...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

'you don't have to love me...'

In the event you've been recently reincarnated or broken free from some cloistered banishment, let me catch you up on a little bit of news: The seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" - will be released at midnight Saturday!!

I add that extra exclamation point for the benefit of all those who've been quivering with anticipation for months about the culmination of 10 years of literary dominance this boy wizard has had on the world, and not because I'm a big fan of multiple punctuation marks. In *my* book, there is only the need for one thing in multiples. But now is not the time to drag things down to that level of thinking.

(Which, admittedly, is terribly hard for me, but even saying that has the potential to make me want to drag things down, and I only do that sporadically around here and more so when leaving my mark on the rest of you)

OK. Now it's time to share a little more news with you. A secret of such shame that I'm sure in the dark ages it would have resulted in my being burned alive at the stake or stoned to death. At the very least - and much less dramatic - maybe it would have prompted the immediate removal of my street cred as a bookseller:

I couldn't give a rip about Harry Potter.

Wow! It feels really good to type that. I can't say it to customers - some of whom have been genuinely weepy at the prospect of no new Harry Potter tomes after this week. Mostly I'm talking about the teenage boy who got all shaky when I reserved his copy for him and he admitted that his MySpace could be found by searching for "Wizard Lover," (In retrospect, I am hoping he was referring to his fondness for Harry Potter and not something else), and the countless women and men who have grown up reading these novels. Some genuinely want to read them. Others look as though they're succumbing to peer pressure. But all of them ask me if I can't wait until the seventh book is released. When asked, I can only smile and quietly cheer, "It's almost here!" so as not to engage them in battle at the risk of offending them. "We all have our opinions about them," I say.

I know. I know. If you enjoy the books because they've added to your already established love of reading, or if they've perhaps pulled you back into reading, then good on you. I truly can appreciate the power of a book to bring out the enthusiastic nature we all have about a character or a subject, and I am quite taken by the devotion to reading these books have had on children. Let me clarify two things:


  • I love books - in fact, there are some I'd probably roll around naked in, I love them that much.
  • I love reading - I was a moody teenager. Books were my survival. I've a long list of books I carry around with me when the opportunity to hunt down a title arises. Because I'm still moody.

However, I can't think of one book or series of books I've ever read where I've been so captured by the characters or the story that I've engaged in countdowns, plot outlines or played guessing games as to who may or may not die when the final page is turned.

(Perhaps I'm just too taken in by the imaginary love I feel rock stars have for me to give that much devotion to a fictional character. Let me push Michael Hutchence's hair out of my mouth and roll over to ask Bono what he thinks of my theory while trying not to wake up my 80s-era manifestations of Simon LeBon and John Taylor)

Before you raise your wands in an uproar, let me add that I have read the first four Potter books. In fact, I own the six released to date, and I had (have) grand plans to read them with my sons over the last year. But wow, life and whatnot! Really gets in the way! And dang if those books don't get longer!

I've not seen the various Harry Potter movies, either. I subscribe to the theory that the book is always better than the movie, and, well, what with my delays (i.e. "lack of interest"/"lack of commitment") in reading the books, you can see my quandary. Plus, dang if those movies aren't long!

I feel my confession to you comes justifiably. We've pimped this book for months, long before a title was ever released. It's been like getting ready for Christmas again immediately after you've put everything from this year's Christmas away. In preparing for Friday's grand celebrations preceding the official release time of 12:01 a.m Saturday, I've attended crowd control meetings and have had to sign lengthy "don't" lists that bar me from discussing the number of books we may have on hand, seeing the boxes within which the books are packaged, or touching the boxes in the event I accidentally stumble upon them (or perhaps not so accidentally with the aid of my cloak of invisibility! I toss that last bit in as proof that I'm not a total Harry Potter avoider). We've also been warned not to photograph the shipment boxes, and remove ourselves immediately should the media try to suck us in for information.

Additionally, I've weighed in on management conversations regarding the best place to hide the books when they finally arrive at the store. As you can imagine, the great "water damage versus fire" debate is a tough battle when you're looking to unload thousands of dollars worth of long awaited merchandise. Once that issue was figured out, the next conundrum was what to do about the rumored stampede of spoil sports who, according to the great all knowing Internet, plan to purchase their books, skip immediately to the final chapter and then run through bookstores yelling out the ending so as to ruin the final book for the normal people who have waited two years for this release and like to read their books from the beginning.

Quite honestly, it wouldn't surprise me to learn there will be counselors standing by at the store Friday evening to assist readers through the demise of this series. Should such be the case, maybe I'll talk to them about whether they believe in reincarnation, for I suppose there's a chance I could come back as someone who does give a rip about the fate of Harry Potter. Or a moody teenager with enough time to absorb nearly 800 pages without skipping immediately to the end.

But trust me, these seven books are not any I'd be rolling around naked in. Because even though I couldn't give a rip about Harry Potter, I've obviously given enough to post this entry. And the rolling around naked in them? Well, admittedly, that quirk is just odd, and maybe I should just leave that to "WizardLover" so he can share it on his MySpace..

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10 Comments:

Blogger Stacie said...

I just don't get it. Harry Potter mania....I just don't get it. My kids love the books, but not THAT much. They'll wait till Christmas to read the last one because they know G-ma will probably get it for them and they don't want to spoil it for her. I love to read, all genre's, but I have yet to read a single word for the HP series. I just can't bring myself to do it.
And the training you go thru for the release...OH BROTHER! We should train so well for terrorismy attacks... That would make me crazy..
Stacie

Monday, July 16, 2007 6:42:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Hear Hear! I salute you, m'dear - I've found that as a general rule, the item is not nearly as cool as the hype would have you believe.

Monday, July 16, 2007 7:47:00 AM  
Blogger cat said...

I applaud this post. As a (recent) former bookseller (and boy do I miss being a bookseller... sigh) I too, did not get the Pottermania that was hitting the world. I was in the Book World for the first 6 books, this will be my first year not being a part of all of that. The first 4 books I was in a normal retail type place and the last 2 I was in a University bookstore.

I don't get all a-twitter with anticipation over the release of a new one though. Never did. Working at midnight? Not my thing. The books were fun in the beginning (I am a huge Young Adult Lit fan), but they have become increasingly irritating, dull and LONG. I honestly don't give a hoot about this last book, but I will read it because it is the LAST book and I can finally put this series to rest (just like watching the last episodes of Buffy and Charmed, I had stopped caring by then BUT I needed to make sure they were done! Dead and buried! ha!)

I am an oddity in that I am a Canadian and I have been collecting the US mass market editions of the book. So I will not even be buying my copy of the final book for about 2 years... I will just borrow it from a friend of mine so I can read it and then own my own copy possibly some time in 2009. :)

I am just happy to see someone else not give a hoot either that works in the bookworld. So, thank you!

Monday, July 16, 2007 8:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Well, it looks like you need a dissenting voice around here, so I'll add mine. I admit, I was skeptical about the Harry Potter books and their crazy buzz. I didn't start reading them until after book 4 came out. And then I was hooked. HOOKED. Not stand-in-line-at-midnight-waiting-for-a-copy hooked, but hooked. While my teeny, tiny preemie twins were in the hospital and I sat at their bedsides waiting for them to be strong enough to come home, I read Harry Potter 6 to them. And I cried like a little baby at the end of that book, like my best friend had died.

I've always been an avid -- make that rabid -- reader, and I tend to get way too caught up in the worlds and characters of my favorite books. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter -- I live in these worlds.

Harry Potter isn't just hype. It's an incredible story that appeals to kids and adults alike, and it has brought a love of reading to an entire generation. (Including my autistic brother, who had never been interested in reading fiction before.) But you know that. And you don't have to love it. It's not for everyone. We Harry Potter fans have to try to remember that every now and then.

And now I'll end my comment that's the length of a J.K. Rowling novel!

Monday, July 16, 2007 8:33:00 AM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

I actually thought about you yesterday. My 12 year old and I went to a B&N bookstore to pick up a book for his summer reading project for school. We are HP fans. We saw the new movie on Tuesday and the book will be purchased sometime next weekend. The 17 year old (who has read the entire series up to this point at least 3 times)will read it completely within a week and will then turn it over to his little brother who will take a few days longer to finish. I'm behind...way behind, as in only got through book 3. All of that being said, all of the hype at B&N was ridiculous. I thought to myself...this must be driving FADKOG crazy!

Monday, July 16, 2007 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I'm all about being anti-establishment, therefore I have not read any of the Harry Potter books... Nor do I even have a MySpace account, for that matter.

And that's how I stick it to The Man.

I do, however, have many friends with 8-14 year old children. And I spent MANY years working in libraries. So it's quite possible I've heard a thing or two from Potter-obsessed tweens.

With the videogame obsession of our young culture, I'd hate to discourage reading... But I still strangely feel the need to slap some of these kids and tell them to get a life.

Monday, July 16, 2007 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Well, I guess I won't bring my potter books along for our trip. ;)

I love them! They make me feel like a kid again...when I used to go to the library and read all of the Hitchcock three investigators series with Jupiter Jones and the like. I am not so into the hype that I would ever dress up, or camp out or any of that nonsense...but, admittedly--I ordered my copy on amazon back in february. But, given my recent record on reading books...I most likely will add it to the shelf to collect dust. The horror.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 6:12:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Stacie - I've tried to get the whole Harry Potter thing, but honestly, I can't even bring myself to say the words "Harry Pottermania" outloud, so I'm thinking I shouldn't even tackle that challenge. Which was tough for me last night when the woman seated next to me at yet another "Planning for Friday" meeting told me she had a Harry Potter scrapbook.

Emily - Sometimes I'm my own worse hype, so I completely know of what you speak...

Cat - Welcome! Good to see new fces. Nocturnal has this keen ability, it would seem, to make a neighborhood grow. Even more cool to see a new face who used to be a bookseller. I hear once you go book, you never go back. However, you can admit surprise when you learn that Canadians have to wait for the books?! I'd no idea! My admission? I buy them in paperback at the Scholastic warehouse sales on the way cheap!

Kelly - Yeah to hear from you! Yeah, too, that even though you think you gave me a Rowling-length comment, I love the fact that you didn't give me a complete synopsis of the books as she tends to in the early stages of each new book. I understand why, and I shouldn't complain, having only read the first four and all, but I think I was partly hung up on all that. I imagine at some point in my life, I'll give it another go. I often go into my oldest son's room and pull one out of the bookcase, thinking I'll start and be ready so as not to have the utter ending learned before my chance is made to read it, but then my eyes scan down to that nearly 900 page book five and I get sweats! It sounds as though you have reading plans in place for the weekend!

Chrissy - Ah! My first reader admission that they think of me when they're not here! Sweet! The hype in the stores is a bit of overkill, isn't it? Trust me, we've been that way for nearly a year.

FTN - You rebel. Can I moon over you as you ride off into the sunset on your motorcycle? Maybe get a tattoo and whisper your name to the horizon? You are a legend.

Fair is fair, Billie Jean...

Nanette - You read, I'll drive and dance. Then we'll switch off. And I'll probably sneak a few glances at your books while you're driving. I promise not to bend the corner of the pages.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 1:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Nocturnal said...

Something tells me the HP movies rock, but I'm holding off until they stop making them. Then going to buy the DVD set and watch a whole weekend back to back. You day job is definitely a purk when it comes to HP.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Nocturnal - When you buy them, let me borrow them, eh? Because it will be like the "LOTR" series, too, I'm sure. Two hundred different versions released over the years.

Or I suppose you could just invite me over and I'd watch them there. You're place is darker, anyway. Better viewing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 2:06:00 PM  

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