Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'll Forever Be Grateful For...

As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of everything to do with books. While wandering around some of my favorite blogs, I noticed there was this awesome giveaway being held by the ever-amazing Beth Revis. She wanted us to give thanks to the book we are most grateful for and, in return, we could win a sweet pack of books! Amazing, right?!

Yeah, I thought so too... until I had to think of that ONE book I'm most grateful for. One book? Oh man. Tough! It seemed near impossible to narrow it down to just one! GAH! Then my Mum reminded me of the one book that helped reignite my love of reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling. That's right, Harry Potter will forever be a book I will love, cherish, and be grateful for.

So why is Harry Potter such a cherished series for me? I was a "reluctant reader" in school. Growing up, I devoured books like they were as important as oxygen. Even before I knew how to read, I could be found surrounded by books - there's even a picture of me sleeping on a bed covered in my books, hugging one close to me, when I was no more than three years old! I'll have to find that picture... Anyway! Though I loved reading, once I got into school, things changed. Suddenly I was forced to read what my teachers wanted me to read. They made us read out loud in class (which, for a painfully shy child, was torture), write book reports, have assigned reading... I hated that! I wanted to read what I wanted to read, when I wanted to read it! So, what did I do? I stopped reading all the time. Yeah, I was stubborn. As for school reading, I did as little as possible to get what the teacher wanted me to do and that was it. There were a few books that I opened long enough to capture my attention (and heart): Tuck Everlasting, The Outsiders, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Phantom Tollbooth. I mean, I was still a reader at heart, even if I was being dumb.

I had heard of Harry Potter when it first came out. I heard how people were raving about some wizard boy and his friends fighting evil and going to school with other wizards. I heard the controversies too, of course. I just couldn't imagine why this book was such a big deal. At that point, I didn't really pay attention to "the next big thing."

My second year in college, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out. I went up to Phoenix to visit some family friends and we went to a bookstore that was going out of business, so they were having a massive sale. Well what do you know, but they had the first four Harry Potter books on sale as well. I figured getting the first book (hardcover, too!) for a mere $6 wasn't that big of a loss if I didn't like it, so I bought it. We had some downtime for some reason or another, and I decided to pick up the oh-so-famous-and-raved-about Harry Potter... the next day I went back to the bookstore and purchased the other three books. Yeah, I read it that same day. Knowing I had to wait a WHOLE YEAR for the next book to come out, I was crushed! How could I wait that long? What would I do to help fill the void now?? Well, I read another book. And another one... and another... and, you get the picture.

Since that first day I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I haven't stopped reading. I'll have short periods of time where I won't be reading much, but I still have something I'm reading. I will forever be grateful for the Harry Potter series and J. K. Rowling for reigniting my lifelong love of reading.

I'd love to hear what book you are most grateful for, so please leave a comment and let me know!

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