A Harry Potter Virgin’s Year Long Read-Along

I apologize if this makes you hate me forever, but I haven’t read Harry Potter. As with swimming, skydiving, and movies starring the Wayans Brothers, I’m very much a virgin when it comes to Rowling’s classic series.

Before you start readying your wands, know that this isn’t necessarily my fault. By the time the books became a cultural phenomenon in North America I was already in high school, and when you’re a 17-year-old boy you really don’t want to spend your time telling your classmates how much you love a book about an 11-year-old wizard.

(Yes, you read correctly. I can’t swim. Deal with it.)

By the time the movies hit I’d considered giving the series a go, but by then fandom had reached the point of lunacy and I just couldn’t handle it. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but getting involved with a fan base that seemed actually, clinically insane was kind of terrifying.

84991-004-D2F07667
Seriously. Calm down the fuck down.

Now that the series is over and Deathly Hallows is almost ten years old (can you believe that?), I feel like the waters have cooled enough to wade into the pool that is Potter fandom. And if you’re a Harry Potter virgin like me, I’d love for us to pop our cherries together.

[…cue awkward pause…]

Okay I think I’m done with the “virgin” angle I’ve been taking?

Over the next year I’m going to read the complete 7 -book series and post about the journey along the way. If you want to join me in a read-along of the books, I would love that. However, note that this is a read-along for Potter newbies (or something close to a newbie). If you’ve read the series, you’re more than welcome to come along with us but please avoid any and all spoilers.

I’ve got my complete boxed set ready to go courtesy of the amazing Kazu Kibuishi (of Amulet fame), who redesigned the books for Scholastic a few years ago. They’re without doubt my favourite book covers of all time. They’re honestly like 60% of the reason I even decided to read Potter in the first place.

kibuishi-boxed-set1

Reading Schedule

In terms of how I’m going to spread the books out, the tentative reading schedule will look something like this:

February: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

  • Feb 7—Chapters 1-6
  • Feb 14—Chapters 7-12
  • Feb 21—Chapters 13-17

March: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Mar 6—Chapters 1-6
  • Mar 13—Chapters 7-12
  • Mar 20—Chapters 13-18

April: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Apr 10—Chapters 1-8
  • Apr 17—Chapters 9-16
  • Apr 24—Chapters 17-22

May/June: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • May 15—Chapters 1-7
  • May 22—Chapters 8-13
  • May 29—Chapters 14-19
  • May 5—Chapters 20-25
  • Jun 12—Chapters 26-31
  • Jun 19—Chapters 32-37

July/August: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Jul 10—Chapters 1-7
  • Jul 17—Chapters 8-14
  • Jul 24—Chapters 14-20
  • July 31—Chapters 21-26
  • Aug 8—Chapters 27-33
  • Aug 15—Chapters 34-38

September/October: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Sept 11—Chapters 1-5
  • Sept 18—Chapters 6-10
  • Sept 25—Chapters 11-15
  • Oct 2—Chapters 16-20
  • Oct 9—Chapters 21-25
  • Oct 16—Chapters 26-30

November/December: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

  • Nov 13—Chapters 1-7
  • Nov 20—Chapters 8-13
  • Nov 27—Chapters 14-19
  • Dec 4—Chapters 20-25
  • Dec 11—Chapters 26-31
  • Dec 18—Chapters 32-Epilogue

Holy F@#$ing Shit, Amirite?

I was serious when I called this a Year Long Read-Along. I intend to spread this experience out through the entire year. Breaking the latter books into six chunks a piece might seem a little excessive to some, but I’m a bit inspired by Laura’s decision to read more intently this year. I’d like to apply that kind deep-dive attitude to Potter, if I can.

I’m really, really excited about this. I hope a few Potter newbs out there find this post and decide to read-along with me. If there are bloggers who want to join in, the more the merrier. Or, if you’re already a hardcore Potterhead then I hope my journey will bring you back to those few glorious reads all those years ago.

If you want to read along with me, please let me know in the comments. If you know anyone who might want to join, please forward this along. If you simply have words of encouragement, those are welcome too 🙂

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21 thoughts on “A Harry Potter Virgin’s Year Long Read-Along

  1. Oh man, I hope you enjoy them. I was six when the first two books were given to me as a Christmas present by my aunt and uncle. They gave me nightmares and I adored them beyond all sense or reason. The adoration mellowed as I got older (which is a good thing), and the later books, in my opinion, are uneven–too much shoehorned plot, not enough arch asides and character sketches and world-building, which is what the first four volumes really excel at–but it is such an exciting ride, all the same!

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  2. The only reason I’ve read these books is because I read them all to my son. It took us about 3 years to get through them all, reading a chapter at a time at bedtime. I’m so glad we did it together – otherwise I might not have picked them up myself. I ended up being surprised by how much I liked them. (My daughter has read them all 4 times now – she’s 14.) Have fun!

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  3. I so wish I were a Potter newbie, just so I could justify buying that gorgeous boxed set. I just got all my hardbacks out of the box for Kid#1, so I can’t even pretend I lost my books and need to buy new ones. Have fun reading; I think you’ll enjoy the experience.

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  4. So, uh, if I buy this box set for my kids, that doesn’t count as breaking my TBR challenge, right? 🙂 They are actually showing interest (they got all the movies for Christmas) and I may start reading it to them at some point this year, but not on this schedule. Probably more like Naomi’s where it took three years. I could read ahead of them, but I’ve waited this long, and it’ll be fun to discover it with them.

    I had to go look up when these books came out. The first one was published (US edition) a week before I turned 18. I don’t think it was on my radar at all 🙂

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  5. Good luck actually dragging it out over the year! When I first read them (in high school) I devoured the first three in two days and then had two wait thankfully only two weeks until the fourth came out.

    I won’t share any spoilers, but read carefully! As I’ve re-read them over the years, I’ve noticed how even more interconnected they are than they were before. And saying that I might join you for Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban as I picked them up in Spanish last summer and this might be a slow enough pace for me. Decisions, decisions.

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  6. Whoa, I have feelings.

    First: it might be tough to stick to this schedule if you come to like them, because they’re pretty easy to devour. But I’m also a fan of Laura’s new take-it-slow approach so I wish you luck with it. Absorb the magic.

    Second, that box set is beautiful! We bought a copy for the library here, and the goblins have already destroyed it. I guess it’s to be expected. Have you seen the new illustrated edition of the first book? I got a copy for Christmas and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

    Third, are you in my brain? I read the first paragraph and stuck on the word “swimming,” and just as I was circling back to think “Really? He can’t swim?”, you summed it up for me again. It was a Matrix moment for sure.

    I might dip into these along with you, but I’m sorry to say that I’m far from a virgin! (HP kind) Still, this sounds like a lot of fun, and I wish you luck. 🙂

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  7. I had never seen this new Kibuishi set! So shiny!!
    I think you’ll have a blast with the books. I’m actually quite curious to see how you’ll feel about The Order of the Phoenix. But I won’t tell you why I’m curious. Ha! -Tania

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  8. You are not alone!! Though my beginning with HP is a little different, the end is very similar! I read the first 3 books in the fifth grade. But while waiting for the next books to come out, my attention drifted and I didn’t end up following along. When the Kazu Kibuishi covers came out (love him!), I decided to get the box set from the US and start from the very beginning. I read the first book three years ago in September, only managed to read the second book the following year, and the third last year. I’m currently halfway through the fourth and fully intend on finishing the series this year. Though my timeline may be different from yours, I am definitely going to follow along with your posts! Best of luck :).

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