J.K. Rowling. I am once again reading all 7 HP books to prepare myself for The Cursed Child (which I’m very lucky to have tickets to next fall). As I listen to the outstanding narration by Jim Dale (hands down, the best narrator of all time, in my opinion), I’m again struck by the brilliance of J.K. Every detail, every word, every sentence, combine to tell the story in a way that entertains, fascinates, and teaches the reader something about humanity, human nature, and imagination. Rather than detailing how my memories of my kids growing up are completely intertwined with the HP books–from listening on the drive to school, to bedtime can’t-put-it-down-until-we-get-through-the-scary-part reading, to planning vacations so we could hit up a book store at midnight on release days–I’m going to just leave you with her 2008 Harvard Commencement address. If the title alone doesn’t capture your interest (“The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination”), here’s the first paragraph: “The first thing I would like to say is ‘thank you.’ Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I have endured at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and convince myself that I am at the world’s largest Gryffindor reunion.” … and it just goes uphill from there! From this Ravenclaw (I’ve only recently come to terms with being a Ravenclaw rather than a Gryffindor, by the way), THANK YOU, J.K. Rowling, for igniting our imaginations with your imagination.