I'm 32 years old and an avid Harry Potter fan.
My favourite book from the Harry Potter series: Prisoner of Azkaban
My favourite characters: Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Harry Potter, Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore... I didn't really know what to make of Dumbledore in the first 4 books. But now, after OotP, he appears just as fallible as the others. He isn't omniscient, he makes mistakes but I truly believe that he wanted (and still wants) to protect Harry from every harm his connection with Voldemort could cause him. And that he finally showed some of the affection (and grief) he must be feeling for Harry simply touched me. And Snape... well, I guess not everything is as it appears after HbP.
I think that DH managed to bring the series to an ultimately satisfying conclusion but, frankly, to me the Potter-series lost some of its magic after book 4. Those first 4 parts will always have a special place in my heart, they set up such a high standard that the later 3 parts just failed to uphold.
Nonetheless, I'm still very much into fanfiction - perhaps because I see some of that promised potential better fulfilled in these works than in anything JKR managed to put forth. And honestly, I think JKR read too much fanfiction herself at times because some of her ideas awfully reminded me of what I've read quite a bit earlier here on this site...
So, since now every fanfic is categorically an AU, what stories do I prefer to read?
I LOVE stories where Sirius has to show his parental side towards Harry. Unlike in some stories I've read so far, I really think that Sirius escaped from Azkaban to care for Harry, not out of duty to James. If that were the case, then why risk detection while hoping to get a glimpse of Harry in Magnolia Crescent?
I also like Snape/Harry-mentor-stories very much. I think that Snape and Harry have much in common and once they overcome their mutual dislike they could be able to form a working relationship. Harry needs a firm hand to guide him - especially since he's so unwilling to place his trust in an adult figure and thinks he has to take on everything by himself - and I strongly believe that Snape needs to be pulled out of the hole he's been digging for himself his whole life.
In essence, stories have to contain:
lots of character-interaction
What I absolutely don't like to read:
spelling mistakes - sorry, but it's really a major annoyance if I have to figure out the words before being able to actually read the story
Now, I'd just like to list finished stories that I enjoyed a great deal, unfinished ones are still available in the favourite stories-part:
Never Alone, Never Again by Bored Beyond Belief
Recnac Transfaerso by Celebony
Alternate Ending to Recnac Transfaerso by Celebony
Broken Dreams by shadowarwen
Somewhere I Belong by shadowarwen
Hunting the Traitor by FairyTale
Midnight Guardian by ksomm814
Grim Dawn by Robin4
Fever by P.A.R.
Beyond the Heart by Lyssaphra
AU -- stories that stray from the books prior to OotP, mostly "What if"-stories (What if Sirius had escaped earlier? What if Sirius had remained the Potters' secret keeper? etc.)
I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did! And please feel free to notify me of any Sirius/Harry story you liked! I simply can't get enough of them!
If you're at all into "Lord of the Rings", then I recommend you read the "Mellon Chronicles" by Cassia&Siobhan (http://www.fanfiction.net/~cassia). They are based on the notion that Aragorn grew up as Elrond's foster son in Rivendell and that he has known Legolas since his youth. And those two get themselves caught up in every mishap imaginable! g Recently, they removed their stories from , but on the author page there still are links where to find them on the net.
And recently I stumbled across a fantastic Star Wars-AU by red rose knight which is based on the question what would have happened had Qui-Gon not died at the end of The Phantom Menace:
The Book of Paths:
An Uncertain Path
Lady FoxFire (57)
Pipes of Pan (2)
Piri Lupin-Snape (12)
Raven Dancer (18)
red rose knight (20)
Shy Snootles (28)
Star Polaris (16)