Thursday, June 26, 1997

First Harry Potter book published

Last updated 7/5/2020.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

J.K. Rowling

First Publication: June 26, 1997


Category: youth fantasy novel


Sales: 120 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

With “the first in a series of tales about a young wizard in training, an international craze was born. Not since C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia has a children’s tale of magic and mystery so enthralled the reading public. And it’s easy to see why. Eleven-year-old Harry Potter, the plucky yet nerdy hero of this series, is the embodiment of every uncool kid’s fantasy. Unpopular in school, picked on by bullies, and persecuted by his adoptive family,” BN he’d “never even heard of Hogwarts.” AZ But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed.” BN It turns out “Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!” AZ

“He receives training in some magic basics, masters riding a broomstick, and discovers his incredible talent for a game called Quidditch, which is played in the air on flying brooms…But all is not rosy when Harry discovers his true destiny and finds he must…face the evil one who killed his parents. His survival will depend upon the help of his newfound friends, as well as his own wit and powers.” BN

“It's easy to see why Harry Potter has caught the reading public’s fancy. Not only are his adventures an entertaining mix of fright, fantasy, and fun, his triumphs over everyday adversities offer a heartening lesson to kids everywhere.” BN


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In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our January 2020 book.

Wednesday, June 25, 1997

Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl published 50 years ago today

First posted 6/24/2020.

The Diary of a Young Girl (aka “The Diary of Anne Frank”)

Anne Frank

First Publication: June 25, 1947


Category: non-fiction/war-time diary


Sales: 35 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding” WK with another family “in the ‘Secret Annexe’ of an old office building.” WK “Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.” AZ “The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.” WK

The diary was “discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life” AZ and given to “Anne’s father, Otto Frank, the family’s only known survivor, just after the war was over.” WK It “has become a world classic – a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.” AZ She “recorded vivid impressions of her experiences…By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.” AZ

The Philadelphia Inquirer called it “one of the most moving personal documents to come out of World War II.” AZ The Chicago Tribune said it was “a testament to an indestructible nobility of spirit in the face of pure evil.” AZ The New York Times Book Review praised it as “the single most compelling personal account of the Holocaust…remains astonishing and excruciating.” AZ Newsday said Frank “brilliantly…captures the self-conscious alienation and na├»ve self-absorption of adolescence.” AZ It has been published in over 60 languages WK and been adapted into a play (1955) and a movie (1959). WK


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