I remember the exact moment in my adulthood where the Harry Potter beast was reawakened inside me. During the summer of 2009, right before Half-Blood Prince came into theaters, a friend had convinced me that I needed to read the book before I saw the movie. That's right. I had not yet read Half-Blood Prince when the book had already been out for four years. SPOILER ALERT, an acquaintance in high-school let slip about a certain bearded wizard getting murdered in the book, so I hadn't been interested in picking it up until years later.
That summer, I was the nature specialist at my camp. I worked on a sunny hill that overlooked a lot of the camp. I remember reading this book to the point where my brain had to catch up with my eyes; so fast that I wasn't reading it at all, I was consuming it. In that week before Half-Blood Prince came into theaters, I finished the book and also Deathly Hallows while sitting barefoot in the sun on that hill. After seeing the movie, I read Deathly Hallows a second time, and then reread the entire series from Sorcerer's Stone all the way through. That was it. I was hooked.
I read the entire series back to back after that. No other books existed anymore. I was reading them any spare moment I had, and was listening to the audio books every time I had to go anywhere. Truth be told, every time I read the books now, I hear them in Jim Dale's voice in my head. I have since read, re-read, and listened to those books so many times that I have lost count. Probably close to in the fifties.
I think in the process in falling in love with Harry Potter, something struck me about having the books in the original form that they were printed in - Bloomsbury. I went on a hunt on eBay to have the set of books printed with the original children's artwork. I thought I would be fine with just these two sets of books in my life. I had no idea that I was going to be embarking on a five year journey, a journey that was completed today.
I made it my mission, my passion, to collect "ALL OF THE HARRY POTTER TRANSLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHER'S STONE IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!" But what did this mean? I didn't even know at first! I was originally fine collecting ANY book that was printed in a given language. That evolved into collecting the original cover art that each book was printed in. Again, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN???? Well, editions like Czech were printed with unique artwork for the first book and different artwork eventually for the whole series. While at first I obtained this translation with the cover art by Mary Grandpré, I would eventually need to get the original artwork for this translation.
Over the course of five years, with the help of fellow collectors and a buttload of research, I compiled my list of 88 translations, adaptations, and transliterations. I figured, what could be so hard? EVERYONE reads Harry Potter, so these books have to be everywhere! I started to collect the books in alphabetical order, or as they appeared to me. Afrikaans proved to be VERY difficult to find. That one took be a couple of years to track down. Asturian? FOUR AND A HALF YEARS to finally add this book to my shelves!
As of this time last year, I needed six more books to have them all. Almost all at once, Asturian, Macedonian, Greenlandic, Nepali, and Gujarati, made their way home. That left the ghost. Malayalam wasn't even originally considered one of the "Big 6," or one of the 6 hardest translations to come by. Up until recently, Faroese was on that list, but owing to a release of paperbacks, this book is no longer impossible to come by. We've (when I say we I mean myself and my fellow collectors) have been searching for this ghost for years.
I am thrilled to say, as of today, February 22, 2018, I now own all 88 translations, adaptations, and transliterations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Damn does it feel good.