Revisiting Harry Potter via Audio Books

Harry Potter Lego Style
Harry Potter Lego Style (from our trip, taken with my cell phone)

When we began to plan our Christmas break trip to Northern Minnesota we realized we would need to have some entertainment handy in the car. Two kids ages 5 and 7 requires something to keep them occupied if you are going to be on the read for a couple of days.  Our older model minivan doesn’t have the built-in DVD and game players new models do.  Oh sure, we have laptops and iPads but they are a little trickier to maneuver.  So one idea was books on CD. So we checked out a couple of different books from the library.

But my daughter really loves Harry Potter and so when I saw the first two books of the famous series on tape (yes, cassette tape) (on sale at the Friends of the Library stack) for a couple of bucks a piece I grabbed them.  That is cheap entertainment!  And it turned out to be a great way to pass the time.  The kids loved to listen to the books and it kept them entertained for miles and miles.

But what I found interesting was how warped my memory of the books had become due to the movies.  Our family owns all the movies and has watched the many times. It has been some time since I read the books (I re-read them all in 2007) and the lens I see them through these days is very much the movies.

So it was fun and interesting to revisit the books, this time via audio, after such a long time away.  And I have to say I enjoyed the books a lot even though I knew what was going to happen throughout.  It was fun to get to know the characters again through the eyes of Rowling and her pen rather than the director’s lens.  It was fund to hear the dialogue and descriptions; the witty asides and fun lines.

This is not a revelation but you just forget how much more detail and imagination is involved in reading (or listening) to a book rather than watching a movie (or perhaps a different type of detail and imagination).  And in this case, I had forgotten how much was in the books that just wouldn’t fit into the movies.  It was great family fun dive into the books together and enjoy them based on Rowling’s original vision. My daughter has read some of the first two books but my son has only entered that world through the movies (and a Lego video game). It is somewhat sad that they can’t read the books truly fresh like I was able to do without the intrusion of the movies.

So if you find yourself facing a long car trip, I can recommend Harry Potter as a good companion for the trip.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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