I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read the Harry Potter books. For at least the first four, I’ve read them so much that I lost count around the 20 mark.
And yet here I am, reading the series once again.
Some people will read a book once and never pick it up again, and that’s cool. I don’t personally understand it, at least not with the really special books. If a book really does something to me, really captures my imagination, I want to keep revisiting it over and over. There are very few books that I do re-read, and honestly, I don’t read any of them with the same frequency as the Harry Potter series.
I picked up the first book while I was living in Germany back in 1999. I worked in a little shop on a military base that was usually dead unless there was a sudden cold snap (we sold teapots and wool sweaters and all sorts of Anglophile stuff), so I read a lot behind the counter. I devoured The Sorcerer’s Stone in a day and immediately ran to buy The Chamber of Secrets before my next shift. And thus began my obsessive re-reads and mad dashes to the bookstores to buy the new ones as they came out and my collecting as many editions as I could get my hands on.
A personal confession: I’m doing IVF right now. I can’t get pregnant otherwise, so we’re giving it a go the newfangled-and-rather-uncomfortable way. At the moment, we’re in the dreaded two week wait period between the embryo transfer and the pregnancy test. To say things have been a bit stressful would be an understatement. It’s been a month of injections and crazy hormone levels and both physical and mental discomfort.
Harry Potter is my literary comfort food. If my brain doesn’t want to stop worrying about whether or not I’m pregnant, I can escape into The Prisoner of Azkaban and kick myself out of stress mode for a while. Harry and Hermione and Ron’s adventures are like a warm blanket that I can wrap myself up in. The books make me feel better, no matter how many times I’ve read them.