Harry Potter’s Bookshelf – John Granger [Book Review]

Harry Potter’s Bookshelf: The great books behind the Hogwarts adventure

John Granger

Book Review

John Granger uses literary themes, genres and influences to try to produce some answers to the question “Why are Harry Potter books so popular?”. The book is divided into four sections: the surface meaning, the moral meaning, the allegorical meaning and the mythic or anagogic meaning.

This books is well structured, with the easiest reading at the start and the more complex discussions nearer the end. I like that each section can be read individually; so you can read the bits that interest you most first if you wish. As in Granger’s ‘Unlocking Harry Potter’ (read my review of that here), literary alchemy is discussed in depth – once again I did find this section pretty tough reading and I feel as if I need to start with the absolute basics to build up a clearer picture of his arguments. There are also repeated elements from ‘Unlocking Harry Potter’ – but I did not find this a nuisance.

Many authors and books are discussed through the book relating to the particular subjects or genres. I liked the fact that Granger summarises the books he mentions, so that you can still understand the points he is making – even if you have not read the book yourself.

The thing I liked most about this book was reading about the influences on J K Rowling; on both her writing and her life. There are many quotes from her throughout the book, which adds that little personal touch while you are reading. I admire J K Rowling as both an author and a person and I simply love learning more about her so these snippets from her were very enjoyable!

This is a great book for people that want to dig deep into the world of Harry Potter, explore it in depth and find out more about the fabulous J K Rowling! Its well structured and written and offers many interesting insights. Harry Potter fans will love it!


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