Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: 20th Anniversary & What Harry Potter Means to Me

Like any diehard fan/collector, I ended up with all four of the special 20th Annoversary Editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. (No? Just me? ahahahahaha *sobs*)

Harry Potter means so much to me, and these special House editions are gorgeous. 

Each one includes several pages of extra House-specific content + artwork!

These books tugged at my heart-strings and got me thinking…

It would take several months and a two-page thesis to describe what the Harry Potter series means to me; what Jo has given me. In lieu of that, I’m going to make this short and sweet:

To honor the 20th anniversary of this introductory book, I’m listing the top five things that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone taught me. 

  1. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.
  2. The magic can never be stamped out of you.
  3. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself. 
  4. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
  5. Love is powerful, and leaves a mark.

Tell me some of your favorite Philsopher’s Stone teachings in the comments!


Overview: A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab

Top Ten Reasons To Read:

  1. London, England. (need I say more?)
  2. Really freaking awesome MAGIC
  3. Witty internal monologues
  4. Kell is a precious cinnamon roll too good for this world. 
  5. Young thief wants to be a pirate so she becomes a pirate = role model for children everywhere
  6. AMAZING fight scenes
  7. Thoughtful, intricate, and unique set-up and world building. 
  8. Prince Rhy 😉 😉 😉
  9. Brotherhood!
  10. The Evil Returns™ troupe (#obsessed)

Overview: The Last of August – Brittany Cavallaro

Top Ten Reasons To Read:

  1. More of the unabashedly precious Jamie Watson.
  2. Counterfeit art mystery
  3. Family Drama™
  4. Realistic and honest representation of a teen struggling through romantic feelings after a pervious traumatizing assault.
  5. Financially wealthy BFF swoops in to kinda save the day (one of my fave guilty pleasure troupes)
  6. Accidental murder yoU NEVER SEE COMING
  7. Stylish bad guys/gals
  8. A fresh take on the “love triangle” biz
  10. Witty dialogue and commentary on the realistic pressures of life in an outlandish situation.

Overview: Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Top Ten Reasons to Read: 

  1. It’s a classic work of literature you uneducated heathen GET WITH THE TIMES (lol I am just now reading it at 21)
  2. For a book from 1847, Charlotte Brontë sure does know how to get and keep her audience interested.
  3. ALL OF THE MEN SUCK BUT THERE ARE SO MANY STRONG POWERFUL BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED WOMEN (I cannot say this loud enough; I wish there was a caps lock x2)
  4. Jane takes absolutely no crap from anyone. Not her elders and definitely not her men.
  5. Adèle is the cutest little child to ever grace this earth I WILL FIGHT YOU ON THIS
  6. Some supernatural elements that always get explained by a logical reason
  7. Not a book about pointless socialization in England’s 19th century. (#blessed)
  8. Realistic death and injury (main characters are actually hurt and or killed like REAL LIFE PEOPLE)
  9. A couple of awesome dogs (really they aren’t that important but I love it when they make a cameo)
  10. Definitely better than Gone With the Wind (and if you know how much I love that book you know this is the best compliment ever).

Overview: My Lady Jane – Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

Top Ten Reasons to Read:

  2. Strong independent woman who don’t need no man.
  3. Love but not in your face love??
  4. WOLF PACK *howls*
  5. Adventure!
  6. A satisfactory amount of cute awkwardness.
  7. Boy-king. Need I say more?
  8. UNLIMITED HORSE JOKES (just read it, you’ll see why)
  9. Cool af grandma.
  10. Witty, instrumental, creative narrative and dialogue.

Overview: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Top Ten Reasons to Read:

  2. Most accurate portrayal of a teenage character I’ve ever seen in my life.
  3. Theater nerds abound.
  4. Fantastic portrayal of dynamic friendships.
  6. Cute email exchanges imeancomeon who doesn’t like those?
  7. Fun “who is it” mystery.
  8. Blackmail. *wiggles eyebrows*
  9. THERE IS A DOG (and it is very cute I loved it a lot ok)
  10. Excellent, invigorating, substantial writing of plot and characterization.

How I Learned to Love My Bookstagram

For a long time, I didn’t love my Bookstagram. For a long, long time. 

Take a stroll back through my feed. It’s cringe inducing for me to, so I won’t be joining you.
I used to look at those perfectly set up photos by other Bookstagrammers and think, gosh, I don’t have the skill or prop collection to pull that off.  So, I just used a static background and arranged a book with some props in a blocky configuration. NEWS FLASH: although some can make that look minimalisticly cool, I cannot. 

Here’s how I made myself happy with my feed:

Only shoot on sunny days!

I used to think it wouldn’t really matter if it was cloudy or if the light was 100% natural. Looking back on my older pictures, I wish I would have started caring sooner. Without a sunny day, even the natural light looks blue or grainy. 

Fluorescent light is a bookstagrammer’s mortal enemy. 

Only shooting with good bright sun is really important to my pictures!

Use a mixture of background textures.

Oy. You know how I mentioned using literally one background in all my pictures and thinking that looked good? I don’t know how some of you do it! I LOVE those types of aesthetics and so cannot pull them off. 

What I did to work for me was mix harsh and soft backgrounds. I use a mix of wood and blankets for overhead shots or I do a portrait shot with the book/prop up front and my bookcase/blankets/window/anything boring and bland in the background.

I was afraid for so long to have a feed with “no theme” but NO THEME IS MY THEME.

You don’t need props. 

Some of my favorite Bookstagrammers don’t use props at all but because we’ve already established that I apparently have no talent for minimalistic pictures, I use them.

Using other books as props is my greatest joy. If you turn the pages to face the camera and stack them in the background, BOOM, interesting book stack. If you take other books from the author/series and toss them around casually in the picture, BOOM, cohesive scene setting.

Fake it ’till you make it. 

I think it’s a fluke that I have over 600 followers. I don’t even know how I got that lucky. I love all of my followers. 

It’s okay to be addicted to the likes. 

Likes make you want to take better pictures. They make you want to do and be better! As long as you’re not obsessed with them for the wrong reasons or so obsessed that you literally cannot function, wanting those likes is good! 

Interact with commenters and participate in the community!

Don’t just post and ghost. Get out there and comment! Respond to commenters on your posts. Ask questions in your captions! Make use of stories to get personal! Engage! Follow your favorite feeds and support newbies in the community!

The more you interact, the more fun being a Bookstagrammer is.