I wish I could say that I titled this post “The ‘HP Experiment’ Goes South” because I brought the Potter books with me on a wild Cancun vacation. (Obviously, any Cancun trip done with a travel bag full of JK Rowling’s tomes would be crazy. Body shots every time Hermoine lectures Harry & Ron for breaking the rules! Did Draco just make fun of the Weasleys’ poverty? You know what that means! Enter another wet t-shirt contest! And, you could eat all the chimichangas you wanted and still wear a skimpy bikini because you’d be in the best shape of your life simply from picking the bag up & putting it back down again). But unfortunately, that’s not the case.
I’m calling this post “The ‘HP Experiment’ Goes South” because my initial happiness-level over finally liking “Harry Potter” is plummeting. There are two reasons for this.
1) I somehow managed to make reading “Harry Potter” feel like homework.
At first, I was reading the books quickly because I wanted to. But then I posted that they had to be read all in a row. That’s genuinely how I felt in the moment. Then I had to take a break to do some work-related reading. When I came back to the fifth book, I found that the delirious “gimme-gimme-gimme” feeling had faded. Even so, I felt like I had to keep reading them like that. Because I couldn’t go back on what I said. I’m not a waffler. I don’t straddle the fence (a Pooka’s legs aren’t long for them to accomplish such acrobatic feats). If I say something, I should stick to it. Right?
Then, a bunch of adult books that I’d had on reserve at the library all came in at once. “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson. “The House at the End of Hope Street” by Menna Van Praag. “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker. “What the Family Needed” by Steven Amsterdam. I wanted to read them all so badly. But I couldn’t. I had to keep reading “Harry Potter.” I let the books go back into the interlibrary-loan-ether, giving up my place in line. I’m now number fifty-something in the queue of people waiting to read “Life After Life.”
I started to resent the assignment that I’d given myself. I started to resent “Harry Potter.” And that’s not what this experiment is about. It’s not what this blog is about. It’s not what reading should be about.
There’s another reason my elation is waning.
2) I created a faulty metaphor.
I said that I felt for the kids back in the late-nineties who had to wait for the next book in the series to be published before they could devour it. I said I felt guilty taking a break, if even to write a review, when I had them all before me like a veritable feast. I said some mom somewhere should be popping out of the woodwork, tsk-ing her head off, waggling her finger, telling me to finish all of the peas on my plate. But “Harry Potter” is so not peas. Firstly, though “peas” and “Potter” begin with same letter, the “Harry Potter” books are way tastier than peas. But that’s not to undermine peas. Peas have way more nutritional value than the “Harry Potter” books. If you were to eat six scoops of peas, you still wouldn’t get sick (unless you’re one of those weirdos who hates peas).
So what is “Harry Potter” if not peas?
It’s one of those six-scoop ice cream challenges, where if you eat it all in one sitting, you get it for free. Or you get a bumper sticker saying that you climbed to the top of Lactose Mountain, or a T-shirt announcing that you “Defeated the Dairy.” But oh my god, six scoops is a lot of ice cream. And I can’t finish it. I can’t do it. I don’t get a bumper sticker. I don’t get a t-shirt. The dairy defeated me. What I’m trying to say is that after reading four “Harry Potter” books in a row and trying to start the fifth, I need a break.
I need to let myself read the things that I want to read when I want to read them. If I keep reading “Harry Potter” just because I said I would, it’s going to skew the results. I’m not going to be able to enjoy them. I need to have some dinner, not just ice cream (some adult fiction?). I maybe even need a piece of cake (carrot cake, of course) with my ice cream (some YA supernatural romance fluff?). I don’t want to throw myself into a Potter-induced sugar coma. ‘Cause nobody enjoys a sugar coma. And that’s the biggest crime of all, isn’t it? Not enjoying “Harry Potter?”
Please don’t judge me too harshly.
I promise I’ll come back to them. I will finish the experiment! Just maybe not this month….
(Non-Potter-related reviews coming soon!)