Book Memories #1: Harry Potter

31 Jul

A cheery snapshot of the shops near where I used to live (minus the tape, unless it was a really bad day).

I thought I would write an occasional series about me remembering stuff, probably incorrectly, and hopefully bring you into my world of book buying and looking and on the odd occasion leafing through without buying.

It was a hot Saturday morn in 2003, nothing had happened, on account of it being six o’clock and I was in a quandary, when really I should have been in bed.

Due to excessive news hype, which I used to be gullible enough to fall for, the promise of a new Harry Potter book (The Order of the Phoenix) had enticed me into going and getting it on the first day of release but with the spectre of stores selling out of copies would it be worth the risk to bother getting up?

Due to the shops not being open yet I chose to start one of the later Famous Five books, I forget which one but it had a curious bit where Julian who must be now 16 refers to his mum as ‘mummy’ which was out of character and ruined the book for me, hey I can be sensitive despite my macho exterior.

Being a quick win I knew it would only take a few hours to read and so could finish it quickly if I managed to secure myself a copy of the only item being sold that day in the entire world.  Well the media did make it such, I remember the hype for days before, the threatened spoilers, it was mental and hot.

At 10 o’clock, I set off at a decent pace before regretting wearing the shirt that I had on (it was a dark red), it had looked like a breezy day from inside but no it was a nightmare of heat, the sort usually seen in a straight to DVD volcano disaster movie.  A mile of walking later and making my way into the local shopping centre, the blast of cold air from the air con made me slow down and actually smile!

Like a man enticed into a trap by a belly dancer, I lingered until I snapped out of it with visions of some little kid with no appreciation of books picking up MY copy, yup, the closer I came to my destination, the more I realised I had to get a copy no matter how many bodies I had to climb over to get it.

Of course this being a hot day all of the slothful people of Mansfield came out (and still do) to hamper my progress but I persevered with a some awesome dodging moves a ninja would be proud of before coming to an almost stop when entering the newsagent.  This stop was because I wanted to play it cool, so passing a few half heartedly dressed shop staff, witches hats and such like, I saw my goal and lo and behold just like the millennium Bug, the news had lied, it wasn’t Armageddon.  There were loads of copies around.


A place where I used to walk sometimes and a metaphor, tunnel vision or something.

Sauntering down the main walkway I did the most unconvincing double-take ever and then affecting a face that said ‘what? A new Harry potter book, I had no idea!’, I picked one up and then saw another cover, the ‘adults’ cover as it was termed.  Looking at this with my eyes I saw an annoying, sorry precocious kid walk past exclaiming that he was going to get the ‘kids’ cover as it fitted in with the rest of his collection.

‘Good point’ thinks I but not wanting to be seen as being swayed by a younger person, I counted to 5 then did another double-take at the other cover, my routine didn’t even convince me this time, nevertheless I secured a copy and barreled home to start it.

It now became, somewhat predictably, an annoyance to finish my Famous Five book but that done I watched the news and saw all the kids running into various book stores at midnight to pick up their copies and read them through the dark hours so they could be on the news with the predictable “it’s the best one yet!”.

All that done and it was now time for me to commence reading it, it took me a day and a half to read and my view is….well my next post shall be a review because I’m a tease, I know you love it really.


Posted by on 31/07/2013 in Book Memories


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32 responses to “Book Memories #1: Harry Potter

  1. Alastair

    31/07/2013 at 18:15

    I preferred the Secret Seven to the Famous Five. Well, Hardy Boys to the pair of them … twelve of them … whatever of them. Although in 2003, I was reading Thomas The Tank Engine and Henrietta Hedgehog.

    I have never got around to read the Potter books. Although I am tempted (very loose connection here) to get the Game of Thrones books.

    I look forward to your review of the book though. Do I cheat and look up which book it was, or wait … hmmm .. as I will have to wait at least a week before finding out, I will have to look it up.


    • Ste J

      31/07/2013 at 18:26

      Wow, that was a huge oversight on my part, now remedied…it was The order of the Phoenix, the really big ‘un. I can’t believe with all my memories of the book, I didn’t remember to name it.

      The Secret Seven don’t really stand up to rereading as an adult, for me, although The Famous Five do on account of their wonderful scenery. Thomas the Tank Engine, eh/ Nice to see your reading level has improved since then mwahahaha. I hear a lot of hype of Game of Thrones but I haven’t been in the fantasy zone for years now, apart from if it one of the series I commited to years ago, Pern, Wheel of Time, Discworld, etc.


      • Alastair

        31/07/2013 at 18:33

        Ahh … Order of the Phoenix. My personal favourite is Goblet of Fire. But that’s only because Edward Cullen gets owned by Voldermort. hehe. Seriously though. I have been rewatching Game of Thrones seasons 1 and 2. Every time I see someone walking, I envision the book describing the thoughts going through the head of the character on the screen at the time. On the one I watched last night, one woman was walking through the doors and ending up where she dreamed to be. At one point, she held her hand over a throne before pulling it back, and I could imagine the book saying that it was what she wanted but not like this.

        Thomas was my nightly reading habits to my kids. I would read to them every night and send them off to sleep. Then the next day, my son would get home from school and watch the episode that was read to him. We also had a load of Disney books as well.

        I’ve not heard of Pern or Wheel of Time


        • Ste J

          31/07/2013 at 19:15

          I thought Goblet was slightly under edited, I think I have to go with The prisoner of Azkaban as my favourite of the series but i should stop with all these spoilers for the review, which I haven’t written yet.


  2. tomrobinsonz

    31/07/2013 at 18:55

    Order of the Phoenix was easily the weakest of the series. I think I may know where this is going. Love this style of writing though. More please.


    • Ste J

      31/07/2013 at 19:08

      You guess right, unsurprisingly. Glad you like it yoof, let me know about your forthcoming blog also mate.


  3. Letizia

    31/07/2013 at 23:12

    “Like a man enticed into a trap by a belly dancer” hahaha, great line 🙂


    • Ste J

      01/08/2013 at 17:12

      I’m not sure where that came from, I think I watch to many cheesy films.


  4. Christina ~

    01/08/2013 at 02:09

    Fascinating to experience your trek to acquire said book….felt like I was on the journey with you…such was your attention to detail. Thank you for sharing this and I shall…as ever…remain anticipatious for the next installment! xxxx~


    • Ste J

      01/08/2013 at 17:14

      Not sure what the next instalment shall be but i do have a few ideas…always happy to have you along on my travails, my dear. xxxx


  5. gargoylebruce

    01/08/2013 at 02:26

    Haha, I’m glad I’m not the only person for whom a single out-of-character remark or action can completely shatter suspension of disbelief while reading. That’s an awesome bridge shot too – looks like a screaming face…or maybe that’s just my over active imagination.


    • Ste J

      01/08/2013 at 17:19

      That bridge has no nose, I wonder how he smells….? You see to much with your mad eyes, it amuses me. That one character will just ruin an otherwise fun book. It always worries me that authors don’t see it themselves.


      • gargoylebruce

        02/08/2013 at 02:37

        It’s even more strange that the editors don’t see it – My favourites are historical fiction when a character uses a glaring temporally inaccurate turn of phrase, or when characters are supposed to be a particular nationality and use American English regardless…


        • Ste J

          02/08/2013 at 18:26

          I used to have a game where when I see an inaccuracy, I would make a note to have a whisky when I was next in the pub. My liver did not like the constant abuse so I quit that quick enough, damn these observant eyes.


    • Lyn

      02/08/2013 at 03:54

      No GB, it’s not your over active imagination…or perhaps it is. I was thinking what a great Flash Fiction Photo Prompt that picture of the bridge would be 😀


  6. sakuraandme

    01/08/2013 at 07:38


    I think I’m the only person who hasn’t read or watched any Harry Potter book/ movie!

    My now 21 year old did…all of them. I just had no interest and didn’t watch them with him. Lol

    Does this make me bad? Lol
    Hope your having a great day. Hugs Paula xxx


    • Ste J

      01/08/2013 at 17:46

      Wow, you avoided the mad craze, impressive, lol. It doesn’t make you bad it makes you interesting, some would cart you off to an asylum but I am proud to know you!


      • sakuraandme

        02/08/2013 at 01:14

        Hahaha! Thank you….I think?? Lol
        Have a great day when you wake. 🙂 x


  7. readinpleasure

    01/08/2013 at 19:36

    Give me a famous Five, Secret Seven, Five Find-outers Hardy Boys or a Nancy Drew any day, even at this ripe old age. No Harry Potter for me. No, never 🙂


    • Ste J

      02/08/2013 at 18:31

      I do wonder if Harry Potter will stand the test of time, I suppose it will but only by the sheer amount of people who have lived through the hype machine. None of the Potter books get anywhere near my top 20 favourite children’s books. In fact I’m reading a rather enchanting book at the moment called Bow Island which is so much better…review soon.


  8. RoSy

    02/08/2013 at 01:51

    Oh – this is great! I can’t wait to hear more of your book memory adventures.
    I just visualized you in action through all of this.
    I didn’t read the books – surprise, surprise. I did catch a couple of the movies – because the kids have watched them. I know my oldest (16) once upon a time read the books. His g’ma got them for him. Maybe one day the girls will read them too.


    • Ste J

      02/08/2013 at 18:42

      They are a good journey to go on, books 1 and 3 are the best, 4 is good, and all of the rest I found average but yes a decent read and another plus point is that it isn’t Twilight. I shall get looking for another book that gives me some vivid memories post haste.


  9. Lyn

    02/08/2013 at 04:00

    I think i’d rather read of your adventures in getting to the bookstore, your sojourn there while purchasing the book (any book) than the review of the Potter book I think. I wouldn’t even mind reading that you crawled under the tables in order to reach the front of the line while all the while demanding, “No body move! I’ve lost my contact lens.” and then popping up at the front of the line all smiles to declare, “It’s okay, I’ve found it, it was here all the time, right where I dropped it ten (20, 30) minutes ago 😉


    • Ste J

      02/08/2013 at 18:40

      I could try that next time, while surreptitiously ignoring the glasses I’m wearing, it may just confuse people enough for me to get what I want…you sound like the voice of experience, haha.


  10. Robyn Lee

    02/08/2013 at 06:14

    The anticipation is building~~ 🙂 There is so much momentum here ! I love this:
    “Like a man enticed into a trap by a belly dancer, I lingered until I snapped out of it with visions of some little kid with no appreciation of books picking up MY copy, yup, the closer I came to my destination, the more I realised I had to get a copy no matter how many bodies I had to climb over to get it.” You were so determined — Such a great flashback! Ok ~ will watch for your review -since of course I have not read it – and yes you are a TEASE! 🙂 loveyourway~RL


    • Ste J

      02/08/2013 at 18:38

      I hate coming home empty handed if I set out for something so I would have walked for miles just to get a copy and be satisfied. I am hoping to recall some equally amusing and typically me memories soon. Although what to choose remains a mystery….Big hug. xx


  11. LuAnn

    02/08/2013 at 20:04

    You are such a tease! I so enjoyed feeling like I was along on this journey with you. Can’t wait for the review. 🙂


    • Ste J

      03/08/2013 at 18:20

      I’m glad I could take you along with me, perhaps next time I will write as I go on a jaunt and then it will be even more personal for all of us.


  12. shiningstar85

    09/08/2013 at 21:03

    Me. And sis, who is more in to harry potter got given the 2 first fat books by grandparents, goblet of fire and order of phoenix. But sis already had one. My memory of harry potter is reading it at 4am in my last trip to the seaside -2001. I was I’ll then hence the insomnia. Then my mum nicked the book. That was either the second or third one. But I first heard of it when I must have been 13 or 14- year 9, and we had to stand up in front of the class to talk about the book we were reading. A boy was reading Harry Potter who no one had heard of and people, mostly his friends were laughing at him cos they thought it was a children’s book and too young. Little did they know how popular the series would become and how the author would now be ‘rowling’ in it….


    • Ste J

      11/08/2013 at 08:39

      haha, wonderfully punned there! It is crazy how the books have defined a generations of readers…I wonder what that will mean for literature when they start to write…intriguing thought.


  13. Jill Weatherholt

    10/03/2015 at 23:18

    I loved reading this, Ste J. I must confess, I’ve yet to read any of the Harry Potter books. A coworker called me, “un American.” Ouch!


    • Ste J

      11/03/2015 at 14:50

      Strangely it was with this book that I felt the series went downhill, which is ironic as I probably treasure the memory of going to buy the book more than the reading. They are worth a read and stronger than the films if you have managed to avoid watching those yet. Coworkers are odd creatures…although if the ones I work with read this, they are the exception that proves the rule.

      Liked by 1 person


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