The Boy Who Started It All

Harry Potter was an early love of mine. My first inklings of the Boy Who Lived came in the second grade when my older brother—the instigator of many things I would come to love—suggested we go see the second movie. A skittish seven-or-eight year-old, I had been horrified by the giant spiders and towering basilisk, but, before I had even exited the theater, the magic of it all had awoken something in me—a lifelong mixture of wonderment, passion, and an avid desire for more.

From there, I went back to the first book and for the next decade, committed myself to attending every premiere religiously. I remember standing in line for the final book, a ball of excitement and dread—excitement for the next journey with my favorite characters in my favorite world, and dread that my beloved story was coming to a close. In that line, at the very bookstore that I would later work in, an associate came through the line with an upturned Sorting Hat filled with badges of the different Houses. At the time, I still considered myself a Gryffindor (it wouldn’t be until years later that I would realize I am, in fact, a Ravenclaw) and lo and behold, I drew the badge of Harry’s very House, thinking it was meant to be.

I remember going to the midnight premieres of the final movies, and sobbing with my friends that they were ending, then going back and trying to see the final movie as many times in theaters as possible before its inevitable withdrawal. Here’s a {blurry} snapshot of my tenth-grade self, hugging (for some reason) the poster of Tom Felton. (Don’t get me wrong, I love villains, especially complex ones who garner sympathy, but I can guarantee tenth-grade me was only interested in the actor’s looks.)

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I’m sure Harry’s is not the first story I read—I’m pretty sure I was attempting to read as soon as I left the womb (for all inquiries on that, see my mother)—but it was definitely the catalyst to so much more. Harry was, to me, the beginning of everything literary.

I grew up going to the midnight releases for the books at the bookstore in my hometown and, as a result, it was the only place I wanted to work when I started looking for a job in high school. I was fortunate enough to meet my husband while working there, as well as so many people who will forever hold an important place in my heart, a nostalgic place, a magical place. I worked there throughout college as I painstakingly worked paper by paper toward my English degree and, in my last semester working there, the unthinkable happened…

J. K. Rowling released another book.

The craze behind the release of the Cursed Child was paralleled only in my insurmountable excitement. After so many years spent attending premieres, I finally got to work one of my own, and after everyone was sure that the Potter series was finished, at that! It was my last hurrah at the bookstore in my hometown, which I would soon leave after finishing college and moving away, and it gave me a sense of completion, an opportunity to come full-circle with the Wizarding World. It gave me the chance, for what felt like the first time, to truly live life Behind the Stacks.

This is me, in my Cursed Child staff shirt, both mentally thanking my bookstore home for all of the good memories, as well as saying goodbye:

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My blog is about that feeling. That feeling only bibliophiles can access—that devotion to the written word and the community it inspires. Behind the Stacks will focus on my experience in book-selling retail (from customer do’s and don’t’s to confessions of associates in lanyards), but it will also feature all things book-lover like travel (I can’t wait to post about my latest trip to Universal’s Harry Potter World), crafts, and recipes.

So stay tuned, y’all. The plot is thickening.

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