That October I devoured the entire Harry Potter series


October is my favorite month. I like the windy days, the pumpkin treats and the slightly nauseated feeling you get when you eat all the Halloween candy you bought days before the trick-or-treaters even arrive at your doorstep.

As I flipped my calendar, my mind flashed back to many of the Octobers of my past. While most of the memories were pleasant, there were a couple that I’d like to forget. Like when I was a sophomore at Patterson High and suddenly vomited all over my typewriter in Mr. Pate’s first-period keyboarding class. Luckily, the sound was covered by the clattering of 35 typewriters that never managed to type in unison – despite Mr. Pate’s best efforts. Not only was it totally embarrassing, but I ended up being too sick to attend football homecoming that week – major bummer.

Thankfully, most of my Octobers have been much better than that one. Especially the one back in 2007, when I spent the entire month reading the Harry Potter series from beginning to end.

The seven-book series by J.K. Rowling was published over the course of ten years – beginning in 1997. As each book was released, readers of all ages impatiently pre-ordered their copies online or waited in line at bookstores. It was a publishing juggernaut. The book world hadn’t seen these kinds of bestselling numbers since King James decided to jazz up the Bible in 1611.

I’m a certified bookworm. In elementary school, I was the kid that always won the Reading Award. I don’t mean just sometimes. … I mean all the time. No one could approach my fearsome reading skills. I was a book ninja, a literary Bruce Lee – only not so flexible.

But faced with a phenomenon like Harry Potter, I knew I couldn’t patiently wait for each book. It was an excruciating prospect. Thus, I made a decision. I would wait to begin reading the books until all seven had been published – even if I had to wait years to do it.

In October of 2007, I took the plunge. And it was glorious. For that month, when I wasn’t sleeping or showering, I was reading Harry Potter. I lived it, breathed it – and when I grew sleepy at night, I cursed my eyelids for refusing to stay open. Did Harry fall asleep during his quest to bring down Voldemort? No, he didn’t. But unlike Harry and the rest of the Order of the Phoenix, I’m a damn Muggle. And Muggles need sleep. Blast it, anyway.

When I finished reading the last book, I cried. I’m not sure whether it was out of joy, sadness, or grief for the fact that I would never again be able to read Harry Potter for the first time. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

If only all Octobers could be so great.

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