“One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.” - Erich Fromm
“A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Allow me to tell you a story. I'm sorry that it's long, but the details mean a lot to me and I have yet to put them all in one place. This actually works out surprisingly well, though, considering that I have an aunt and a great aunt who started following this blog as a result of my vacation, presumably with the intention of getting to know me better. Assuming I don't scare them off. ;)
When I was five or six, my mom began reading a certain book to me. This was not terribly easy for her, since reading in the evening tends to put her to sleep, but I was the most nagging, perseverant five-or-six year old that it is possible to be and made sure we read at least a little bit every night we could. This book was, undoubtedly, my favorite book of all time. This book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
My mom continued to read the series to me until halfway through Prisoner of Azkaban when I decided we were going much too slow and decided to read it on my own. I still have the notebook in which I recorded the page numbers of the words I didn't know in order to look them up in the dictionary later. For my 7th birthday, I received a Harry Potter bedspread and pillowcase set, the former component of which I still use to this day.
Goblet of Fire was both my first audio book and the first book I stayed up far past my bedtime reading- it's harder to get caught when you don't need the lights on. Note that my first time through, I always assumed it was called the Triwizard Torture. (I read the paper copy for the first half, and I'd never seen the word "tournament" before.)
In second grade, because my school was not allowed to officially endorse the celebration of Halloween, they had "Favorite Book Character Day." Guess who I went as- Nimbus 2000 and all. That day was also the day on which we presented our book reports- in costume- to our class. Mine, rather than being a summary, was an 8-page drama complete with dialogue, voices, and everything else you could possibly want. My classmates were probably somewhat scared (I believe I shouted "KILL HIM!" rather loudly during the encounter with the Mirror of Erised). On the front of the assignment, my teacher wrote "Wow! Great enthusiasm!"
Somewhere during this time period, my mother hid my copies from me because I refused to read anything else. I found them within a day (yet consented to try out other books, since I obviously couldn't let her know I'd found them).
My dad did not go buy Order of the Phoenix for me at the midnight release party. I had to wait until Amazon delivered it later that afternoon. Monowizard Torture. This was the first book of more than two hundred pages that I read in less than 24 hours, stopping only when my mother insisted I eat or sleep. I was nearly 8 and about to enter 3rd grade.
Half Blood Prince was my first midnight release party. I dressed as Hermione, and won the contest in my category. The prize was a stuffed Crookshanks. My picture was in the paper (albeit with the most horrendously embarrassing expression on my face that I'm surprised anyone allowed it to be printed just for my sake). My mom was not in favor of her 9 year old daughter staying up past midnight just to get a book, so I was unhappily driven home at about 11. My dad, dressed as Lucius Malfoy and running one of the games, stayed behind on my behalf. Again, I read it in a day.
I was 11 the year Deathly Hallows was published. My best friend and I were at UNCG's Summer Music Camp. Between our four daily rehearsals and other scheduled activities, we rushed through a re-read of Half Blood Prince as fast as we could, one of us holding up a bunch of pages in the middle because I read faster than she does. By the time we got to Barnes and Noble after the concert and 1-2 hour drive home, all of the games and activities were over. My dad and I sat in the science fiction section and I read the newly-published 3rd Ranger's Apprentice book. As midnight came and went, we decided the line was far too long. We left the bookstore and drove to Kroger (a grocery store chain around here). The only people there were us buying two copies of what might be the most hotly-anticipated book of all time, an old lady buying fruit (at 1 in the morning?) and the cashier.
(Yes, I bought Deathly Hallows at Kroger. Deal with it.) I read chapter 1 on the way home, went to bed, finished it the next day with a ton of crying and sometimes simply staring at the pages in shock. Day 2: I finish Ranger's Apprentice and start Deathly Hallows again. Day 3: I re-finish Deathly Hallows and give it to my sister.