Well, I may be years behind the times, but I have finally joined that vast swathe of reading folk who have delved into the school based adventures of a pre-pubescent magical acolyte.
There was once a review of The Lord Of The Rings that (perhaps paraphrased) said "The literary world is divided into those who have read LOTR, and those who are going to."
Amongst book readers the attitude seems to have been more divisive, those who have read and love Harry Potter, and those who were unwilling to touch the series with a bargepole. I wasn't really in the latter category though, my main reason for avoiding the publishing phenomena of the century has been that I have seen all the Harry Potter films, and I usually think it is a mistake to read the book after seeing the film, the book should always come first.
Everyone around me seems to have read the books, my wife has, my waitresses have been nagging me for months to get Potterised, even chef Phil who up until recently has read very little, has read and enjoyed the series.
So, I have managed the opening two books in the series, The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber Of Secrets, and they're not bad at all, in fact they are pretty good as children's books go, nice characters (if you can wrench your mind away from the actors faces), a decent and well paced plot, obvious and not so obvious bad guys, they were both good, the second book better than the first. I'm already well into book three, The Prisoner Of Azkaban, but I may pause after reading that one in order to finish off the two Ambrose Bierce books I have recently purchased (Complete Short Stories and The Devil's Dictionary), and I picked up Hunter S Thompson's Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas this morning which rolls along at such a drug fulled frenzied pace that it demands to be read, right now, whilst taking your own body weight in LSD and toad sweat.
Note to Georgie & Paula - now that you have persuaded me to read Potter, you must yourselves read Watchmen, because if Rowling is good, then Moore is God.