Saturday, July 21, 2007

Got it!

We went to a great Harry Potter party at Barnes and Noble last evening, from 8:00 to 9:30, with my friend Cheryl and her son Matthew. They had lots of crafts (make a wand, make a monster book, make a snitch) and most of the kids and many of the adults were in costume. I have some pictures but I'm having a computer issue, so I'll have to post those later. But we had a good time and then it started to get just a little crowded for my comfort, so we took off.

I headed over to Wal-Mart at about 11:30, thinking I'd just waltz in and grab a book, but the line was out the door and across the front of the store! The ladies in front of me said they'd been past the two big bookstores in town, Barnes and Noble and Borders, and there were hundreds and hundreds of people in line, so I just stayed put at Wal-Mart. I think we had maybe 200 people there at the most.

Once midnight hit, they started moving us through pretty quickly, so I only had to spend 40-45 minutes in line, and it was pleasant. Nice and cool outside, and I chatted a bit with the people around me. Everyone was happy and excited.

I took pictures at B&N, but I wish I'd thought to take my camera to Wal-Mart and get a shot of the promotional poster, and the HUGE pallet stacked with books behind the register!

Now the book sits downstairs, waiting for me to come down and crack it open. Part of me is dying to, and part of me doesn't want to start the journey to the end of the series. Silly, no? It's just a kids' book.

But obviously it's more than just a kids' book to all the people standing in lines last night. I know people who aren't interested in the books are sick of the hype and can't understand what the hoopla is about. And even if they could possibly understand why little kids are excited, they certainly can't see why grown adults should act so silly about the whole thing.

I figured out what the reason is, for me, anyway. It's not very often, as an adult, that you get to re-live the good feelings you had as a kid. For me, many of those good feelings came from books and from being swept away in a story and feeling like what I was reading about could really be real, somehow. It's hard to describe that feeling, but if you were an avid child reader, then maybe you know what I'm talking about. Maybe it's similar to the feeling some grown-ups get at Disneyworld--the wonder of looking out through their childhood eyes, if only for a little while.

That, to me, is the joy of the Harry Potter books, and I'll never forget reading the first one, on the porch of a bed-and-breakfast in Maine in 2000. Since we didn't have kids and our only nephew was just a toddler, we weren't clued in to the Harry Potter phenomenon until midway through the series. We were on vacation and just starting to hear the excitement about the fourth book coming out the following month, so I picked up the first two books on a lark for some light vacation reading.

And I was hooked!

Anyway, I guess I'll go down and have some breakfast and get started reading. I don't want to, but I can't wait!