Last summer, when the final installment of the Harry Potter series came out, I was in San Francisco with Joel. Even though he isn't much of a reader, he willingly went with me to find a bookstore that was having a midnight release party. We searched an unknown city and finally found a good party, stood in line till nearly 1:00 am, drove back to our hotel where he crashed and I stayed up reading as long as I could.
The next morning, we left San Francisco and headed out to Lake Tahoe for a family reunion (I, of course, threw my propensity to car sickness out the window, and read until the road got too full of twisty turns). I had to laugh, because everywhere I went in Tahoe, there were people reading the book. I counted over 10 people reading on a small beach, 4 family members (including me) were reading every chance we could, and only conversed together to talk about the book, and I saw people reading in restaurants as they ate. I thought it was the coolest thing that the whole world was joining together for a book, and I was kind of sad that it would be the last time that ever happened.
Of course, at the time, I had only heard of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I didn't have much interest in reading the saga, even though I had a few obsessed friends and everyone seemed to be talking about it. But, a month after I finished Harry Potter 7, I had a birthday, was given a gift certificate to a bookstore, and I bought the first one so I could finally see what all the hullabaloo was about.
I didn't like it, I'll admit. I was very underwhelmed...I think perhaps with all the hype, I expected to be transfigured on the spot. However, I knew it was her first book, and the story was intriguing, so a few months later I got around to reading the next two installments. Still didn't like them much, but I can see why people do. (My reasons for not liking the series are varied and many, if you want to know, ask me.)
I actually did go to a midnight release party the other night for Breaking Dawn. I went with my Twilight obsessed fanatical sister-in-law, and it was fun. Even if I basically failed the extremely difficult quiz they made us take. Anyway, I caved and bought the book. (Again, if you want to know what I thought....ask. All I'll say here, is that I sincerely hope that we don't have that awful name on the top ten list next year.)
Again, I've been seeing it everywhere. On blogs, of course. I've been hearing my young women talk about it, eavesdropping on random people in the store discussing it and seeing it analyzed to death on message boards. I even saw a couple people with it at the play I went to see on Saturday afternoon. And I still think it's so fun to have the world come together over a book.
Maybe we really can achieve world peace. At least, maybe we could if JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer were writing the treaty.