When the first Harry Potter book came out, I was in 4th or 5th grade, I believe, and a lot of my friends and classmates read it. Then the series started to really pick up speed with the next few books, and if they hadn't ready it before, all my classmates got to reading (some already going on their second or third time through the books.)
When they came out, my parents strictly forbid my siblings and I from reading them because of their content: magic, witches/wizards, dark forces, etc. So, what did I do? I read the first few chapters of the Sorcerer's Stone at school, where they could never find out. I remember bits and pieces of those chapters, but here's the thing - I hated reading growing up. My sister and mom are both avid readers, and I just couldn't understand the principle. So even though I wanted to rebel against my parents and read the "cool" books that everyone else was reading, I didn't actually want to. So I stopped, and never felt like trying that out again.
And then, when I was in late high school and early college, my mom, being the reader that she is and loving to listen to books on tape/CD to get extra "reading" in when she's in the card, started to listen to the Harry Potter series on her way to and from work. She loved it. She powered through the books quickly, and then she (just as quickly?) realized there was no harm in the books. Rather they were good children's literature and didn't press the magical/witchcraft-ness of the content on the reader, but obviously was fictional writing.
And then, the books were officially fair game for all of us. [Thanks, Mom, now that I'm out on my own and can make my own decisions about what content I subject myself to, you allow me to read some juvenile literature.] So, again, I still didn't like to read, so I had little to no interest.
Then I started dating Mr. Allen, and part of dating Mr. Allen was dating his family. [This is a good thing, not a bad thing.] We spent a lot of time around each others' families in our college days, so we got to know each others' siblings and parents well; much better than the average in-laws. We became a part of the other family very quickly.
Well, the Allens are avid readers. Not only that, but Mr. Allen and his two sisters (and I'm sure his parents) all read the Harry Potter series a few times through. They were those Harry-Potter-freaks, you know - the crazy people that dressed up to go to opening night at the theater. [I was only lucky enough to do that for High School Musical 3. Now who's the real freak?!]
Anyway, so I realized I needed to start the series soon or maybe they wouldn't like me anymore. So slowly (as in over a 2 year period) I read book 1 and 2. Then Mr. Allen and I got married (2 more years had passed) and the 7th movie, part 2 was going to be coming out soon. He was excited about its premiere and I felt bad that he would have no one to get excited with him about it. [I had also picked up reading as a hobby in the last few months because, living in Chicago, time to read is plentiful on long commutes.] So I decided to do the impossible(?). I started reading, and I mean POWER-reading, through all the books in a very short time. I know it was less that 2 weeks for sure (and this is HUGE for me, the non-reader) in which I finished books 3-7.
And, guess what, I loved them. We also would celebrate the ending of one book by watching the corresponding movie that night, as I instantly started the next book. I finished book 7 the day before the movie was to come out, we bought our midnight showing tickets, and watched 7 part 1 as we waited for midnight to come.
All this being said, I am not at all mad that I jumped on the bandwagon late. Not just was it late, it was like a decade late. Whoops.
And now, I'm jumping on another bandwagon a little late. The Hunger Games.
I'm over 200 pages into the first book (in 2 days) and love it. Really, I wish that the first book was more like 4 or 5 because there is so much action that moves so quickly. I can't wait to finish the series. I can't wait for the movie to come out next month. I bought Mr. Allen a giftcard to the movie theater for Christmas, and he's been saving it for this event.
I don't feel stupid for reading them later than everyone else. I know it's a little late in the trend, but I also had made the decision to read them back in the early summer. But, again, living in Chicago, getting your hands on a popular book from the library is nearly impossible. You can put a hold on it and still wait months for it to be ready for you. I finally got a copy and am busy tearing through.
So call me a late bloomer, because yes - my passion for reading did show up during year 22.
And call me a bandwagon jumper, because yes - I do love to be in the "know", reading what everyone else is reading.
Moral of the story - go pick up The Hunger Games (if it is that easy for you) and start reading. And if you've never read Harry Potter, it's not too late. I'm proof of that one. Enjoy a book.
PS - Let me know what you're reading/have been reading, I'd love the recommendations!