Today is a day of firsts. The first day of a new month. The first day of school. But I want to talk about a bigger first: the first time you read a book or delve into a series.
These are the books that you would give anything to read again for the first time. Sure, you can re-read them and love them, but you’ll never get to relive that first spark.
“First Time” books are different for everyone. They might be books that got you through a hard time or books that you read at your happiest. These are the books that somehow manage to say something that you thought no one else could understand.
Some people love The Little Prince or The Secret Garden. Others find a home in The Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Catcher in the Rye.
I have found a home in a few books but the one that’s left the biggest mark on me (and countless others) is Harry Potter.
I remember getting the first two books as a gift from my parents after they’d been away on business and wondering what the books were and then the shock at the instantaneous feeling of “home”.
When the books started gaining traction, I remember feeling disappointed. Hogwarts was MY world! I wanted to experience it and be special. However, I soon realized that part of the wonder of Rowling’s works was their ability to bring people together.
For the first time I was a part of something bigger. I started listening to podcasts that wondered about the characters’ motives, or the Latinate history of spells. I could walk up to anyone at a midnight release party and have something to talk about.
Sure, there were those who poo-pooed the books or thought that it was all a little cheesy, but for the most part there was a Potterhead in every room. We were our own Dumbledore’s Army ready to stand up against injustice and flaunt our nerdiness.
In a way I think we all got to go to Hogwarts and learn lessons there. We learned the importance of tolerance and friendship. We learned to value the opinions of others, even when they seemed different from ourselves. We learned that those who seemed most steeped in hatred, are the ones most in need of a friend. We learned that the greatest force to defeat evil is love.
So as we all embark on this day of firsts, remember your “first books.” Share some of your favorites below!
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