Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter Is Here!

My copy landed on the front porch with a "THWAP" at about 10:50 this morning. The UPS guy literally dropped it and ran. I'm sure this is a crazy day for him.

I now own first editions of Book I and Book VII — and nothing in between. People often find it hard to believe, given the nature of my work, that I haven't read the series. But I have not.

I eagerly started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when it was still hot off the press. (As I recall, I preordered that from Amazon, too.) At the time I had just landed a new in-house editorial position, and the job quickly turned into a nightmare. I ended up abandoning Harry before I'd even read 100 pages. I can still practically feel my hands going limp and setting aside the book late one evening, as the growing weight of my new job squashed my ability to concentrate on much of anything else. I wanted to quit almost from the start, but my husband and I were in the midst of purchasing our first home (having factored my nice new salary into the decision), and I decided to tough it out. Things simply could not be as bad as they seemed, I reasoned; and even if they were, they couldn't possibly stay that way for long.

My reasoning failed me (always go with your gut!), and life — and my career — took a bizarre 4-year detour. It all worked out, though, as things tend to do. I survived the turmoil, contributed to the company's success, did work to be proud of, and made a few good friends. So I have no regrets. Just lots of stories and a much stronger sense of the work I'm meant to do. Can't complain about that.

Thing is, I used to blame that job for interfering with one of my most basic joys as a book lover, children's book author-editor, reviewer, and creator of literature-based curriculum materials: the joy of relishing (and forming opinions about) an important work the minute it's introduced to the public. Naturally, since I didn't finish the first book, I never bought the second. I was so caught up in my own world that I barely noticed the hoopla surrounding the publication of the next few titles in the series.

But times have changed for me, as I'm sure they have for the boy wizard. It's a new era. Three weeks ago I jumped on Amazon's discount-price-and-free-delivery bandwagon. And now Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is here!

I started reading this morning. The first book, I mean. I'll make it to the final book soon. But in the meantime, I wouldn't dream of skipping ahead to the end!

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