Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potters) by Rowling, J.K. (1999) Paperback

by J.K... Rowling

Paperback, 1999

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

Scholastic Paperbacks,1999. (1999), Edition: Cover Torn, 243 pages

Description

Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.

Subjects

Awards

Hugo Award (Nominee — Dramatic Presentation — 2002)
Soaring Eagle Book Award (First runner-up — 2000)
Audie Award (Finalist — 2000)
Locus Award (Nominee — First Novel — 1999)
Mythopoeic Awards (Finalist — Children's Literature — 1999)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Winner — 2000)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Children's Fiction — 2000)
Sasquatch Book Award (Nominee — 2000)
NÄ“nÄ“ Award (Nominee — 2000)
British Book Award (Winner — Children's Book — 1998)
Nevada Young Readers' Award (Nominee — 2000)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Teen — 2000)
The Children's Book Award (Winner — Overall — 1997)
Colorado Blue Spruce Award (Winner — 2001)
Blue Hen Book Award (Winner — Middle Readers — 2001)
Blue Peter Book Award (Winner — 2001)
NCSLMA Battle of the Books (Middle School — 2020)
Golden Archer Award (Nominee — 2000)
Charlotte Award (Winner — 2000)
WAYRBA: Western Australia Young Readers Book Award (Winner — Younger Readers — 2000)
3 Apples Book Award (Winner — Children — 2019)
South Carolina Book Awards (Winner — Junior Book Award — 2001)
The Guardian 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read (Science Fiction and Fantasy)
Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 1999)
Children's Favorites Awards (Selection — 1999)

Language

Original publication date

1997-07-26

Physical description

243 p.

User reviews

LibraryThing member BeckyJG
My friend Padric is sophisticated, witty, and urbane, a career bookseller and one of the most well-read people I know. He's equally at home with Oscar Wilde or James Ellroy, Elizabeth George or Jared Diamond. He reads in a wide range of genres and categories, and I defy you to come away from a
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seller-customer experience with him without an armful of books or, at the very least, a long to-be-read list.

And yet, twice a year, right around February and then again in July, one of us will contact the other, by email or by phone, and the message will be: it's time for Harry. What brings us, readers and booksellers both, back to this children's series, twice a year, every year?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first of the seven Harry Potter books. In it, Harry Potter--an orphan, known in one world as "The Boy Who Lived," known in another as "you" or "boy"--is taken out of his classically awful existence and transported to a magical world. Pretty standard stuff, the basic plot, give or take, of story upon story, year after year, of kid lit. But, something sets these books apart, even in this first installment which--let's face it--is not particularly well-written or even that original. And yet...

We enter the world of Harry Potter with a little prologue, in which we learn that there has been a cataclysmic event: someone terrible and evil is gone and the world is celebrating. But a boy has been left orphaned, and the prologue ends with him being left to grow up in what will almost certainly be unpleasant circumstances.

Ten years later we meet the boy, Harry Potter, skinny and undernourished but still plucky and resilient. He's been made to sleep in the (now iconic) cupboard under the stairs, his birthday is never remembered, and Christmas presents usually consist of a pair of his uncle's used socks. But he remembers things sometimes, and even if he doesn't know if they're dreams or real, he knows there's something more.

His hero's journey (and make no mistake about it, over the seven volumes it becomes a classic Campbellian journey) begins when he is plucked from the constrained, antiseptic world of suburbia and taken to be trained up as a wizard at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There, he will face tasks and trials, sometimes alone and sometimes with his friends Ron and Hermione beside him.

J.K. Rowling draws from classic British novels of life in public school, such as Tom Brown's Schooldays, and from classic fairy tales (Cinderella, Jack & the Beanstalk spring immediately to mind), and her own reading or instinctive understanding of Joseph Campbell's monomyth of the hero's journey. What makes the Harry Potter series special is not the world that Rowling creates, although that world is certainly wondrous, but rather, her treatment of her characters. What matters to J.K. Rowling is knowledge, bravery, loyalty, friendship, and--most of all--love.

Oscar Wilde once quipped (and I apologize for my awkward paraphrasing) that one would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of Little Nell. I love Dickens and I love that thought, because there must be something absurd and over the top about any scene capable of such tear-jerking pathos. And this is how I feel about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It's funny and sweet and deeply heartfelt, and if some of the sentiments might seem like well-worn platitudes when taken on their surface, dig a little deeper and the truth is there.

And if you can get past Neville's being awarded 10 points for Gryffindor because, "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends" without both crying and laughing, then you do have a heart of stone.
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LibraryThing member fundevogel
Clearly this book doesn't need another review. However, enjoyable as it is, I was disappointed to realize that the text had indeed been Americanized since I first read it ages ago. It doesn't hurt the story of course, but it seems like a supreme act of over-editing to tailor editions to specific
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dialectical regions. Aside from the Harry Potter series no one ever felt the need to "translate" an English, or Scottish or Australian book for American audiences.

Give us some credit. I've read tons of English language books from other countries, no Americanization necessary or desired.
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LibraryThing member bratlaw
My 10 year old son was not a reader but every Christmas I bought him a book hoping to spark his interest. One year I bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, at the time 2 other books in the series had already been published. He read it in two days, and begged for the next one, we bought him 2
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and 3, he read them before he went back to school after Christmas break. Then he told the rest of the family we had to read them. One day I finally picked it up and was hooked, as was the whole family. These books span all ages, J.K. Rowling actually did something few authors could ever do. People, especially children put down video games, turned off the T.V., and picked up a book. We were the nerds who stood in line at midnight just to get the first copy. We were not alone, hundreds stood along side us. We never left the store with less than 3 copies, so we could pass them to each other faster. I think these books are a magical fantasy that works on everyone's imagination. I wish she would do another series of books like this, but then maybe nothing could top Harry Potter.
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LibraryThing member 391
Book 1 of the Harry Potter series. This is the book that started it all, that millions of people read and were immediately hooked by, that a certain ten year old named ZanKnits read while her cousin was taking a shower and fell so madly in love with the series that she read the other two within
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twenty-four hours and remained a devout midnight release book buyer until the final chapter of the series was released. I will always have a soft spot for this book.
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LibraryThing member ncgraham
Well, I’ve finally climbed aboard the Harry Potter bandwagon. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.

(Considering that it has been over a decade since Harry came on the market, this is probably “later.”)

Actually, I did read this, the first installment of the series, some years ago—and
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then, for some reason, I didn’t continue. I remember enjoying it, though, and having been hounded by the recommendations of various friends to it again, I find that I enjoy it still. Fans of the series tend to abuse the earlier volumes by comparison with the latter, but The Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone, if that’s your cup o’ tea), while very much a children’s fantasy book, is a very good children’s fantasy book. Once you take into account the reading level and intended audience, it’s a thrilling ride.

The great charm of the book is, unsurprisingly, the sense of discovery. Although the characters are winning and there is enough suspense to propel the plot forward (the scene in the Forbidden Forest is very intense), it’s the scenes of “every day” life at Hogwarts that really make this book glow. The quirky, outlandish, yet somehow very familiar world that J. K. Rowling has created is a joy.

Much attention has been given, both positive and negative, to the quality of Rowling’s writing. While her prose never blew me away, I found it serviceable for the most part. But please, why did no one catch all those nasty comma splices? If the author didn’t know better, the editor ought to. The all-caps to signify shouting is a trifle overdone, too.

An effective opener for a series. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member JenniferMReads
REVIEW ON AUDIOBOOK FORMAT
Each time a new HP book or movie is/was released, I reread the previous books. For years, a few fellow Potter-heads have been urging me to listen to the books. So, this time, prior to the release of the last movie ever, *sob* I opted to listen instead.

Well, I didn't start
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listening early enough ... these babies are LONG! I'll be listening long after I go see the last movie at midnight next week. I read the books in nothing flat but listening is a different experience. I am reminded why audiobooks are not my preferred medium: I like burning through the pages and I can do that with paper whereas I am at the mercy of the reader's pace with audio. The first HP book is 7 hours.

So, time invested aside, I must say that I am very sorry that I waited so long to listen to these treasures! Jim Dale is AMAZING. He captures each characters voice and makes you feel like they are standing in front of you. Jim Dale is so good that I just about fell over when Hagrid entered the house-on-the-rock as I thought for sure the giant was breaking in my own door while bellowing for Harry.

Every true Harry Potter fan should take a listen. It is a fantastic experience ... and frankly, I'm so glad that I will have the audio to look forward to after I see the last movie. My "new HP" experience will be extended just a touch more as I make my way through the hours of Jim Dale's exquisite work!
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LibraryThing member readafew
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the title was changed because the editors thought US readers would be confused by the name "Philosophers stone'. I personally was confused by the new title. When they finally described the properties of the stone I thought 'That sounds just like the
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philosophers stone', and later learned about the switch.

This is the first of seven books about a boy called Harry Potter, living with his Aunt, Uncle and cousin Dudley finding his life rather awful. On his 11th birthday he learns a wonderful secret, he's a wizard, and will be starting school at Hogwarts in the fall. We follow Harry as he makes friends and enemies and learns a little bit about magic.

Great story for young readers and still very good for older readers as well. Lots of fun and full of adventure.
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LibraryThing member magemanda
I don't give out five star ratings very often. In my view a book has to be simply excellent to warrant it - it has to be a book that I return to again and again. In my opinion, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone falls into this category. It isn't as though it's a perfect book - the writing is
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pretty ropey at times and the basic story is not dissimilar to others I have read - but it is a warm, entertaining, and very inventive read.

Who doesn't know the story by now? Harry Potter is on the cusp of his eleventh birthday, living with the beastly Dursleys, when he is visited by Rubeus Hagrid who informs Harry that he is a wizard. From here Harry goes to Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He finds out that he is famous, thanks to events that occurred when he was just a child and managed to defeat Voldemort (or He Who Must Not Be Named). In this first tale about Harry, we are swept into the world of wizardry and straight into a first-class mystery about the object being guarded by a three-headed dog...

So why do I love this book so much? Well, I can tell you why I don't love it! The plot is straight out of other books - who hasn't read about the orphan child who discovers hidden powers, and learns to use them in order to defeat evil? When have we not met a kindly elderly gentleman with long white hair and rather formidable magic skills? I can name a number of authors who have written about similar ideas, especially in the field of fantasy. Rowling is writing nothing original here, in terms of plot.

The reason why I was so taken by this lovely debut novel is the 'surroundings' to the plot. The world of Hogwarts and the fantastic little twists on familiar items that Rowling adds in are simply superb. Right from the first time we hear about chocolate frogs that can actually jump, and portraits which the subjects sometimes leave, I was hooked and felt that every little detail of the world was delightful.

Rowling also writes with great humour and an appreciation for the minds of children, and what would appeal to them. My favourite moment in this respect is when Harry and Ron are being held by the Devil's Weed and Hermione is fretting about not having wood for a fire when Ron yells "Have you gone mad? Are you a witch or not?" The relationship between the three main characters is written beautifully, from the way they defend each other to the bickering that breaks out amongst them.

In fact, all of the characters are very solid - it is easy to see this when people who have read the series pick out different favourites! I enjoyed the sarcasm and quiet menace of Snape, and was keen to find out more about the reasons why he hates Harry so much. McGonagall reminds me of my old English teacher (stern, but with a heart of gold underneath).

The writing is reminiscent of both Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. From the former, Rowling cherrypicks ideas from her various school stories (e.g. Malory Towers - castle-like school on a cliff, with four Houses, travel by train to get there). From the latter, she uses the sheer inventiveness and wit of taking common items or ideas and turning them on their heads. I have no objections to the hint of plagiarism since I love both authors and hence have taken this series to my heart as well.

Extremely good fun and a great way to encourage younger readers. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member RebeccaAnn
Yes, I am a member of the Harry Potter generation. I was eleven when the first book came out and I grew up right along with Harry and his friends. This book is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most reread book I own. Throughout my childhood, I would read it upwards of ten to fifteen times a year.
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I couldn't get enough of Harry Potter. One of my favorite childhood memories is sneaking onto the family computer and typing up my own Hogwarts acceptance letter, than putting it in the mailbox for my parents to find, hoping they would get the hint and send me off to Hogwarts. It didn't work, but that didn't stop me from dressing up as a Hogwarts student for Halloween or making my dad carve me my own wand from an old tree branch.

Though I don't try to be a witch anymore, I have lost none of my love for Harry Potter. With the sixth movie coming out in July, I thought it appropriate to reread the series once again. After eleven years and what must be somewhere around sixty rereads, I still love this book. For those of you not familiar with Harry Potter and his magical adventures, this is the first book in the series. Harry finds out he is a wizard and goes off to his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which he will attend for the next seven years. However, dark things lurk about the corridors of Hogwarts and Harry soon finds himself trying to stop the theft of the Sorcerer's Stone, a magical stone which turns any metal into gold and also creates the Elixir of Life. On top of hidden plots, Harry must learn to play the dangerous game of Quidditch, deal with a snarky Potions teacher who hates him, and get past a giant three headed dog. Will Harry even make it to the end of his first year?

I don't know what I can say about this book that hasn't been said before. In my opinion, it's amazing and one of my favorite books of the series. Several passages still make me laugh out loud and no matter how many times I read this book, the scene in the Forbidden Forest and the final showdown always leave me breathless. Rowling knows how to create suspense, even in a children's book. Her prose is at once engaging but almost childish in its simplicity. When Harry first meets someone, the details he takes in just leave me smiling. The first time he meets Ron, he describes him as "tall, thin and gangling, with freckles, big hand and feet, and a long nose." It's just one of those odd descriptions, giving you the strangest details about a person, yet it works perfectly. I don't need anything else. With this description (and the added detail from earlier that Ron is a redhead), I have a great image of Ron in my head. All of Rowling's descriptions are like this. Simple, direct, but with everything you need to vividly see the adventure unfolding.

And of course, as seems to be common in most children's books, we are instilled with moral values. There are things more important than money and fame, value your friends, yadda yadda. We've seen it all before. However, unlike a lot of other books, Rowling doesn't preach it to you. Characters have their different opinions (even amongst friends), and no one's perfect. Everyone's three dimensional, even the bad guys (although honestly, you'll see more of that in the later books). I would highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you've already read it before or if you somehow managed to miss the craze (better late than never). It's a great story and an exciting adventure with characters you'll love and adore for the rest of your life.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
An 11-year-old orphan lives with his horrible aunt and uncle in England. He finds out that not only does a whole secret wizarding world exist around him, but he is a wizard too! From there we follow Harry off to school at Hogwarts as he takes classes, makes friends and eventually must face off with
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a villain.

The first book in the Harry Potter series starts off a bit slow, but once Hagrid bursts through the door on Harry's birthday the plot is full steam ahead. Every time I read this book (along with the rest of the series) I am completely swept away by Harry's world. Of course the book isn't perfect and many have criticized the writing style and plot points, but when a story is so engrossing that it makes me forget about everything else, I tend to be very forgiving about the small things.

One of the best things about the book is how real the characters feel. Harry's wonderful friends, Hermione, Ron and Hagrid are all flawed. Ron has no self-confidence and wants to surpass his brother's successes, but doubts he can. Hagrid has a blind spot when it comes to creatures of all kind, even though they might be dangerous. Hermione is a know-it-all and a goody-two-shoes. Yet we love all of them and they work together to bring out the best in each other. As Hermione pushes Ron and Harry to work harder, they help her to loosen up a bit.

The first book is not the best, but it is something special. It's the gateway to a world that has captivated millions in the last decade and will continue to do so in the future.
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LibraryThing member keristars
This has always been my favorite of the Harry Potter series for the exact reason that I hear that so many people like it least: it's the one that's the most "children's book" and the most similar to boarding school series books.

I had actually avoided the series entirely until the summer that Goblet
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of Fire was published. The only reason I read the books at all, to be perfectly honest, was a series of rainy days when riding my bike to the library a mile away wasn't the best idea. Since I'd already finished the five or six books I had checked out for myself, I decided to read the ones my little brother had borrowed - they happened to be the first four Harry Potter books.

I managed to read the first three that afternoon, but had to wait until the next day to read the fourth. The one I liked best was Philosopher's Stone (or Sorceror's Stone? I can never remember which is the American title) because it was the most *fun*. I liked all the new, magical things that Harry was experiencing, and I liked the way all the characters fit so neatly into children's series roles - though I didn't articulate it that way to myself at the time.

In fact, this was the only book from the series that I bothered to buy and keep for my own. (I never did end up reading Half-Blood Prince or Deathly Hollows - the series had strayed too far from the beginning to really keep my interest.) But for all that, I'm not really crazy about the book. There are loads others aimed at a similar audience that I like much better and find to be more re-readable.

I can't really pinpoint exactly what about Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorceror's Stone leaves me feeling ho-hum, since I did like it a lot when I read it. Maybe I'm just reacting to the popularity of the series, and also anticipating my disinterest in the books that follow (after all, it is very clearly the first book of a series, and not very good as a stand-alone children's novel).
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LibraryThing member reading_fox
The first of the now world famous young adults fantasy series. Charming, quirky, inventive, not actually brilliant - but better than most.

In case you've been hidden in Atlantis for the past decade: Harry Potter is an ordinary boy brought up by his Aunt and Uncle after his parents died when he was
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very young. On his 11th (what is special about 11? Every YA book always seems to feature heros who have special occurances when they turn 11) birthday a letter arrives informing him that he is in fact of wizarding blood and should attend the Hogwarts school of wizardry. His fiercely normal family don't wish this to happen, but eventually he does go. There he learns the beginings of magic, makes friends and enemies, runs afoul of teachers and during the course of a year there he incidently learns more about his parents and a secret that is hidden in the school.

It is a short book. A year's worth of action is compressed into a few key incidents - the flavour of the lessons given in just one or two examples. About the first third of the book is spent setting up the storyline, introducing all the magical terms and names and the key characters, this is all done well, there are no long tedious passages, and the use of unpronoucable names is kept to a very minimum which is nice to see in a fantasy work. It is fairly light on descriptions and very much character driven. The characters are a joy. Rowling has a deft touch and a good sense of humour which makes for genuinally enjoyable characters, though you won't like all of them. In a work this short there is no room for complex character backstory. Harry is the hero and even he gets very little, but as a fast flowing story you don't really need them.

Overall it's a fun fast paced imagenative YA fantasy adventure, easily readable by adults but without the moral depths that would make it really interesting.
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LibraryThing member conuly
I recently read this book to my young nieces, who are in Kindergarten and the second grade. And, of course, I read the book when it first came out as well :)

Let me tell you, it has been years since I read HP1. I mean, *years*, so it was all-in-all a little surreal for me, rediscovering the book
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while knowing how it all turns out.

This review is going to be divided into two parts: My view on the book, and my view on reading the book with two small children.

My view on the book: Yeah, it's overhyped. Lots of books are, of course, and lots of movies and TV shows and whatever. It's a good book, but JKR isn't actually as brilliant as all that. Quite aside from the fact that the woman can't do math (which leads, among other things, to any number of fan theories trying to put together why Hogwarts used to have thousands of students, but nowadays can't possibly have more than 300 - sometimes I prefer the fandom to the series, honestly!), she has a bad habit of telling instead of showing in all her books, and it's obvious even in this first one.

But, when you overlook that (and most people do), what you've got is a good kid's book, and from there a decent series. You've got adventure, excitement, friendship, and happy endings up the wazoo. I may not think it is THE greatest book (and series) to come out of children's literature ever, but I certainly enjoyed it as a kid, and again upon re-read.

My view on reading this book to small children: Well, truthfully, I think this book is not suitable for most kids my nieces' ages, and I probably should've put it off a year or a year and a half. There are a number of scary parts that might concern any sensitive child, and I found that there were simply too many characters for the younger niece to keep track of! She kept asking me "Wait, who is this?" because she couldn't remember who Quirrel was, or Dumbledore, or Hagrid! The plot of the first book also twists around a little, which is great if you can keep track of the fact that Harry found the Mirror of Erised or that Ron's brother keeps dragons... but it proved to be a little tricky for Evangeline. (And, just to brag a bit, but she tested as gifted by our school district and is currently working at least six months above grade level in all areas. You don't care about that, but I like to say it whenever I can wedge it into a conversation!)

This observation does NOT affect the rating I gave the book. The book is a solid 4 star book in my mind, the series as a whole mostly rates the same, and my older niece did enjoy it except for the scarier parts.

However, if you are itching to read this book to your small child because YOU read it as a child and you want to share it with your kid - think about it first. It may be best to hold back until your kid is slightly older, so he or she can REALLY enjoy it. (Or it might not, you know your own kid best, etc. etc. etc.)
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LibraryThing member mhgatti
After months of promising the eight-year-old that I would read it, I finally gave in. I went into this fully expecting to hate it - it's been my experience that books selling in the hundreds of millions are often written only to satisfy the lowest common denominator. Plus, I saw the Potter books as
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kids book, no matter how many adults read them. Well, after reading the first of the series, I still think it's a kids book - but a very well-written kids book. Rowling so vividly creates a fantasy world that it somehow never seems implausible, while at the same time nailing the real-world social interactions of pre-teens. The result is a perfect combination of mystery and humor (though there's a lot of set-up before you get to most of that mystery and humor). I don't see myself reading the second Potter book any time soon - I'm more of a Superfudge kind of guy - but I can now see why so many people are into the series, and I feel a lot better about my son reading it. My faith in the best-sellers list has been restored, at least until the next Dan Brown novel comes out.
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LibraryThing member justabookreader
This summer I thought I would re-read the Harry Potter books. A lot of people are talking about them and it reminded me how much I loved this series. I haven’t read the books in so long and I thought it was a good time to start from the beginning again.

I’m not going to do a full re-cap or
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review of the book. I’m going to say --- and yes, it’s a generalized statement but I think also a rather true one --- that most people know what the books are about so this is all I’m going to say by means of a re-cap:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the series. This is the book where Harry finds out he’s a wizard, goes off to Hogwarts, makes friends with Ron and Hermione, learns to fly a broomstick and play quidditch, makes enemies of Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy, and starts to understand what it means to be the boy who lived.

Good? I am. Now, let’s move on. I haven’t read this book in several years but as soon as I cracked the cover, I remembered how much I loved the world that Rowling created. There are so many wonderfully magical things, creatures, and people that I wonder how someone could not be swept away. There are also a lot of little details that I didn’t remember, for instance, the fact that Dumbledore wears high heeled shoes and is a lot flashier than I remembered him to be. I relished the fact that I still don’t like Snape (I don’t know how anyone can and I still won’t forgive him even in the last book for all the horror he inflicted for an old grudge, among many other things.) and how snarky and cruel Draco can be. Hermione is slightly unlikable at the start but I found it fun to see Harry and Ron become her friends and the three become inseparable. Oh and Ginny. Ginny is one of my favorites and I love her enthusiasm and crush on Harry. I find it so endearing. Ahhh….is all I want to say when she points at him in the train station. Hagrid, oh Hagrid, you big, lovable oaf. A dragon? Really? And who else would name a three-headed snarling beast of a dog Fluffy? Yes, Hagrid would. When Harry’s first year finally comes to an end and he has to return to the Dursley’s I don’t feel disappointed at all. I look forward to opening the next book and continuing the adventure.

The books are not perfect and there are some awkward bits of dialogue and this book, being the shortest in the series, is not nearly as detailed as the later books but the enchanting nature of the story itself makes all of that fade away for me. There is something very endearing about Harry that makes me always want to cheer him on even when he’s being stupid. The world of Hogwarts is an amazing place to fall in to and there are some wonderful characters to take on the journey with you.
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LibraryThing member bardsfingertips
Look what I read! Seriously, look!

Anyway, those who have known me quite well would find it bit of a shock that I read the first of the Harry Potter books. However, it should be know that I have been beset on all sides of friendly fire to read the books. So, around the time that book 5 or 6 was out,
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I made a promise that I would venture towards Hogwarts once the series was over and done with.

Well, it's over and done with…and a few weeks ago, I had forgotten to bring a book with me to my girlfriend's house when I stayed for the weekend. I picked up her copy of the first book and started reading. 150 pages later, the weekend was over and I placed it back upon the shelf. Last weekend, I decided to start back again where I left off and finish.

And, I must say without much surprise to a lot of you, that I truly enjoyed it. It was fun, it was escapism at its best and easiest. In addition to that escapist aspect, it was a story and a cast of characters one could really feel at home with while reading.

I look forward to reading more of the saga.

One thing I should note: I think I figured out what separates adult fiction from preteen fiction (aside from subject matter). In children's fiction, there seems to be a lack of introspection. There also seems to be a lack of details cited to the reader that takes place between events in the story. For example: Harry leaves Area A for Area B. While getting to Area B, there might be an occurrence in which someone (or something) interrupts Harry's travels; and this is cited to the reader. But that is it. There is no self-discovery introspection; nor is there a sudden tangent that relates a current event with an event in his past while walking. Anyway, I am sure such things are developed in the later novels (after all, about three or so of them are rather lengthy). And, I feel that Rowling in conscience of her reader's change in maturity as her audience continues with the series.

Unless, of course, I am wrong.
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LibraryThing member silenceiseverything
I absolutely love and adore Harry Potter! Sorry. It had to be said. No, but seriously I do. I first bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at my school's Scholastic book fair when I was in 5th grade. I remember that they were having a buy one, get one free sale and I went there with the sole
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intention of finding another Party of Five book told from Claudia's perspective (I had bought one of those at a previous book fair and loved it. Oddly enough, I had never watched the show at that point, just read a few of the books...) and I thought since it was free, might as well pick up The Sorcerer's Stone. My older sister by a year had been raving about this book because her teacher was reading it to the class and she loved it. So, I picked it up.

I devoured that Party of Five book in a day, loved it, and re-read it again the day after. The day after that, I picked up The Sorcerer's Stone, read one chapter, deemed the book "boring", set it down, and that was that. At least until the movie was released during my freshmen year of high school. I watched the movie in theatres and absolutely loved it. I then picked up my 5th grade copy of The Sorcerer's Stone, dusted it off, read it, and loved it so much more than the movie. That started my anything but brief obsession with everything Harry Potter.

I just fell in love with the whole world that J.K. Rowling created in the books. And I'll admit that even though I was a freshmen in high school when I first read it (all types of grown-up or so I thought), I still dreamed of waking up and finding my own Hogwarts letter delivered to me by owl post. I think that's the magic of the Harry Potter books. The children fall in love with a brand new world that's so different from their own and the adults are taken back to a more innocent time, where you still believe that good always triumphs over evil and when we all still believed in fairy tales.

Since that first initial read, I have re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (and the other novels in the series) more than a dozen times. Every time I re-read it, I get something new out of it. Some subtlety that shows up in the later works that I didn't really grasp until I had read it again. It also never fails to make me feel better if I'm having a crappy day because let's face it. Harry, Hermione, and Ron were going through something so much worse.

I just loved every single one of these characters. Harry was everything a hero should be: brave, loyal, clever, etc. And Hermione and Ron are the types of friends that everyone hopes for. The ones who are with you through thick and thin and don't judge you the whole way through. My favorite characters in this series would have to be Hermione, because I'm just a big a nerd as she is, and Fred and George, because their humor always made the books for me (of course, Luna is also one of my favorite characters, since she doesn't show up until Book 5, she doesn't get more than a brief mention here). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone introduces all of us to an amazing world with tremendous characters (both good and evil and everything in between).

However, as much as I love The Sorcerer's Stone, I do have to say that re-reading it both last year and this year, I'm not surprised that I put it down in the 5th grade. Since it is the first book, we have to wade through the exposition of how Harry gets to go to Hogwarts. The result is that the beginning chapters aren't as exciting as the ones that follow. I do have to say that as much as I love this book because it introduced me to the spectacular world of Hogwarts, it is my least favorite of the seven. It's just that the books get so much better as the series goes on. And now I feel bad for even thinking the words "least favorite"...

Anyway, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will always hold a place near and dear in my heart because not only is it a fabulous novel, it was the book that got me back into reading. While I read a lot in elementary school, my interest in reading waned during middle school. Since I've read The Sorcerer's Stone, my interest in reading hasn't waned one bit. And I think that's the magic of the whole Harry Potter series, it a lot of people back into reading and it definitely got kids excited about reading again. I think it's influence is something that will still be significant in years to come.
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LibraryThing member susanbevans
[close] The imagination and details that go into the Harry Potter series is truly phenomenal! I did not start reading this series until all seven books had been published. It was a good thing too - once I started, I could not put the books down.
LibraryThing member bachaney
I am an adult who had seen all of the Harry Potter movies (at the urging of Potterhead friends) but had never read any of the books, mostly because they were "for kids." After seeing the final film, I wanted to know a little bit more about the story, so at my sister's urging, I finally picked up
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the first book. And now I'm wondering--what took me so long?

I won't summarize the plot (that's been done many, many times before) but I will say that I found this novel to be fun, light, and interesting exposition for the rest of the series. Since I know what the ultimate conclusion will be, it was fun for me to see how the whole story fits together, and to see the pieces from the beginning that will add to the whole! Even though I was familiar with the story, I found the book to be charming, fast paced, and engaging, even for an adult reader. When I finished I immediately wanted to start book 2!
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LibraryThing member AEbert
Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone is a classic book written by a famous writer, J.K Rowling. Harry Potter is a book about a young orphan who is left under the care of his horrible uncle and Aunty, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. Harry is treated very unfairly by his rich Uncle and he is forced
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to live in a small room in a closet underneath the staircase. Harry is forced to do chores and is treated very unfairly, while his overweight cousin, Dudley, is spoilt and given everything he wants.

But then, on the night Harry turned 11, he was visited by a giant wizard called Hagrid. Hagrid gave Harry a letter informing him about a secret school which that taught witchcraft and wizardry. Harry delightfully accepts the invitation but his terrible uncle and aunty try to stop Harry from leaving.

Harry managed to escape from his uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia and he was able to begin his life as a young sorcerer. Harry was thrown into a completely different world full of magical and wondrous elements. Harry is faced with many problems and exciting characters. Harry also meets some unique new friends called Hermione granger and Ronald Weasely.

Rowling managed to write an appealing story that everyone can relate to in some way. There are a lot of characters in this first book, but Rowling manages to make each personality different and each character unique.

In my opinion, I think that the amazing tale of Harry Potter is a classic book that anybody can relate to. Rowling uses very good descriptions and creates a brilliant new fantasy world that anybody can escape to by reading this book. it offers a great new fantasy world that other Harry Potter fans can enjoy and fantasise about. I rate this book 9 out of 10 because it is a classical story with a great storyline that can be enjoyed be anyone. I loved this book and I would read it again.
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LibraryThing member PJWetzel
This is one of very few books that I disliked enough to give it away after buying a brand new copy and then reading it. I liked the movie well enough and saw it before reading the book. Was that the problem? I will not soon read any more of JK Rowling's work.

What I disliked most was the bland,
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uninspired and uninspiring writing style. I also found the characterization surprisingly 'cardboard' -- completely devoid of inner voice and emotional depth. As prose, this book is a failure. As a light story-telling experience, it is well done. However given my lifetime of experience prior to the publication of this book, I found most of Rowling's imagery borrowed from off-the-shelf templates that have been rattling around in our cultural psyche for many generations. The originality lies only in the minutiae.

The book (and the series) appeals to its fresh, squeaky-faced young target audience because it introduces this cultural heritage to them; and thus will forever 'own' it. And I suppose that's the true 'magic'. Not every author is able to so comprehensively tap in to the touchstones of her culture--to voice a narrative that is already familiar but not fully actualized in so many of our minds. All future generations will view this magic-fantasy sub-genre through Rowling's eyes, and that's not a bad thing. She has vividly enriched it and gathered many myths into one 'compendium'. Think of how the anonymous 1823 poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" has defined Santa Claus and much of the surrounding myth and tradition of secular Christmas celebration.
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LibraryThing member Blenny
This book was more far more enjoyable than I expected, I was very pleasantly surprised. J.K Rowling's humour is wonderfully English, dry and mischievous, which nicely contrasts with the seriousness in the aspects of death, loss and rejection.
I recently re-read the Tim And The Hidden People series
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by Sheila K. McCullagh (which I read at junior school in 1985) and it's very, very similar in some aspects. So too is The Worst Witch series and if you like Harry Potter you'll like these books, though I have to admit Harry Potter is far more slick in it's writing style and does appeal more to adults.
As I read on, the book got more and more exciting and I felt like Rowling was really on a role with the storytelling. I found myself turning the pages faster and faster to find out what happened next, which is quite astonishing as I had already seen the film about 20 times and knew very well what was coming...that to me is the sign of a good writer.
I also felt quite teary-eyed in parts of the story...another sign of a good writer and I am looking forward to reading the next six books...yet another sign.....
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LibraryThing member bjanecarp
The last few days, I've decided to re-introduce myself to the JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels. You probaly know that when a topic has the scent of controversy about it, the Christian fundamentalists (far more conservative than my personal religious leanings) usually make some sort of stink about
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it. I have seen this trend for most of my life: TSR's Dungeons and Dragons games, Scorcese's Last Temptation of Christ—heck, I even remember hearing a sermon preached about Pac-Man, and about Ravel's Bolero.

So, this is a review, sort of, of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I suppose you're wondering what I can add to the thousands of reviews written for the seven Harry Potter novels. Frankly, I'm not sure myself. I'd never let a little thing like repetition stop me. You probably know the plot of the Potter novels. You've probably seen the films, swore loudly as you stepped on the Lego pieces in the dark, and maybe you've even bought the vibrating Nimbus 2000 broomstick—it was pulled from Toys 'R' Us shelves, when an alarmed public realized more naughty adults were buying them for themselves than for their children.

Over the years, I've come to decide for myself, with Judi's opinion mattering greatly of course, what is (or is not) appropriate for my eyes, or my children's. So, in 2001, I picked . This was 10 years ago, to this very month, when Daniel was in first grade. I wanted to see all the fuss for myself. I wanted to introduce Daniel to a genre I loved and, maybe deep inside myself, I wanted to disrespect the decrees of the fundamentalist Morality Cops just a little bit.

I need not have bothered worrying about the Morality cops. Rowling is an amazing writer (Her name, by the way, rhymes with Bowling, not Prowling). I knew, going into the series, that the story was about a boy wizard. I did not expect her adeptness at setting a tone. Take, for example, the opening sentence of this famous novel: "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." With less than 25 words, she captures the attention of the reader, sets a stage, and divides her world into two camps: those who are normal, and those who were not. She employs a light irony in her narrative that neither mocks the reader nor her characters. Moreover, this was Rowling's first novel. Each character introduced—the boorish Dursleys; Hagrid, the hairy motorcycle-riding giant; Professor Dumbledore (a Merlin/Gandalf analogue, if there ever was one); and thin-lipped Professor Minerva Macgonagall, followed by the hero of the series, who is maltreated by his Aunt and Uncle.

We follow the young lad as he meets the wizarding world, and is accepted into Hogwarts, Britain's foremost school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and confronts the malevolent Lord Voldemort, who created such havoc at the time of Harry's birth that the magic community still refers to him as "You-Know-Who." Her sentences are usually pitch perfect, and she has an uncanny way of blending genres with excellent writing.

A word about genre literature in general, and fantasy literature in particular: it is no stretch to find other series (Machale's Pendragon series, and Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series both spring to mind) written for young adults, where a young person of unknown magical powers are introduced to a world with an evil overlord that only he may slay. I'm okay with this: it's the mark of genre literature, in the style 12th-century heroic balladeers. The story isn't the plot, so much as how it is told.

I think I'm letting my head get in front of my fingers a bit as I type, so let me rephrase: genre literature is supposed to be fixed in form. Potter falls neatly into the heroic category, as well as fantasy genre, as well as the bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel). I say this because we expect genre literature to fall inside a genre. We expect Harry to confront The Dark Lord, and probably to lose Dumbledore along the way (in much the same way as George Lucas penned his Star Wars series). We expect him to find allies along the way, and for Potter to make enemies. Rowling does something substantially more: she writes her characters skillfully and believably, in every single page. Harry Potter and his friends are comfortable in their genre skin, in an unforced manner. Hermione is now a famous name because the frizzy-haired, brainy 11-year-old witch was written with letter-perfect precision. Many other authors of Young Adult fiction fail at the same task Rowling set for herself.

I can think of no better endorsement for Rowling and her work than the following anecdote. My son Daniel was unable to read his own name at the beginning of first grade. By Christmas day of that same year, he had completed the first two Harry Potter novel. Say what you will about the witchy, supposedly-non-Christian values of her magical world, she taught my son to read. His blinders were lifted and it set him on a lifelong track that makes this librarian not only proud, but amazed. A person rarely gets to see literacy actually happen in a person. I have JK Rowling, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, to thank for that gift.
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LibraryThing member BrynDahlquis
I just finished reading this for the sixth time. It doesn't get old. In fact, if anything, it gets better and better because you know the meaning of every little thing and the stories that are to come.

The writing is flawless. The characters are wonderful. The story is breathtaking.

That first
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chapter of the first Harry Potter book will never, ever lose its magic.
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LibraryThing member allureofbooks
I couldn't think of a better book to discuss to end my week of reviewing banned books. For a hilarious take on the evils that Harry Potter supposedly teaches young people, check out this article at The Onion. It is a favorite of mine.

Seriously y'all. If you want to see me mad, send someone that
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thinks Harry Potter is evil to talk to me. Nothing gets me fired up like people trying to argue that Harry's world promotes witchcraft, evil or Satanic practices.

This series teaches nothing - NOTHING - if not loyalty, bravery and the triumph of good over evil. Anyone that doesn't clearly see that is either a complete idiot or just plain hasn't read the books.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone introduces us to Harry and his world. I can still clearly picture the first few minutes of my life after I finished reading this book for the first time. I remember literally setting the book down and staring at it. Just staring. I was pretty young, and I remember being very dramatic and declaring to my mom that my life would never be the same. (She rolled her eyes and has yet to try reading it, I'm working on that.) I might have said that because I was young and full of theatrics, but turns out, I was right. My life has never been the same. Harry revolutionized the way I read - heck, it isn't just me - he changed the world. The books changed young adult literature, and literature in general.

The world is so detailed and exact - but so simple to learn and become immersed in. I don't remember a time anymore when I didn't know all the rules of Quidditch and the organization of the four Hogwarts houses. Diagon Alley and the cupboard under the stairs at Number 4 Privet Drive are real places in my mind. Owls deliver mail and unicorns exist. These statements don't mean that I have adopted a lifestyle of Satanism and hellfire - it means that J.K. Rowling created a world I can escape to in my imagination. It doesn't mean I think Harry's world is a reality - it means that I can picture the details in my head.

So many characters are introduced in this book as well: Hagrid, Dumbledore and the Weasley family. From the beginning, Harry surrounds himself with the most lovable and richly detailed characters ever written. In my imagination, these people are family. I don't mean that I expect to be able to pick up my cell phone and call down to The Burrow, it means that when I pick up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I feel like I'm revisiting old friends.

Seriously, people. When we say we love Harry Potter and Quidditch and the Weasley family, we aren't worshipping the devil. We aren't saying witchcraft is real and that this world actually exists. We're declaring that J.K. Rowling is one of the best authors of all time and that she created a world we can escape to in our imaginations.

When I say Harry Potter is revolutionary and that it changed my life, I don't mean that I think it is a reality. It just means I love it.

Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you'll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the binding.
-Stephen King
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