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A Christmas gift to myself: I have started a start-to-finish re-read of the Harry Potter novels.

I wasn't in the first waves of Harry Potter readers; I didn't get to the series until 2001. First, I read the opening three chapters during breaks at a temp job, in — are you surprised? — a book warehouse. A Scholastic Books warehouse, to be exact. This was January 2001, right after I'd moved to Portland. Later that year I borrowed the first four books from my parents, and read them between calls at my call center job. From there, as the fifth, sixth, and seventh books arrived, I borrowed and read those too, following along with many other people.

The only book in the series I ever bought was The Deathly Hallows; I didn't want to wait until my folks were done. I got it opening weekend at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer, which like many stores had a full table of them, and powered through in that weekend. When I reach The Deathly Hallows this time, I will take my time; I want to savor the series more.

Already, just in the opening chapters of this first book — which J.K. Rowling started at a low point in her life — I'm easily reminded why this series is so beloved. Ah, the humor, and the emotion, and the love in these words, at the very start of this journey that so many of us went on with Rowling. I look forward to re-experiencing this.

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