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Jeruba's avatar

Have your reading habits or those of anyone you know been changed--or created--as a result of the Harry Potter books?

Asked by Jeruba (41894 points ) August 11th, 2011

There’s been a lot of talk about how the Harry Potter series of books has attracted people—children and adults both—to reading. In your personal experience, has it actually made any difference? Beyond the series itself, has reading behavior changed?

•  Have you been influenced to become a reader, or a different kind of reader?
•  Has anyone you know been so influenced?

This question asks about you and people you know, and not (a) published articles, (b) statistics, (c) generalities, or (d) opinions not based on personal knowlege.

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18 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Nope.
My sisters both read the books, they enjoyed them. I never touched them. I don’t like fiction. I don’t know anyone that started reading just to read the series, and I don’t know anyone that read them that wouldn’t normally care to read that sort of thing. I think that’s what you’re asking.

Cruiser's avatar

No…never cracked the cover on a Potter book and don’t know anyone that has and we are all voracious readers.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Unfortunately, no. Of the people who have mentioned reading the series, all of them are fairly avid readers already. When a 13 year old friend complained of being bored, I recommended that she read the books. Her response? “No thanks. I’ll just wait for the movies to come out.” Sad, but true.

Aethelflaed's avatar

For years, they were the only fiction books I read. Now, I read a bit of fiction, though not much.

I really don’t know any children whose habits have changed, but that’s really more because I don’t know any children well enough to know their reading habits.

chyna's avatar

I’ve always been an avid reader and I’ve never read the Harry Potter series.

zenvelo's avatar

My son has always been an avid reader, but reading the first one at the beginning of third grade gave him the confidence to attack and enjoy much longer books than he was used to at that time. There were kids in his fourth grade class that didn’t read much that picked up the books and loved them.

Kardamom's avatar

I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books, I’m just not really interested in the genre. For that reason I’ve never read any of the Lord of the Rings books either.

But I have seen all of the Potter movies, but that was influenced mostly by my admiration ahem, for Alan Rickman. But I ended up loving the movies, even though I didn’t think I would.

I will probably never read the books, though, just because of not being interested in the genre. Plus I’ve got a stack of books as tall as myself just waiting to be read. I love the classics, especially Dickens and Jane Austen, and I tend to like modern books that are about women and relationships (but not romance novels) such as those written by Fannie Flagg and Amy Tan. I also like funny books by authors like Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris. Potter books just don’t fit in with what I like.

My little cousins and nephews, though, have come to really appreciate reading because of those Harry Potter books. I always appreciated reading, but I realize that a lot of kids, at least when I was little, did not. I’m glad that these books have gotten kids into reading, that otherwise would have shunned reading. Now if only we can get those same kids to tackle David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, now that will be something!

Symbeline's avatar

Nah, I was a fairly big reader long before that series came out. It’s great and really hooks you into its world, but it isn’t the best thing on Earth, either.
Although I do know a few people who have read the series and really loved it, but barely ever read books, otherwise. That’s probably the extent. Never heard of anyone wanting to get more into reading after reading the series. Most people just want more Harry Potter lol.

Your_Majesty's avatar

No, I’ve already love to read fantasy novel even before I read Harry Potter series. The only effect of reading such fantasy books is daydreaming (usually after I finished a book) , or desire for story-planning since it also encourages me to write my own novel.

The other ‘additional’ habit of mine is that I waste too much money on fiction novel nowadays.

Uberwench's avatar

This has to be something that’s hard to measure. A lot of the benefit that was being claimed was that it would get kids reading earlier and then affect later habits. If you have an avid reader who started with Harry Potter, it’s hard to say if that kid would have been an avid reader without Harry Potter. And since it’s only the characters and not the books themselves that are magical, the fact that some kids read Harry Potter and did not become avid readers doesn’t prove much either. Either way, though, I’d rather kids read seven books than zero.

Joker94's avatar

By the time I started reading HP, I was well into my reading career. I used to read a lot, but I never really have the time for it these days..anyways, I think if anything, it broadened my interests to include fantasy. Were it not for Harry Potter, I probably never would’ve looked into the Prydain Chronicles or Bone.

ddude1116's avatar

My mom and sister helped me read Harry Potter when I was seven. I didn’t really the grasp the books all that well until I reread them later, I enjoyed them a lot after truly reading them, instead of having the help of my mother, but I’ve since grown out of them. I enjoy fantasy books, and I enjoyed Harry Potter, but it never affected my interests in any way.

martianspringtime's avatar

My friends have grown up on Harry Potter, and like a lot of kids, claim it was the first book to really make them appreciate reading. It’s also one of the few books they go back to and reread and can still love today. I didn’t read them until about two years ago.

I used to be a really avid reader until about freshman year in high school; I felt as if I’d ‘grown out of’ my reading habit. No books really interested me anymore, and reading became more tedious than enjoyable. I used to be the kid who would lug around at least one or two books with her everywhere, read during lunchtime instead of talking to her friends, have a book open on the dinner table, stay up until 4am reading by nightlight, etc, but for no particular reason I just lost all interest, and ironically a series initially aimed at young children is what brought my love of reading back.

I read the HP series in full two years ago, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. I’d never been so entranced by a book before. It not only reminded me how much I love getting completely lost in a book, but I felt an attachment to them unlike anything else. It was odd because I was pretty skeptical about the books to begin with; I thought they were blown out of proportion and I expected to be disappointed. I’d read the first one around the time it came out and vaguely remembered enjoying it, but didn’t think I’d find it at all relevant enough to read now. I hadn’t even seen most of the movies.

It’s not the most sophisticated literature, but I’d never quite appreciated the importance of a good story before HP. I’d forgotten that a good book isn’t just about employing a pretentious vocabulary or creating incredibly complex characters. It can also just be a really spectacular story told well. I’ve since started reading a lot more again, and I really don’t know if I would have if it hadn’t been for HP. I read because I enjoy it again, not just because I want the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a book. It brought back the delight and comfort in reading that I hadn’t felt since I was younger.

I can write a novel on my adoration for the series, and if you hadn’t noticed, I think i just got a pretty good start

Aethelflaed's avatar

@martianspringtime a good book isn’t just about employing a pretentious vocabulary or creating incredibly complex characters. It can also just be a really spectacular story told well. Well said!

augustlan's avatar

Not in my family, who are the only people I really know well enough to judge their long-term reading habits. We were all avid readers before Harry Potter came about. My oldest daughter does have an extra-strong sentimental attachment to the books, though.

Seelix's avatar

Having worked in the kids’ section of a bookstore for 6 years, I’ve had a lot of experience with Harry’s influence. There are tons of kids out there who didn’t like to read before Harry Potter came out, and a lot of adults, too. When the series was still fairly new (i.e. before the movies’ release), I had lots of adult customers confess to reading the books. I remember when the books were released with “adult” covers – a surprising number of teens and adults were excited – they could now read them without looking like they were reading children’s books.

I’ve read the books, and I think that anyone who criticizes Rowling’s writing needs to keep in mind that they are children’s books. Sure, they might not be super-sophisticated or the most complex, but it’s a great yarn and my opinion is this: whatever gets kids reading. If kids read Harry and love him, I can suggest 20 other books/series that they’ll likely love as well. I think Harry’s a great gateway series.

Leanne1986's avatar

I was always a big reader as a child and often had three or four books on the go. My reading habits have diminished in recent years I’m sad to say. I try and make the time to read a book but I very rarely finish books nowadays. I have never read any of the Harry Potter books.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’ve always been an avid reader. I did read the Harry Potter series and I was able to enjoy it. I suppose it did open up my reading a bit more to include some of the books that are aimed at children, instead of just books that are aimed at adults.

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