Friday, July 15, 2005

Harry who?

Just got back from a quick trip to Barnes & Noble, where I bought a graduation gift and had myself a peaceful cup of coffee all by my kid-free self, and I can report that Harry Potter mania is in full swing on this eve of HP6. Someone was distributing green wristbands and Harry glasses, presumably to mark folks' place in line, and the store was all set to stay open well past its usual 11 p.m. closing for the midnight sales start. You know, I'm as big a supporter of children's literature and literacy as the next overinvolved parent, but this Potter phenomenon I just do not get. I'm sure the books are wonderful, if you like that sort of thing, but all this folderol every single time a new volume comes out? People, it's just a book. Your bookstore is going to have hundreds and hundreds in stock. Why are you lining up at midnight? Why is Harry the top story everywhere, in every newspaper, on every Web site, in every blog ... oops.

I guess one of the reasons I'm so puzzled by Pottermania is that my own personal children could not be less interested. For them, and kids like them, I put a "Not Wild About Harry?" list of Potter alternatives on my site. Regardless of how your kids feel about the boy wizard, you can still vote in my survey, "What are your plans for the new Harry Potter?" ("Ignore it" is an option). And, although you probably have to be an Entertainment Weekly subscriber to use it, you can try this really amusing "Harry Potter Story Generator." Reading about Voldemort disguised as Tom Cruise may not have quite the magic of that doorstop-sized novel, but it'll do me.

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