OK, I haven't really earned that title yet, because I haven't gotten my hands on the book, so it's more like the post-post Harry Potter release blues. But I have to say that Friday night here in Champaign, Illinois was quite a happening place for someone who just came from Switzerland, where nothing much ever seemed to happen.
Yesterday, singer-songwriter Patty Larkin did an outdoor concert at the U.I. research park--a very nice space indeed, but oddly incongruous when you consider that Larkin and most of the other alt-music folks they have booked there are performing in an academic-corporate research park. But it was the kind of thing that reminds me of the strong sense of community here. You couldn't throw your voice without hitting someone you know. She was great, witty, a talented singer, but perhaps not in her finest voice because she had a cold.
Then I went home and cooled my heels for a couple of hours until it was time for the H.P. party. What fun--especially when we got to go home! I'm urging my son to finish his copy so that I can get my hands on it. And in the meantime, Caitlin bought an English language copy in Madrid this morning at 9:30 a.m. and finished it 12 hours later. She said that there was NO fanfare about the release in Madrid--a real disappointment to her. When she finished it, she said, she felt like someone had died. Not the characters in the book, of course (well, a bunch of them die, apparently), but this whole narrative that she and many of her friends had grown up reading. She said that one of the appeals of the series is not that it's the best YA fantasy series ever, but that there's this shared experience of reading something fun with your peers.
"Like the 'One Book' things you do for college, except you WANT to read it, right?" I asked.
"Exactly!" she said.
This warms my heart.