Monday, July 23, 2007

Strange days

On Friday we did something a bit unusual - we actually made a trip to the book store.

For me, it's nostalgic. The uber-convenience of Amazon has destroyed most practical reasons to travel to a building full of books, and I am nothing if not a slave to convenience. But I've found a few good authors by just wandering through the fiction section and picking up a book because the cover looked interesting. It's also nice to be able to turn to random pages and get a feel for the author's style in different situations. It makes me chuckle to remember the frustration of digging through the shelves to find the third book in a series of eight, behind multiple copies of the seven you don't need.

But anyway, that's not why we went. The kids enjoy the trip, and they get a lot more out of free-range browsing than they do from searching by author on a website. There's also a little play area, where mom and dad can take turns preventing Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-related injuries while the other one browses in relative relaxation.

Little did we realize what we were in for.

It seems like everyone else in the world knew that Friday was the day the Harry Potter book was being released. Technically, it was Saturday at midnight, but by Friday at 7pm the store was packed with children and adults alike, dressed up in wizard's robes and Gryffyndor regalia. Signup for wristbands was going on outside - it had started at 5pm - the wristbands that guaranteed you a place in line when the books were handed out at midnight. At 7pm the activities started - of course you'd need activities to kill the five remaining hours before the book was released - and our kids actually waded through the crowds to take advantage of said activities, even though they'd never heard of Harry Potter before.

It's difficult to withhold a snicker as you pass adults, dressed as wizards, arguing about the significance of the numbers on their wristbands, as they wait 5+ hours to buy a children's book. As my wife quickly reminded me though, I'm hardly in a position to cast stones at fantasy geeks, as I (not too long ago) played Dungeons & Dragons, and even once attended an Everquest convention. But I'm willing to write off those incidents as youthful indiscretions and besides, I never dressed up as a shadowknight. I swear.

Anyway, it all makes me wonder if possibly I'm missing something. I generally dismiss any craze that reaches the mainstream offhand, so I was surprised to see such a strong endorsement of the series from Stephen King. Rowling's storytelling is apparently superb, and although it may not come through in the movies (I've only seen the first one, and it was blandly juvenile), it's good enough to draw raves from one of the best storytellers of our time, and draw freaks to the bookstore in large numbers.

Oh well, you could certainly find worse ways to spend a Friday night. And although I'm not likely to spend a lot of time in public wearing a conical hat with stars and moons on it, maybe someday I'll pick up a Harry Potter book and see what all the fuss is about.


At 2:25 PM, Blogger millhousethecat said...

Were you implying that a "worse way to spend Friday night" was to read my blog?

Is this how you show someone you like them?

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Sweet Tea said...

Your interpretation is funnier than the truth, so yes.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger millhousethecat said...


At 5:44 PM, Blogger millhousethecat said...

I think this is one of those situations that would be best rectified with a Hallmark card that has heartfelt sentiments handwritten inside.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Sweet Tea said...

Were you planning to send me that card from Hawaii?

At 9:25 PM, Blogger millhousethecat said...

Dammit, dammit, dammit!

Stop it, sweettea. I know you're sweet on me. Stop playing games and send me the fucking card.


At 9:50 PM, Anonymous rbohn said...

if only we had a time machine:

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous rbohn said...

ok. Apparently, I should have attend Waqar's html class....let's try this again.

If only we had a time machine

At 10:50 PM, Blogger millhousethecat said...

Stay outta this, rbohn...unless you're sending a card.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger MarkRebuck said...

[snip]maybe someday I'll pick up a Harry Potter book and see what all the fuss is about.

Hurry! When I went at 11:00AM Saturday, the Barnes and Noble near me had a mere five or six thousand copies left.


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