Earlier this year, I participated in a Harry Potter (re)read-a-long. I believe it's still going, actually, but I didn't do much with it other than reread the series beginning to end, something I had never actually done before. The closest I had gotten up until this point was before Deathly Hallows came out, at which point I decided it would be a good idea to reread Half Blood Prince. However, I was a little over-enthusiastic and started HBP three weeks before DH was due out, so of course I finished in two days and was left wondering what to do. Naturally, I decided to read Order of the Phoenix...but then that only took me a few days as well. Eventually, I ended up reading all six previous books in reverse order, and then jumped straight into the seventh after finishing Sorcerer's Stone. It was a weird experience.
That fall, I went off to college, of course toting my entire Harry Potter collection with me. As it turns out, this was not the most efficient use of space, as I don't remember picking up any of the books at all that year except for Deathly Hallows. So from then on, that was the only HP book I brought to school with me.
So, now here we are in September and I discover this Harry Potter readalong is happening, and I decide that I have to join. I hadn't read any of them recently enough to have reviewed them on my blog, so I figured it'd be the perfect chance to do just that. Boy, was I wrong.
I blew through them so fast I barely had time to eat, much less review each one as I finished.
Having the next installment immediately at my disposal as soon as I finished was not the best for my productivity outside this project, but boy was it nice while I was reading! I'd say it probably took me only about three weeks to read the entire series again all the way through. For those who have never done this, I would recommend it for a few reasons:
1. You get to watch J.K. Rowling's voice progress from uncertain first time author to the badass we begin to see in Goblet of Fire. It's so interesting to see and wasn't something I really noticed when I was reading them for the first time (partially because I was too young, but also because they came out so far apart from each other). I did notice it a bit when I read them backwards, but obviously it was cooler to see the progression moving forward rather than backward.
2. You don't have to think back too hard to remember what happened in the last book. I remember whenever a new Harry Potter came out, I was always confused for the first chapter or so until I fully remembered the end of the previous book. When you read them all in a row, that doesn't happen and it's awesome! It was a lot easier to pick up on some nuanced things that I might not have noticed, too.
3. You get to see the series as one story rather than a set of stories. This sort of piggybacks on number 2, but I think it deserves its own point because it's important to me separately from my bad memory. The titles of the books sort of lend themselves to the belief that the stories are all separate, except for the fact that they all involve Harry Potter. As we all know, that's obviously not true, but it's a lot easier to see the forest rather than the trees when you put the whole series together and read it as one story.
Has anyone else had this experience? Did you do the readalong or did you just do it on your own?