Until the Harry Potter books were published, I was not much of a fantasy and science fiction fan. In fact, I’d failed to finish even a single JRR Tolkien book. I’d watched only one Star Wars movie, which left me wondering: what is the hype all about?

Perhaps it had everything to do with JK Rowling’s deft touch and brisk pace, as opposed to Tolkien’s dry, winding "tell, rather than show" style. I bought easily into the universe she was ushering me into...

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