It’s a delicious sense to dip back into a beloved book — not as wonderful as the first time you crack it open and read the story brand new, but delicious in its own right. You have some sense of what’s going to happen, but you may not remember all the details, and you may be surprised anew. This is why I am rereading the Harry Potter series for the fifth (sixth?) time, in advance of the sixth movie coming out in July (see trailer here). It’s no secret or surprise that I identify with Hermione Granger (nerdy girl alert!), but the richness of the HP world is what really keeps me coming back. Clearly I’m not alone, given the millions of books sold worldwide.
I remember when the seventh book came out. I was living in England at the time, so I purchased it from Amazon UK, where I had the option of the children’s cover or the adult’s cover. Evidently grownups in Britain don’t like to be caught reading a kid’s book, and absolutely the children’s cover design is more cartoonish than the American version. I flew to Prague two days after it came out, with my friend Flora, each of us with our brick-sized books in tow. We weren’t the only ones — all over Stansted Airport, and even in Prague, we saw people carrying the book and reading it. I suppose if there’s such a thing as being part of a zeitgeist, that was it.
I’ve reread the more recent books more frequently in recent years, trying to piece together the layered clues and details from the early books. So now, starting from Book 1, I’m feeling like the books are relatively new to me (although I’m tainted by the more vivid memories of watching the movies). It is amazing the way that J.K. Rowling sprinkled hints and clues early on, so the reader feels like a clever detective for putting them all together. Such clues (like mentioning a secret room in the Malfoy house in Book 2, which becomes a set piece in Book 7) are part of what makes it worthwhile to reread the books. Also, the plots are so speedily paced that you race through and thirst for more!
I felt a little bit this way with my friend Sarah Prineas’s book (recently reviewed) — after I finished her second Magic Thief book, I was totally ready for book 3! I think it’s a mark of a great protagonist, a great writer, and an exciting, epic story.
Have you read/reread Harry Potter? What do you reread?