Harry Potter was born on July 31, 1997 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
was first published in the UK, and released fourteen months later in the U.S., as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
July 31 also happens to be the birthday of author J.K. Rowling, who first dreamed up the boy wizard while on train to London in 1990. By 2007, Rowling’s idea had blossomed into a seven-book fantasy series about a boy wizard and a magical world where the battle against evil is fought not only with spells and potions and charms, but with friendship and love.
The Harry Potter series is a landmark work of children’s literature that continues to be popular with readers of all ages. It is superb fantasy, a great coming of age story, gripping, fun and filled with richly drawn characters – some endearing, others loathsome. Collectively the series has sold over 450 million copies and has been translated into more than 63 languages. The Potter franchise, which includes books, movies, and merchandise, has earned $6 billion worldwide, and has made J.K. Rowling, who was a single mother on welfare when she received the 2,500 British pound advance for the first book, a billionaire.
Happy birthday to J.K. Rowling and to you, Harry Potter.
The Art of Fielding
by Chad Harbach is contemporary novel, set in a small liberal arts college in the American Midwest, where we meet Henry and Mike, both at Westish on athletic scholarships. Henry is not just a ball player, he is an artist on the field, and is hoping for a career in the Big Leagues. Mike’s knees aren’t healthy enough for professional sports, so his plan is to get into an Ivy League school and study law. Owen, Henry’s roommate, the Headmaster, and the Headmaster’s daughter, Pella, round out the cast of characters. One day, a freak accident on the baseball field sets the plot into motion and the lives of each of the characters lives spin out of control. Meanwhile, a lot of baseball is played. This is superb storytelling – “a must read” and a great selection for a book discussion group.
A group discussion of this book by the Literary Circle will take place in the Library on Monday, August 27, at 7 p.m.