Celebrate Harry Potter

This weekend we are celebrating the Harry Potter books by hosting a Harry Potter Party from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sweetwater County Library in Green River. Fans of all ages are invited to dress up as their favorite Harry Potter character and come enjoy crafts, snacks, games, activities and more.

When the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, hit bookshelves in the U.S. in 1998 I wasn’t a fan. Many people were not, including several publishers who rejected J.K. Rowling’s manuscript. Some publishers thought the book was too long for a children’s book with 50,000 more words than the typical children’s book. Others were concerned because in the late 1990’s fantasy literature was not selling well. It was possible Harry Potter would go unnoticed.

Rowling’s manuscript eventually found its way into the hands of Alice Newton, the 8-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury Publishing chairman Nigel Newton. Alice read the first chapter and demanded more. Sensing some potential, Bloomsbury Publishing printed an initial run of books and the rest is history. Harry Potter has gone on to delight readers of all ages becoming one of the best-selling book series of all time. The movies have been equally as popular, and now there is even a theme park.

The first Harry Potter book I read was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth novel in the series. I read the book after I watched the movie.

I enjoyed the book much more than I expected. In fact, of all seven of the Harry Potter books, this one remains my favorite because the story is different. Harry is at school like he is in the first three books but the events of the Triwizard Tournament and Harry’s unexpected entry into the tournament are the primary focus not the threat of Voldemort.

After reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I read the first three books in the series and then waited with excitement for the next three to be published.

By the time the final book in the series was released, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I was such a fan that I attended a midnight release party at the local bookstore to purchase the book and then went home and read all 759 pages in one sitting.

How did I go from not being interested in Harry Potter to finally reading the books? Was it the movie? Maybe. At the library we certainly see this happen. A movie based on a book will be released and then more people will want to read the book. This happened with The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and the Lord of the Rings series by J.R. Tolkien. Currently it is James Dashner’s post –apocalyptic science fiction Maze Runner series that is popular, thanks to an equally popular movie that was just released.

Given how much we love our movies based on books, allow me to suggest three books that were made into movies this year that you won’t want miss reading: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, dysfunctional siblings who aren’t used to observing their Jewish faith are forced to fulfill their father’s final wish and sit shivah together for an entire week and confront their problems; Here Be Monsters (The Boxtrolls) by Alan Snow, strange quirky creatures like boxtrolls that work with Arthur to stop an evil plot; and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a wife who suddenly goes missing as told from both the husband and wife’s perspective.

So stop by the library Saturday while you are downtown participating in Trunk or Treat and celebrate the world of Harry Potter with us. Later that evening head over to the Outlaw Inn in Rock Springs for an adults only “Come as You Aren’t” Halloween Costume Party sponsored by the Sweetwater County Library Foundation.

Tickets for the costume party are $25 and available for purchase at the libraries. You must be at least 21 years old to attend. All proceeds benefit the library system and help support events like the Harry Potter Party. And when all the fun is done, enjoy a good book that was made into a movie because as it has been said, “The book is almost always better than the movie.”


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