I am happy to announce that I have completed my Bucket List goal of owning all the Harry Potter books!
I know most of the world’s population did this a long time ago, but -sad to say – my collection started a little late and took a little longer to finish.
I remember it was 2008 when I first thought I would buy them, the year after I had moved out from the family home. My little sister had let me take her Harry Potter books with me when I moved out so I could read them – as I didn’t have my own copies. She’s always been generous like that. One night while laying in bed starting ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ for the ..(insert large number here).. time, I decided it was about time I bought my own copies, hardback ones of course, and let my sister have hers back. Permanently.
I obviously haven’t kept my sister’s ones since 2008 – no, no. It’s more like a library system; I borrow them all, give them back one at a time, wait a couple of months, borrow them all again, then slowly give them back as I finish with them. You know, so she’s got a chance to read them too if she wants. It’s only fair after all.
I looked online at prices of new ones but it would’ve been too big a chunk to spend out in one go; and buying second hand ones online wasn’t really an option either – I like my books to be in good condition – since you can’t check a book’s condition easily online, it felt like too much of a risk to be taking. So I decided I would buy my collection as I came across them in book shops and charity shops – as long as they were good conditioned.
This was a much harder task than I figured it to be.
My first purchase was one lunchtime in Reading’s WH Smith. As I browsed the sale books (I can’t resist a sale book section), I found, sitting between a Jilly Cooper novel and Russell Brand autobiography, a hardback ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ for £7, Brand new! I snapped that up and frankly, couldn’t believe no one else had before. My collection had begun.
There was quite a lull then, and between most of the purchases, I did find some HP books in shops but they either had no dust jacket, barely had a dust jacket or were just in horrible conditions. I could have cried at some the states I found these books in. Some people have no souls to be able to do whatever they did to leave those books like that.
I did actually own ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ the year it came out. My mum bought it for me for Christmas 2000 and I, in the ungrateful way I had back then, scoffed at receiving a book that I had no interest in reading and besides – it was one of a series – what use was it to me? So I gave it to my little sister – (who was delighted. Pah!). It still has the inscription in it to me from my mum.
It wasn’t until I was dragged – practically kicking and screaming – to the cinema to see the first Harry Potter film for my little sister’s birthday that I realised ‘hey, this story’s actually pretty good’, and shortly after told her I was reading her books from the beginning. I highly doubt I’d have asked her if she minded, in those days.
There’s only two I don’t remember buying, ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’. As hard as I try, I cannot think of where I got these two from. The others I remember perfectly, just not in the order that I got them in.
‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ I found in Waterstones in Bracknell, and ‘Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows’ after it was released from Sainsbury’s, also in Bracknell.
Then, during my Brighton trip a few weekends ago, I continued my now habitual practice of walking past a book/charity shop ‘ooh, can we just quickly go in there’ run in, scan the book shelves and leave.
The first couple of shops, nothing, the next one, only the double whammy of ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’!! £8 each in a second hand book shop. The woman behind the till was a bitch – I won’t go into it – and really I should’ve walked away from there not buying them – but I couldn’t do it – I had to buy them, so reluctantly I gave over my £16 for the pair.
And with that my collection was made complete!
I’m currently still reading my sister’s version of ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ but it will be for the last time as I’ll be able to hand back that one and HBP the next time I see her.
I do like to see a complete collection, there’s something quietly satisfying about it. Now I can read and re-read them to my heart’s content and not feel guilty about hijacking anybody else’s.