19 Years Later…

Today, September 1, 2017, is the date of the final chapter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry has moved on with his life and is seeing he second child off to Hogwarts. Basically Harry caught up with us and our time. People were celebrating, people were tweeting, and herds of people were at Kings Cross Station at 11am. Basically it was fun and just goes to show how important and beloved these books still are. After all this time. Always.


Book Talk with Melissa Aho – Episode 2 (07/26/17): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Book Talk with Melissa Aho – Episode 2 (07/26/17): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone











Do you remember what you were reading 20 years ago? Were you reading about Harry, Hermione, and Hogwarts? Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone turns 20 years old this year. Happy birthday Harry! In this episode, we will discuss ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ aka ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (paperback)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Kindle)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Gryffindor Edition (Hardcover)

Happy birthday Harry Potter!

On June 26, 1997, after many rejections, a little book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the UK. That was just the beginning. Soon more books came out, a total of 7 about Harry, but other books, movies, plays, rides at the amusement parks, clothing, a new broomstick game played around the world, new words for the dictation, toys, and other memorabilia soon followed. Very much like Star Wars, Star Trek, or Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter managed to bewitch his way into the global psyche.

I vaguely remember seeing the first two books in 1998 in bookstores and reviews in various magazines. Finally one day I saw a display at Barnes and Noble that had the first two books displayed and I thought, “well I should read the damn things as I keep seeing them everywhere.” I started reading and I was hooked. I soon started to purchase the British versions of the books to get them sooner and they were always a little bit different than the American copies. Over the years I stood inline at midnight bookstore parties, ordered extra copies to see which one would get to me quicker, and one year the power went out and I was reading Harry by candlelight! Hay it was new and needed to be read. I also had friends pick me up foreign language copies on their travels around the world. When the movies came out with their midnight shows, I attended them because its always fun to be in a theater filled with crazed fans who loved Harry as much as you do.

Now 20 years later, Harry’s story has been told (maybe), but we continue to learn more about the wizarding world with Newt Scamander and other stories. It will be interesting to see what the next 20 years bring for the wizarding world, muggles too. But Harry will always remain at the center, a little orphan kid who just wanted a home and some friends and ended up saving the world. Always.

There is always room for one more Harry Potter book! Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! #HarryPotter20 @pottermore @jk_rowling

I sorted into Hufflepuff!

Hufflepuff! I sorted into Hufflepuff! That’s what I get for answering the questions on Pottermore honestly. Hufflepuff!

When Pottermore first started a few years ago I signed up, but never got around to being sorted into a Hogwarts (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry) house. So I figured I would finally give it a try today and I got sorted into Hufflepuff! Yes, yes, everyone likes Hufflepuffs and they are loyal, patient, fair, hard-working, and true and even J.K. Rowling says she likes the Hufflepuff house the best, but that’s coming from a woman who was sorted into Gryffindor. Once you are sorted into a house the Pottermore site does not let you change, so once a Hufflepuff, always a Hufflepuff. Some famous Hufflepuff’s include: Helga Hufflepuff, Nymphadora Tonks, Cedric Diggory, and Newt Scamander. But why did Helga Hufflepuff pick a badger for a house mascot and the house colors of canary yellow and black? Sigh.



I was also sorted into the Ilvermorny (Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry) house: Horned Serpent. Which was “Named by Isolt Sayre after the great horned river serpent that has a jewel set into its forehead; Horned Serpent house is sometimes considered to represent the mind of a witch or wizard. It is also said that Horned Serpent favours scholars. The house traits are: Represents the mind. Favours scholars”.


My wand is: Elm wood, dragon heartstring core, 12 ½” in length, and brittle flexibility.


And my Patronus is: Black Mare

Christmas with the kids!

Celebrated Christmas with my favorite niece and nephew and their way cool Mom (she told me to say that) tonight. I received some fantastic Harry Potter socks, some soda with amazing flavors – which includes bacon and one that’s like butterbeer, a soap with caffeine in it, and some yummy holiday treats. Yes, everyone knows of my Harry Potter obsession. I gave the kids their annual autographed book. This year its the beautiful “Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Stories” by Phuoc Thi Minh Tran, who is the first Vietnamese librarian, and from Minnesota. I also got Julian some Doctor Who Legos, Louisa some Shopkins, and they also got a lump of coal (a marshmallow covered in chocolate). Yes, their favorite librarian aunt really does give the best gifts.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was finally released today! The screenplay arrived on my Kindle Thursday night, but the movie and screenplay were officially released today (aka Friday November 18). I wanted to see the movie before I read the book, so while it was tempting to read it last night, I did hold off and devoured the book today. The book designers did a wonderful job with the artwork in the book, but I was hoping for a bit more backstory. As with screenplays, you always want more and with the world of Harry Potter a screenplay is just the trip of the iceberg.

So an extremely busy day filled with appointments, a snowstorm, and a new Harry Potter movie. Overall a fantastic movie and book and I am one happy Muggle.

Stories from Hogwarts

Three new Harry Potter Stories from Hogwarts were released today (September 6) as eBooks! Well you might have gotten them a bit early, like I did last night a little after 11pm when they automatically downloaded (downloads must be on a different time zone). While not a true story/novel, they are little chapters/entries on a variety of subjects and they are fun to read. Its always a wonderful thing to learn a little bit more about Hogwarts and those that inhabit the mind of J. K. Rowling.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Today (July 31) on Harry and J. K. Rowling’s birthday the new Harry Potter book (Book 8) came out: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Not a novel, but a screenplay of two plays: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One & Two and Harry Potter parties were once again held around the world as people counted down to Midnight. I was too tired to go to any Potter parties or stand in line for the book/play, as I have done in past years, plus its just so much easier to get it on my Kindle and start reading right away. And it certainly beats having to order them from the UK because they were not yet published here in the US, which is what I had to do with some of the earlier books, until they started to published the UK and US books simultaneously.

So at 11:01pm on July 30 I wondered if the book/play would download, as it was past Midnight in the UK and Midnight in New York City, so I looked and no book/play. But then at 11:22pm I noticed that the book/play was downloading (I later checked my bill from Amazon and it also said 11:22pm. Weird). So I am not sure if the ebook was on NYC time or not, but if I had been in the store I would have been still waiting. So another great thing about ebooks – you might get the book a bit early!

A quick read (I finished about 2:58am – so about a 3.5 hours to read), the play/book was wonderful and sad and happy and adorable and includes all the characters we have know and loved over the past 19 years, plus a few new ones. It nicely wraps up some of the ‘what if’ questions that have been lingering from the books and does a wonderful job of showing that Hermione and Ron were meant to be together and yes, I know that some have debated if they should have ended up together (including Rowling and Emma Watson), but I liked happy endings and the book/play does a good job of answering that question. The world is always a little bit better when there is a new Harry Potter book it in.

Harry in Korean!

One of my student workers went to South Korea this summer and brought me back books #1 and #2 of the Harry Potter series. Thats ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ for you Muggles out there. Needless to say, it was a great way to start a Tuesday. Thanks Grace!!!