I did something unprecedented. For me, at least. I pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from amazon.com. In my previous location, pre-ordering was far from necessary since there'd still be dozens of copies at the local Wal-Mart two days after it's release. I guess Harry isn't as big an item in the South. I debated over this for weeks, since pre-ordering requires you pay shipping if you want the book to arrive on the day it's released and I'm morally opposed to paying shipping. My other option was to go to a book release party at this really great bookstore where I live. It's the kind of bookstore that started in someone's garage or something and now has author signings and other such cool events. They are also having a party starting a few hours before release day, with the books being handed out at midnight. I have to admit the geekiness quotient large enough to have always wanted to go to one of these. But with small children, I have once again opted to skip the party. Sigh. I wasn't willing to take the risk of just going to a local store and hoping to pick up a book. Too risky. So I pre-ordered. I coughed up the extra $3.99 for shipping. But I felt better when I realized that I still was paying less than getting my copy at the bookstore party. What can I say, I'm cheap!
The end of the Harry Potter books has me in a bit of a depression. I didn't discover the series until the first four books were already out, so I haven't been able to savor the stories for years on end. When book five came out, I re-read the first four. When book six came out, I re-read book four and listened to book five on CD from the library. There's about 30 CDs for the book, so it was a hefty package getting it home from the library. The man who reads the books, Jim Dale, is absolutely fantastic. I noticed that with my stack of CDs, there was one cassette tape. I thought that was odd, but figured they had lost a CD and dubbed it onto a tape. I was happily listening along when I got to the tape. I popped it in and what should I hear but a very southern drawl of a familiar librarian reading aloud where Jim Dale had left off. The effect was so startling that it was like biting into something bitter. I yanked the tape out of my stereo, put in the next CD to figure out what I missed and just read it from the book instead. Listen to Jim Dale and you'll know why nothing else quite measures up.
Back to being depressed that this is it. These books are such great stories, such riveting characters that I feel like I know these people. The only consolation is that there's still three movies to go. And that can drag this on for another three or four more years. I hope the actors don't start looking too old. It's creepy enough that Daniel Radcliffe bared all for his play in London without him having a five o'clock shadow and a receding hairline when he battles Voldemort for the final time.
The point of all this is that I'm excited. I can't wait to see what happens, can't wait to find out how this whole story wraps up. I'm sure I'll blog like crazy afterwards, but I'll wait a week or so, just to make sure I don't spoil it for slower readers. Just to warn you, though, don't read my blog after July 21st until you've read Harry Potter. I can only hold back so long.