Matthew's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, own, series, young-adult

One of my first jobs was at a bookstore. When I was a kid my Mom would take me to the mall and I would spend tons of time hanging out at Waldenbooks (who here remembers Waldenbooks?) Right when I became legally old enough to work, I went in and submitted my application and a few weeks later I was selling literature to the masses.

Why do I tell you this story on this review, you ask? Well, at the time, young adult/teen literature consisted mainly of RL Stein, Christopher Pike, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and a few other classic Newberry Award winners, but certainly we did not have a YA section to the extent you see it today.

Towards the end of my tenure at Waldenbooks - as Oprah's book club was hitting its stride and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus was in its bazzilionth week on the New York Times best seller list - a book display arrived featuring a buzzy new title about a certain boy wizard. I remember the display at the front of the store, and selling a few copies, but I didn't realize what it would become.

A few years later (early 2000s), I had kinda gotten out of the loop on what was big in books. I had just finished college, which had taken up most of my free reading time. A friend of mine named Bronco (yup, real name, not a nickname, who also was the Best Man at my wedding) had a copy of this book on his coffee table. Holy cow! Here is that same book we were selling at Waldenbooks about 5 years before - what was he doing with it!?

Well, he said it was good, so I borrowed it. I quickly plowed through the first 4 books and then got the pleasure of joining the world in waiting for the release of Order of the Phoenix. And, I noticed when I went to the bookstore, the YA section and selection was not so small anymore. I truly believe it was Harry Potter that opened the door to get more young adults (and even adults, of course) reading and authors interested in writing for that genre.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 8, 2013 – Shelved
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: series
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: own
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: young-adult

Comments Showing 1-50 of 152 (152 new)


Cheri I worked at an independent bookstore myself and saw how it took off. I ended up having Come As Your Favorite Character events each time one was released at 12am that nite. I had so many customers we had to hire private security, lol!


Matthew Cheri wrote: "I worked at an independent bookstore myself and saw how it took off. I ended up having Come As Your Favorite Character events each time one was released at 12am that nite. I had so many customers w..."

I am kinda sad I was not still working in a bookstore during the craze.


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin I love this review =). And yes, we had a Walden's Books!


Matthew Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ wrote: "I love this review =). And yes, we had a Walden's Books!"

Thanks! Yeah, even Harry Potter couldn't stop the demise of the small mall bookstore at the hands of digital media!


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin You're welcome.

Yes, it's really sad. The only bookstore we have left is Barnes & Noble and a used store. I order all of my physical books online through a bunch of places. It's sad they can't have the real bookstores with the same low prices. The online places just run everyone out :-/


PorshaJo I remember Waldenbooks - does that show our age? :-) I was not into the HP books at that time. But recall when making a work trip to London, a coworker asked to pick up a newly released books for his daughter. Guess one of them was being released early in London, but it would be a bit later for US. That craze had just totally passed me by.


Matthew PorshaJo wrote: "I remember Waldenbooks - does that show our age? :-) I was not into the HP books at that time. But recall when making a work trip to London, a coworker asked to pick up a newly released books for h..."

I made a trip to London in the midst of the craze and went to King's Cross where they set up a Platform 9 3/4. We also passed a store selling shirts that said "Who the f%$! is Harry Potter!?" Not sure why those shirts would sell, but I guess it meant enough to Londoners to make it a big sell.

We also went to Edinburgh and stopped in the coffee show where they said she wrote the first few books.


PorshaJo Matthew wrote: "I made a trip to London in the midst of the craze and went to King's Cross where they set up a Platform 9 3/4. We also passed a store selling shirts that said "Who the f%$! is Harry Potter!?" Not sure why those shirts would sell, but I guess it meant enough to Londoners to make it a big sell.

We also went to Edinburgh and stopped in the coffee show where they said she wrote the first few books. "


Ha! That's great! I did not see any kinds of Tshirts like that, love it. They were selling the Hogwarts scarves everywhere and I almost bought one. I too also went to Edinburgh and stopped in the coffee shop. It was sometime after my London trip so by then I knew all about the craze. Figured I would go to the cafe, have a drink and maybe get inspired...ha! I was shocked though it really had nothing around or in the cafe about her/the books when I was there. So you really had to know where to go.


Matthew PorshaJo wrote: "I too also went to Edinburgh and stopped in the coffee shop. It was sometime after my London trip so by then I knew all about the craze. Figured I would go to the cafe, have a drink and maybe get inspired...ha! I was shocked though it really had nothing around or in the cafe about her/the books when I was there. So you really had to know where to go. "

Isn't "Elephant" in the name? I too remember that there was very little pointing out that this was the place where it all began.


PorshaJo Matthew wrote: "Isn't "Elephant" in the name? I too remember that there was very little pointing out that this was the place where it all began. ."

Good memory! Elephant House is the name. Though my memory is fuzzy about the name and my good friend Mr. Google had to help me. :-)


Sarah Joint I remember Waldenbooks, it was in our mall too! Lovely review. I agree with you, I think the Harry Potter novels encouraged many new readers.


Matthew PorshaJo wrote: "Good memory! Elephant House is the name. Though my memory is fuzzy about the name and my good friend Mr. Google had to help me. :-) ."

Cool! I am kind of surprised I remembered even that much about it. I mean, I do normally remember weird trivial stuff like that, but I was on vacation . . . and there is lots of good beer and scotch in Scotland . . . just sayin' . . .


Matthew Sarah wrote: "I remember Waldenbooks, it was in our mall too! Lovely review. I agree with you, I think the Harry Potter novels encouraged many new readers."

Thanks Sarah! :)


Renata Wonderful story of your personal journey to the Harry Potter series which are an undeniable writing wonder! I was a 4th grade teacher when they came out and immediately had to read the first one to keep up w my students. All the rest I read for the sheer pleasure of her magical storytelling. Someone had an English copy and we talked about the difference in the title. I loved your description of Walden bookstores and your list of authors. I recall standing in front of that limited selection searching for something to tempt my sons which is why they read so many classics like Jules Verne and Dickens. How marvelously JK Rowling lit the publishing world on fire! Wonder if they have a gorgeous plaque in the cafe stating Jk Rowling wrote here!


Matthew Renata wrote: "Wonder if they have a gorgeous plaque in the cafe stating Jk Rowling wrote here!"

Here are the images I found:






Sonja LOVE your story, Matthew, so glad you shared! I definitely do remember Waldonbooks!! And I remember those YA authors well - though I preferred lesser known ones myself! I worked at Lady Foot Locker in the mall from my senior year through junior year of college and Waldonbooks was two stores down from my store - that was my lunch break hangout, unsurprisingly! I too found HP by accident. Goblet of Fire had just come out and I couldn't understand why there was a line of kids around the corner one morning when I came to work. I asked a friend and she loaned me the first three books (which I read in about two days total). I then read each one as it came out while slogging through college courses and went to see the first movie after I graduated. Funny story, I took and read Deathly Hallows on my honeymoon (there's a photo in my profile of me sitting in the pool in Maui reading it!)!
I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful these books are except to say I cannot wait to read them to my kids!! (they're book lovers too... shockingly...) And taking them to Hogwarts at Universal... they might have to hold me down... :)
Thank you for sharing your story - brought back great memories!


Matthew Sonja wrote: "LOVE your story, Matthew, so glad you shared! I definitely do remember Waldonbooks!! And I remember those YA authors well - though I preferred lesser known ones myself! I worked at Lady Foot Locker..."

No problem! I love tying my reading/book experience back to nostalgic memories if I can. That is easy to do with Harry Potter!


Briar I think we're about the same age, because Waldenbooks was one of my first jobs too, and YA in those days merited a couple racks in the back. They were dusty and unloved. JK is definitely the reason why the genre has changed.


Matthew Briar wrote: "YA in those days merited a couple racks in the back. They were dusty and unloved."

Great way to describe it! And, I don't remember many teens coming into the store at all unless it was to buy required summer reading. Now, if you go to Barnes & Noble, the place is packed with teens!


Sonja Briar wrote: "I think we're about the same age, because Waldenbooks was one of my first jobs too, and YA in those days merited a couple racks in the back. They were dusty and unloved. JK is definitely the reason..."

Same here! And I totally agree! Rare was the day there was another person my age in the YA section in those days... And I usually frequented the library (and still do) instead.
100% agree that Rowling reinvented the genre and writing in general!


Cheri Matthew wrote: "Briar wrote: "YA in those days merited a couple racks in the back. They were dusty and unloved."

Great way to describe it! And, I don't remember many teens coming into the store at all unless it w..."


I'm always happy just to see kids reading for their pleasure!


message 22: by Saul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Saul Escalona Quite an agreeable anecdote, Mathew, stirred up pleasant memories.


Matthew Saul wrote: "Quite an agreeable anecdote, Mathew, stirred up pleasant memories."

Glad my review is touching the nostalgia button for so many. That's one of my favorite things about sharing reviews here!


Zoeytron Thoroughly enjoyed your review, Matthew. We had a Waldenbooks as well as a B Dalton's in the mall here. Also had a Borders for a period of time. All gone. Just Barnes & Noble remains for new books, always busy as can be.


Matthew Zoeytron wrote: "Thoroughly enjoyed your review, Matthew. We had a Waldenbooks as well as a B Dalton's in the mall here. Also had a Borders for a period of time. All gone. Just Barnes & Noble remains for new books,..."

Ah, yes! Who can forget Waldenbooks/B. Dalton wars! I guess B. Dalton won as it was a subsidiary of Barnes and Noble (while Waldenbooks was an off-shoot of Borders)


message 26: by C-shaw (new) - added it

C-shaw I do indeed remember Waldenbooks very fondly. Tee hee, I have had _Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus_ for all these years and haven't read it yet, though I did devour the Harry Potter series.


Matthew C-shaw wrote: "I do indeed remember Waldenbooks very fondly. Tee hee, I have had _Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus_ for all these years and haven't read it yet, though I did devour the Harry Potter series."

I don't believe Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus has maintained the popularity that it had in the 90's like Harry potter has! :)


message 28: by C-shaw (new) - added it

C-shaw That's why it's just above _The Corrections_ in my never-to-be-read stack.


message 29: by Samuel (new) - added it

Samuel Bigglesworth Great review Matt. I think it was pretty cool to live in the time of Harry Potter coming out as it was such an organic success. It came from no where and grew and grew and grew, mostly if not solely due to the strength of the story and characters.


Matthew Samuel wrote: "Great review Matt. I think it was pretty cool to live in the time of Harry Potter coming out as it was such an organic success. It came from no where and grew and grew and grew, mostly if not solel..."

Thanks, Samuel! I hope we see another one like this in my lifetime. There are some currently that hit certain niche groups, but nothing with such widespread popularity. The Hunger Games was close, but all those books were out already before it became really popular - no long lines waiting for release on that one!


Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا Such a lovely review!


Matthew Dana Al-Basha wrote: "Such a lovely review!"

Thank you so much, Dana! 😃😃😃


Poonam That's an interesting backstory to your journey of discovery of HP and insight on what led to YA being what it is :)). I never thought of it this way but now that you mention it.....


Matthew Poonam wrote: "That's an interesting backstory to your journey of discovery of HP and insight on what led to YA being what it is :)). I never thought of it this way but now that you mention it....."

:) I like to make people think! ;)


message 35: by Hala (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hala Elaila When Harry Potter came out I was young but I remember a girl obsessed with hp I did not see the movies olny first 2 but know I’m 24 I’m reading them lol but I finished the first too book I used to think why is every one obsessed with hp funny enough the hype did not make me read it back in the. Day because I. Was not a reader


message 36: by Hala (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hala Elaila A lovely review though


Matthew Hala wrote: "A lovely review though"

Thank you and thank you for sharing your story!


Corey Great review! And you know what's funny, Harry Potter is what really got me into reading too!


Matthew Corey wrote: "Great review! And you know what's funny, Harry Potter is what really got me into reading too!"

Thanks! It's so cool that Harry Potter got so many into reading


Nicole Chinnici I remember browsing at Waldenbooks!! Nice review 👍🏼


Audrey I totally remember Waldenbooks. I think that was my first bookstore.


message 42: by Gary (new)

Gary Sundell Absolute heaven was a mall that had both a B. Dalton and a
waldenbooks. I was over-qualified to work at either place, so I was told. Must have been the law degree...I would have been an awesome bookstore manager. Of course I blame Amazon for killing bookstores.


message 43: by Hala (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hala Elaila And thank you for inspiring me to countiue reading hp


Matthew Nicole wrote: "I remember browsing at Waldenbooks!! Nice review 👍🏼"

Thanks! :)


Matthew Audrey wrote: "I totally remember Waldenbooks. I think that was my first bookstore."

Every time this review gets attention, I get nostalgic!


Matthew Gary wrote: "Absolute heaven was a mall that had both a B. Dalton and a
waldenbooks. I was over-qualified to work at either place, so I was told. Must have been the law degree...I would have been an awesome bo..."


The B Dalton/Waldenbooks wars of the mid-90s when I was working their were classic (and not really all that much of a war! ;) )


Matthew Hala wrote: "And thank you for inspiring me to countiue reading hp"

You're welcome!


Audrey In the 1980s our local mall, which was huge, didn’t have a single bookstore, and it was widely mocked for it. Later I read an Orson Scott Card book where the MC is driving on the 101 freeway and suddenly decides he needs a book, so pulls off to go to this mall only to find it doesn’t have one. I knew that was our mall, and it must have been based on personal experience.


Matthew Audrey wrote: "In the 1980s our local mall, which was huge, didn’t have a single bookstore, and it was widely mocked for it. Later I read an Orson Scott Card book where the MC is driving on the 101 freeway and su..."

Ha! Great story!


Katie OMG I forgot about Waldenbooks until you mentioned it but I remember browsing there as well! We tended to prefer Borders but I just loved bookstores. Still do 😂 I love this review! I really agree that HP was revolutionary in the way that it changed things (getting more people reading and writing in the genre)


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