Book Concierge's Reviews > Harry, a History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon

Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
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Jul 22, 11

Read in July, 2011

This tells the story of Pottermania and Anelli’s role as webmaster of The Leaky Cauldron – the # 1 website for fans of Harry. I like the Harry Potter books. I enjoy Rowling’s writing, and I’ve enjoyed a couple of the movies. But I’m not obsessed with the phenomenon. By Anelli’s own account, she first heard of Potter when she was buying her college text books. Her mother suggested “something light” to provide some entertainment and escape from all the heavy college texts. Anelli was hooked from the beginning. She quickly was spending virtually every spare moment reading, thinking, talking Harry Potter. In fairness, the book does go beyond Harry Potter to explore the world of children’s-book publishing. And she also talks about how the web-friends joined together to support and inform each other in the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. She nearly lost me entirely in the section devoted to Harry and the Potters and other bands that formed using various themes / characters from the books. Boring. But that was enjoyable compared to the section concerning those who would ban the books because “they teach witchcraft to children.” The most interesting part is the way in which Harry Potter changed the publishing world, the marketing world, the sale of intellectual property to the movies, etc. The best testament to the “power of Potter” is that this book debuted at #18 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Audio book narrated by Renee Raudman, whose reading of this work is perfectly fine. She sounds appropriately young and enthused when describing the phenomenon, distressed and frantic as she reacts to the Sept 11 attacks, and doesn’t completely put us to sleep when reciting statistics or history.
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