories later, I put the wand back on the shelf in a state of triumph and proceeded to the electronics department where I ogled over the home theater systems.

With my victories behind me, the book read and the movie watched, I too wished that I could be a wizard like Harry. So I decided to start searching on how to become a wizard where any muggle would start — the Internet.

A brief search through the Google search engine prompted 1,540,000 sites to be listed (my screen showed only the first 10).

It was at this point that I realized the world of Harry Potter was enormous, and I couldn’t believe that I had somehow steered clear of it all for so long.

Now, though, I was engulfed by Mr. Potter and I clicked on the first link, www.harrypotter.warnerbros.com. It was there that I learned it is rather easy to become a member of Hogwarts and to become a wizard.

After a brief list of questions by the Sorting Hat, I was deemed a member of Gryffindor, just like Harry.

Thank God it wasn’t Slytherin.

And so, during this time of year, and especially this year, it is important for us to kick back and become a kid again. For many of us, being a kid doesn’t seem like too long ago, but when finals start to pour on and your job takes over your life, it is nice to have something to escape to. And Harry Potter is just that.

Trust me, the book will make you happy, and you will enjoy reading it again.

And if you can’t find the perfect present for someone this season, get them Harry Potter goodies, or a new car if you can afford it. Because who wouldn’t want to be a kid again or own a new car?