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Random Thoughts: A Summer at Hogwarts

Even with my glamorous life – ha! – there’s usually there’s a stack of books waiting for me to find out if I need another trip to CVS to look for stronger reading glasses. But this summer for a bunch of reasons – my brother Brian’s passing, Covid anxiety, social isolation – I’m learning this 66.5-year old brain can only take in so much new information right now.

Looking through the titles on the beautiful bookshelves our friend Christopher Murphy (brother of one of our first interview victims Dr. Ann Murphy) built for us, I saw the Harry Potter books lined up in a row, and thought, “maybe magic can help me get through this summer.”

The books are brilliantly written and fun to read. As Harry grows up and the story becomes increasingly complex, J.K. Rowling finds ways to incorporate themes that reach readers at their level of understanding and life experience: Good can, and often does, triumph over evil. Your life will have moments of joy and sorrow. We can be guided by those we love even after they’re gone. Friendship and loyalty among the good and kind are superpowers. It’s important to have a laugh. But the books are so well-written and easy to read you don’t have to think too much about what J.K is saying beyond what’s on the page. You can just enjoy the story.

The movies are pretty true to the books, but the books give you a lot more story and magic. And when you cry at the sad parts you can put in a bookmark or put down your tablet and go grab a tissue, instead of having to rewind to see and hear what you missed while you were wiping your eyes.

Visiting Hogwarts this summer is exactly what my heart needs. What Professor Dumbledore said so long ago is still true: Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.

Have you read any or all the Harry Potter books? If so, what did you think of them? Who is your favorite character? (For me it’s a tie between Professor Dumbledore and Hagrid.) Let us know!

If you haven’t read the books you can find them on Amazon.com, www.powells.com, or www.abebooks.com. Or your local bookstore – if you’re still lucky to have one! – will order them for you. Or, you can listen to the books; if you do, a friend recommends Jim Dale’s narration.

XO Brenda

You can purchase Harry Potter books through our Amazon Affiliate Program and help support this blog:

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3 years ago

Good call. I was overwhelmed by anxiety, so i picked up my knitting needles and re-watched all eight movies. I think I enjoyed them more the second time around, though being raw from Pandemic stress I cried a lot more. I have bested my anxiety – without pills – and have a fabulous new sweater to show for it.

Kathy Whelan
3 years ago

Brenda, I hadn’t read beyond the first Harry Potter book prior to COVID, when my Connecticut grandkids (ages 6 and 9) got hooked on them. Those books truly saved those kids (and their parents) from going crazy. I bought the full set and tried to keep up with the Connecticut readers, but they outpaced me and I couldn’t compete. You are so right that the messages are universal truths that are revealed, rather than told, in the stories. Thanks for sharing!

3 years ago

Brenda, for those who don’t have the patience to read, I recommend listening to the unabridged Harry Potter audio books. You can download them for free from your library. They are narrated by the remarkable Jim Dale who created 200 voices for the different characters. It took him 8 years to record all 7 books. He is remarkable and the audiobooks on are captivating.

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