Why "Harry Potter" Is Still My Favorite Book Series

Why "Harry Potter" Is Still My Favorite Book Series

Nine years after the last book, I haven't yet outgrown The Boy Who Lived.

Whenever somebody asks me what my favorite books are, I feel like my answer should be “important” books, like “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Great Gatsby,” or “Ulysses,” especially given that I’m a Literature major and should (theoretically) be familiar with the literary canon. And to be honest, sometimes I lie and name some of these classics, mostly because I feel like it’s what people expect from someone who has proudly labelled themselves a bookworm. But, for almost 13 years now, the true answer has been a little book series about a boy wizard. You may have heard of it—it’s called Harry Potter.

Now, I am well aware that although Harry Potter has great characters, an amazing story, and pretty damn good writing, it doesn’t quite fit in with what many would think of as “Great Literature,” which is why many people are surprised when I tell them that the Harry Potter books are still my favorite books of all time. However, what they’re missing is the difference between “best” and “favorite.” I am well aware that the Harry Potter books are not the “best books of all time”, and have read many books that I would say are, technically speaking, “better” than Harry Potter. But, they’re still my favorite, for several different reasons.

I read the first five Harry Potter books more or less right in a row, and they blew my 7-year old mind. Although I had been reading for several years at that point, I had never before known that books could be like this—I didn’t know that "foreshadowing" or "plot twists" existed, that books could make you laugh out loud or even cry, and least of all that main characters could die. I also never knew that it was possible to identify so completely with a fictional character, but Hermione and I were (and remain to this day) basically the same person. These books were what made me fall in love with reading, and that love has impacted my life to the extent that it played a huge role in my decision to major in Literature and with any luck, have a career in publishing.

To me, loving Harry Potter is practically part of my identity. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that those books helped shape me and my personality growing up. I read my first Harry Potter book at the age of 7. At 11, I won the trivia contest at my local midnight release of the 7th book, at 13, I had one of the best days of my life at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, at 15, I cried as the credits rolled on the last movie, at 18, I eagerly signed up for my college’s “Hogwarts at Hamilton” event, and now, at nearly 20, I immediately pre-ordered the script for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” the very same day it was announced, and later on this year I’m going to be there opening night when "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" hits theaters. So, no matter what it is I actually say when people ask me what my favorite books are, it’s safe to say that the real answer is undoubtedly Harry Potter. Always.
Cover Image Credit: http://jmillwanders.com/

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist This Month

Spring into finals week (and the summer) by "cleaning up" your playlist


Here are some fun, fresh new tracks to check out as you finish out the rest of the school year and help you get out of your "music comfort zone!"

“Patience” by Tame Impala 

Genre: Electronic/Alternative

Tame Impala FINALLY released new music (!!), and this track is absolutely stunning. With frontrunner Kevin Parker staying on brand with the band's psychedelic, seemingly ethereal style, it sounds like a combination of 70s soft rock and waves of modern-day electronica, with Parker's voice drifting in and out in a kind of otherworldly, mellowed-out manner.

“Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend 

Genre: Alternative/Indie Pop

Vampire Weekend is also releasing an album, entitled "Father of the Bride", on May 3rd. From the looks of it, this track relates to the theme of marriage/weddings present in the album's title, and it is a fun, upbeat song that I have been listening to a lot in the morning as I'm getting ready for class! Ezra Koenig's voice is so unique and can cover a broad range, and I highly recommend listening to some of the band's other work as well ("Step" from their 2013 release "Modern Vampires of the City" is one of my all-time favorite songs!).

“Ready to Let Go” by Cage the Elephant 

Genre: Alternative/Alternative Rock

So many great artists are (finally) releasing new albums this year, and Cage the Elephant falls into this category. This track is an absolute banger and doesn't stray much from the band's style in that it includes a lot of loud guitar and dynamic vocals. Like Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant has been around since the early 2000s, and I highly recommend checking out some of their earlier work as well (big fan of their most recent album, actually!)

“Apple Orchard” by Beach House 

Genre: Indie/Electronic

Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time, as I find a kind of an ethereal, beautiful sadness in the dreamy style of instrumentalist Alex Scally and lucid vocals of singer Victoria Legrand. This track is from their 2006 self-titled debut and is probably one of my favorite songs they've ever released. The lyrics are poetic and perfect for the post-finals enjoyment of spring weather, in that they preach relaxation and restfulness, and the song's electronic rhythms echo the essence of spring as well. If you like this song, then I highly recommend checking out the band's other albums as well (Depression Cherry is one of my favorite albums of all time).

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel 

Genre: 60s Pop

No spring playlist is complete without a little Simon & Garfunkel! This song is a classic, its timeless, poetic lyrics capturing the epitome of the coming of spring and all its glory. In fact, I consider the entire album (entitled Sound of Silence) to be perfect for the pleasantness and feelings of renewal/natural revitalization associated with the coming months, so be sure to give it a listen if you haven't heard it before!

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