I am convinced one of the reasons the Harry Potter series was so popular had to do with magic. The stories contained in those books are amazing to kids and adults alike for one simple reason, we all want to believe in the magic. And there is no better way than to imagine magic happening than to escape to a magical land with a hero and his friends and evil figures and wands and a magical game played high in the air on a broom stick but all of it is contained oddly in our own world but we are just too human to not see it all happening. I was in my mid twenties when I read the first HP book and I was hooked. Now I see M Bug’s eyes lighting up as we are reading these books together and he too is hooked.
Reading itself changes the range of our imagination, doesn’t it? I guess that is why I am not much of a fan of reading the real life stories of people or self help books. I want, no, I like to have to my imagination stretched and pulled and even if the story is fantastic I would prefer to be unreal, madeup, dragged from an author's imagination like Dobby kicking and yelling :). Movies do not even do this for me. Books, stories of pure fiction, challenge me and make me see the world differently. There are stories that I recall reading that have stuck with me through the years, they are references points in my life, they remind me of happy quiet moments, and those moments always make me smile. Escape perhaps but magical none the less.
I hope my children always enjoy reading, that reading stories allows them to stretch out and explore the world through books, that stories forever flit through their heads as a reminder of happy moments, that their imagination stretches and pulls and allows them to forever be interested in the world around them. My mother used to rail at my father for his intense love of science fiction books. It always bothered me deeply that she said mean things about his deep love of reading. I could never understand. She thought it was an escape and of course it was but on the other hand why it bothered her so is beyond me. Perhaps she was not intelligent enough to use that escape in the same way that he did or perhaps reading caused her great displeasure to explore beyond the everyday world that she already felt she knew? I just know that I always loved my father’s love of reading because I felt the same way about reading. It was our connection.
After swim practice, I would ride my bike to check out a pile of books from the library down off of Pearl Avenue and that pile seemed so large back then. I used to lie on an old sixties era couch (how ghetto of us!) in our California backyard beneath the trees and read all summer long. I was dappled by shade and sun and the hours would tick past ever so slowly. Sometimes Minette, our old black and white tuxedo wearing cat, would curl around me to sleep. Sometimes I would sleep. Mostly I would read and read for hours on end. Until it was too dark to read any more or I was hungry whichever came first. There was such magic in those days for me. Reading. It was an escape. A quiet pleasure. An opening, a new thought, a dream come true. Magical.