Friday, 28 January 2011


Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. Remus Lupin
I'm collecting these handsome new editions of the Harry Potter series for my daughters and I couldn't resist a quick re-read of my favourite Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I believe that the evil hooded Dementors and the way they operate - sucking all positive thoughts from the body - are based on J K Rowling's own experiences of post-natal depression. Evidence, if it were needed, of the sophistication of her writing and how it can appeal on many levels.

I was reading a transcript of JK's interview with Oprah and I was struck by her comment 'writing is essential for my mental health.' Now I don't write but I do believe that reading is essential for my mental health. Browsing through book blogs I suspect that the same is true for others - we don't read as a hobby, we read as an essential part of our well-being. I'd be interested in your thoughts whether you read, write, create, craft or bake.


Steph said...

So pretty! I didn't realize they were already re-releasing these books. Love the update!
(My personal favorite in the series is book four!)

Constance Reader said...

As someone who has suffered depression in the past, I was TOTALLY struck by the Dementor description. It's obvious that Rowling knew it firsthand, from that.

Love the watercolor-esque cover art on these new editions!

Anbolyn (Cousins Read) said...

These are gorgeous editions! I agree with your idea about depression and reading. I suffered from severe depression as a teen and that is when I started my relationship with books. Literature was the only thing that made me feel alive for much of those years. And during my adult bouts of depression I've felt the same way. Reading is not just a past time for me - it is a necessity for good mental health!

callmemadam said...

I hadn't seen those nice editions. Lucky you, to have an excuse for buying them! I couldn't justify it.

Agree totally about reading and mental health. Why else do we so often talk about 'comfort reading'?

Lilacs In May said...

Lovely covers.
I think you have really hit on something here.
I started reading for my mental health when I was very young, it gave me somewhere else to go.

Anonymous said...

I could no sooner stop reading, or writing, or baking (or eating, haha) then I could stop breathing. I must, must always have a book in line for the one I will finish reading. I'm a bookoholic, I know.

Thanks. I needed that.

What a beautiful cover this is. I, too, did not realize the books were being reprinted.

Mae said...

What a beautiful edition and Azkaban is my favourite book in the series.

I agree about reading, writing, baking, etc as emotional release and mental wellness. Just like runners get their runner's high, I think we get our reader's high. :-)

Tanya said...

Reading is such a part of me ~ it baffles me that there are people out there that don't read, don't hoard books or visit libraries ... just can't get my mind around that!! I've always loved to read.

Your blog is a delight - I adore Jane Austen - will add your linky to mine.

Happy Reading!

potterjotter said...

I think when you feel down, the thing that you're most passionate about, be it reading or,for me, making pottery, will always lift you.

A Bookish Space said...

I certainly agree that reading is good for your mental health. I simply couldn't imagine not reading - what a lonely place I would be in. With books, I always have someone to keep me company, and there are so many that whatever mood I am in, I can find a book to meet that need. My boyfriend is away for the week, so I am feeling quite lonely and a bit heartsore, so The Thorn Birds is keeping me same and giving me the romantic, aching escapism that I need.

Bellezza said...

Love the cover of this edition! I'll always be indebted to J.K. Rowling for how she turned the reluctant readers in my classroom to real readers. What an incredible feat, all because she 'has to write'...and aren't we all blessed because of it? I think you're right: bloggers have to express themselves, too, or we couldn't sustain the effort of our blogs. For me, writing what is on my heart, and reading others' blogs, has become a critical aspect of my life. I don't journal so much, but in a way, blogging has replaced it. Lovely that it can be a reciprocal activity, too.

Frances said...

Now that is a really lovely edition! And it just so happens that this is one of my two favorites in the series too. And so agree about the sophistication of her writing. As my children have gotten older, they have enjoyed reading a little deeper in this series and exploring the derivations of the characters and their names, etc.

Vintage Reading said...

Steph, yes I'm fond of Book 4, too. I think I like Azkaban best, because of Sirius Black, one of my favourite characters.

Constance, yes, I think there is a lot more to JK than meets the eye. A wonderful writer.

Anbolyn, yes, I had a brush with post-natal depression and reading saw me through, Nice to know that we have a resource to help us!

Callmemadam, yup, I find that as I get older I turn more to Austen for any kind of reading sustenance, rather than the Nancy Mitford/Dodie Smith I turned to when I was younge. Strange how your comfort reads change.

Lilacs in May, interesting point, I wonder how many of us readers got into the habit of reading for our well-being at a young age?

lifeonthecuff, it's so nice that us bookaholics can get together, even if only virtually!

Mae, yes, it's a shame that reading doesn't burn as many calories though!

Tanya, always particularly lovely to meet an Austen fan. Thank you so much for visiting.

potterjotter - it must be so satisfying to create the beautfiul pieces I've seen on your site.

A Bookish Space, coincidence, I picked up a copy of The Thorn Birds in a bookshop the other day and then put it back - let me know how you get on with it.

Bellezza, oh yes, I think the best blogs are those who blog as a form of self-expression rather than those who blog for commercial gain/celebrity.

Frances, yes I'm a huge admirer of JK. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

LizF said...

I hadn't really thought about it before, but yes you're right both about needing to read for the sake of my mental health and also about the Dementors.
I certainly feel quite ruffled if I don't get chance for a reasonably long read each day, and having experienced post natal depression with two of my four children, the effect the Dementors have certainly brings back unpleasant memories.
I like the look of the new covers and would be very tempted especially as our copies are decidedly battered now!

Anonymous said...

I saw these editions at the bookstore. I think the covers rather appeal to adults more than children, hm?

And touché, reading IS essential to my mental health, just like you!

Anonymous said...

that's a gorgeous edition, i had no idea that they were releasing new editions. and like rowling says, i find writing essential to my mental health - and like you say, reading as well.

btw, this is my first visit to your blog and i'm so happy that i wound up here! i'm looking forward to reading more of your posts, especially because a lot of them are about authors i haven't read but have been meaning to.

-- ellen

Anonymous said...

Those are beautiful editions! I want them!

Margin Notes Books said...

I saw these new editions recently and admired the artwork.

As for reading, it's simply an essential part of life. Much like caffeine.