I didn't discover the books right away. I was in college and had come home for a weekend, probably in the spring of 1999. My dad had checked the first two books out of Franklin County Library, and he handed them to me and said I needed to read them. I had never heard of them and he told me there was controversy around the books, and that I should read them and decide if the books were evil, promoting witchcraft, or if they were innocent, lovely books about good vs. evil.
I was hooked from the first chapter. I read both books that weekend, and then went back to college and opened an Amazon.com account, just so I could order my own copies, along with the 3rd book. I became a defender of the books, and anytime I heard someone talking about how evil they were and how they promoted witchcraft to children, I asked if they had read the books. Then when they had inevitably not, handed them a copy and told them to decide after they had read them for themselves.
Books 5, 6, and 7 were released later, when I was a young wife, working part-time as a tutor. I read the books along with my 7th and 8th grade students, all of us trying to figure out how the series would end.
I have reread the series a couple of times since, and of course, watched all the movies. The movies never lived up to the magic of the books, though.
Harry Potter will always be a big part of my young adulthood. The magical series took me through the huge transitions that happen to everyone at that age, from living away from home for the first time, to getting married and graduating college, to making decisions about where to live and what type of job to pursue.
I will always love the books, and I'm sure I'll read them again someday, but I envy those who have not yet read the books or seen the movies. They still have a wonderful world of magic and adventure to discover!