Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Released in the UK
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling and featuring Harry Potter, a young wizard.
It describes how Harry discovers he is a wizard, makes close friends and a few enemies at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and with the help of his friends thwarts an attempted comeback by the evil wizard Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents and tried to kill Harry when he was one year old.
The book was published on 30 June 1997 by Bloomsbury in London. It won most of the UK book awards that were judged by children, and other awards in the USA. The book reached the top of the New York Times list of best-selling fiction in August 1999, and stayed near the top of that list for much of 1999 and 2000.
Most reviews were very favourable, commenting on Rowling's imagination, humour, simple, direct style and clever plot construction, although a few complained that the final chapters looked rushed. The writing has been compared to that of Jane Austen, one of Rowling's favourite authors, of Roald Dahl, whose works dominated children's stories before the appearance of Harry Potter, and of the Ancient Greek story-teller Homer. While some commentators thought the book looked backwards to Victorian and Edwardian boarding school stories, others thought it placed the genre firmly in the modern world by featuring contemporary ethical and social issues.