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)

Book Talk with Melissa Aho

I published my first podcast today Book Talk with Melissa Aho! In this Episode 1, I interview librarian Susan Wakefield. Please join us as we discuss books, publishing, libraries, and reading. Happy reading!



These are the books discussed in this episode (just click on the link to find the book or the Kindle title):


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

Happy 40th Star Wars!

Star Wars turns 40 years old today! Do you feel old?

When your cat might secretly be a Jedi knight, but she refuses to discuss those clone war years.
How many versions of Star Wars do you own? #StarWars40 #Hanshotfirst
Forty years of collecting Star Wars merchandise

Boreas Certificate!

For the past few years I have been working towards the Boreas Leadership Certificate. Boreas, which is part of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, allows graduate, professional students, and post-doctoral fellow to work towards the certificate, which “offers students the opportunity to delve deeper into the challenging world of leadership and change making. By pursuing the Boreas leadership certificate, students build on the skills and networks developed in Boreas programming and practice leadership through a leadership project. Students completing the requirements receive a printed certificate, are recognized on the Boreas website, and may reference the accomplishment on their resume or CV. Like other Boreas programming, the certificate is offered at no cost” (

So I learned today that my certificate went through and that they even posted it to the website (how nice is that!)

My Boreas certificate project was “Having Your Voice Heard”

Having your voice heard

It is becoming clear that in today’s society individuals need to be able to communicate and have their voices and opinions heard. Building upon Boreas workshops that I have attended, I decided to examine two ways that individuals are able to have their opinions heard: the more traditional newspaper opinion piece of the ‘Letter to the Editor’ and the new digital audio podcast. For the first part of my project, I sent ‘Letters to the Editor’ to three newspapers – two (national and local) traditional print newspapers and one local online newspaper. Then for the second part of my project, I contacted and met with two local podcasters to discuss how they get their views across in the podcast format. The expected outcome is to become more confident in expressing my opinions in the public arena and to learn about podcasting – a format that allows everyone to have a voice.

Part 1: I wrote three Letters to the Editor
1) Letter to the MinnPost: “In praise of the political podcast.” (April 18).
2) Letter to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press: “Close Unethical Schools.” Saint Paul Pioneer Press (April 19): 10A
3) Letter to The New York Times – not published
Part 2: Talking to Two local Podcasters
-1) Stacy Verdick Case, the host of the podcast ‘The Not Boring Book Show’, which is also a MyTalk 107.1 podcast,
-2) Derek Kosky, the host of podcast ‘Off The Shelf’


An lovely new book on THE CARD CATALOG by The Library of Congress has arrived during #NationalLibraryWeek and purchased with some of my birthday gift card. Its very beautiful and fun and it even comes with its own checkout card! Not that I would ever loan it out, but still fun to have. What other wonders await inside this book?


I met with Stacy Verdick Case, the host of The Not Boring Book Show podcast, today to discuss podcasting. Stacy is a author of three mystery novels set in Minnesota and her latest podcast The Not Boring Book Show is a MyTalk 107.1 Podcast. The lady knows her podcasts. Despite my sneezing (I have a bad cold) I learned a lot about the crazy world of podcasts. Stacy called it the Wild West and it totally is! Besides the gift of knowledge, which is always the best gift you can give, I received an autographed ‘The Grand Mystery’ and some cool The Not Boring Book Show swag. Thanks Stacy!

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.