We’re down to mere hours before Harry Potter Mania peaks with the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (at 12:01 am to be exact.) I have to admit that I’m as excited as a 12-year-old. It’s not just because the book itself is coming out, it’s also the anticipation leading up to it. I love the fact that so much hype and excitement is building up around the release of a BOOK!
A BOOK! Not some creepy celebrity freak show. Not a corporate shillmeister sporting event or a movie that’s like every other mindless action flick that’s come before it, but a book! Words and sentences and reading and imagination! That I can get behind 100%.
I just love the community aspect that surrounds each release of a new HP book. Two years ago, when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out, everywhere I went that weekend I saw people of all ages clutching a copy of the book. Everywhere. In cafes, park benches, the El, there were people (mostly adults) reading HP. I imagine this is what the creators of One Book One City had in mind, only in this case it’s One Book One Planet. Awesome.
In this day and age (and at my age) it’s rare to find yourself caught up in the magic and spirit of something like this. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. It reminds me of The Old Curiosity Shop, written by Charles Dickens in 1841 and released in serial form. With the heroine Little Nell’s life hanging in the balance, thousands of eager readers crowded the docks of New York to get their hands on the final installment. I understand how they felt.