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Toastmasters brings Harry Potter magic to Binghamton University muggles

By : Sandy Paniccia

Star Latronica, youth services coordinator for the Four County Library system, adds some extra drama while reading the final pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone. The live reading was organized by the Toastmasters Club.
Listeners young and old sat back in Hinman College this past Saturday and Sunday to hear the complete story of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone read aloud and organized by the Leaders and Learners Toastmasters Club at Binghamton. Readers from on and off campus, some dressed in character, hosted the event and read chapters from the book in two four-hour segments.

The book follows the adventures of 11-year-old Harry, a boy wizard, as he attends Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is the creation of J.K. Rowling, whose series of Harry Potter books have been published in at least 55 languages, distributed in more than 200 countries and translated to the silver screen.

Readers offered their own unique renditions of the classic story about the boy wizard. “Some people read in a dramatic style, almost acting out the parts,” said Hilton Baxter, program coordinator for the center of Learning and Teaching and one of the founders of the club. “Others read in a fairly straight style.”

The entire book was read by Sunday at 5 p.m. Reader Trudi Marrapodi, who dressed as Professor Minerva McGonagall, enjoyed her 15 minutes of reading. “The idea appealed to me because I’m a huge Harry Potter fan,” said Marrapodi, publications editor in the Office of Communications and Marketing. “The series speaks to the imagination — not just for children but for adults too.”

During upcoming weeks, club officers will meet to discuss future book readings. “One participant suggested we read Watership Down next,” Baxter said. “But it’s too early to decide what book or when.” For those who are wild about Harry, Trista Merrill, adjunct professor, teaches a Harry Potter course through the English Department’s Distance Learning curriculum. For more information, call 777-2169.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08