Week 7: What Is My Favorite Book?

Now that’s a stumper! I can no easier pick a “favorite” book than tell you which hair on my head is “the best.” In some ways, it’s a question of which book is my favorite at the moment. It can vary based on what I’ve read recently, what my recent life experiences were, or what my mood is right then.

But if I really had to narrow it down (which I’m sort of forcing myself into), I would have to go with the Harry Potter series.

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I dare say this isn’t exactly a surprise to most of my readers. As many of you know, I already have 2 Harry Potter tattoos and am in the process of designing a third one. I’ve been a member of the Harry Potter Alliance for about 6 years now (and was a staff member for about a year of that time). I created the Harry Potter Club at Chico State (and am excited to say it’s still going strong years later). Heck, I’ve traveled all over the US and even Europe to attend Harry Potter events and meet others from the fandom.

Yet this doesn’t tell you why this book series is my proclaimed favorite. That’s a much deeper discussion that also explains why I’ve done so much to “prove” my devotion to this amazing book series.

I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was 12 years old, not long after Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban came out. As the rest of the books were released, I got more and more involved in them. It started in high school when a couple friends and I found online journal-based RPGs set in the Trio’s 6th year at Hogwarts (shortly following the release of Order of the Phoenix). By my first semester in college, I had created and was running an RPG of this sort of my own.

hp-hatp

I loved exploring the characters in greater depth and providing backstories for characters that were never more than a name in the series. I was also beginning to get more involved in the Wizard Rock world at this point, tracking down more bands and memorizing the music. It was another fun, creative outlet for fleshing out the stories of these characters I so identified with.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2008 that I understood what an impact this book series had on my life and way of thinking. I was in Potosi, MO attending the 2nd Wrockstock. At one point, my (now) friend Andrew Slack took the mic and talked for a while about the Harry Potter Alliance. That’s when it clicked.

hpaSource

Without even realizing it, I had learned about activism and civic engagement simply by reading about Hermione’s crusade for fair treatment of House Elves. I had learned the values of love and sacrifice from James and Lily Potters’ sacrifices. I had learned the importance of doing what’s right, even when it isn’t easy, from Harry’s willingness to give himself up to save everyone else. I had witnessed bullying and racial profiling in the way people treated Hagrid when his giant blood was revealed.

I didn’t know it until that moment, but my understanding of right and wrong had been defined by the experiences of the characters in this book series.

It’s the series that inspired me to travel and step outside my comfort zone to meet new people (including some of the closest friends I will ever experience in my lifetime). It’s the book series that taught me to stand up for myself and for my beliefs. More than anything else, it’s the book series that made me what I am – and I love it!

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Comments

  1. Amazing how a series can change lives

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