The dogs began barking feverishly at the door Saturday morning (during the first individual time trial of the Tour de France no less!). It was the delivery of our copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows that we had ordered from Amazon months and months ago. Sadly, it did not arrive by owl but by a clearly humorless UPS lady. Mrs. Cayenne has been reading feverishly ever since.
It was reported last week in The Guardian that a British children’s telephone counseling service will have additional grief counselors on hand to help children cope with the book. If the reactions of my wife and my mother are any guide, it was a sound decision. Apparently there is death, persecution, torment, and grief aplenty. And that’s just in the first few hundred pages. As far as I know, Harry is still alive. Michiko Kakutani called the series a “seven-volume bildungsroman.” If it viewed as an epic coming-of-age story, Rowling seems to be pretty clearly asserting that growing up sucks.
I did feel a little guilty about having the book dropped in my lap by a corporate behemoth rather than purchasing the book at one of my fine local, independent book sellers. However, having the book delivered on the first day is a tradition, and you don’t mess with tradition. To ease our consciences, we set out Saturday to purchase some Amazon Harry Offsets.
First stop was the Little Shop of Stories. In addition to having the best children’s book selection in town and giant over-stuffed couches for reading, LSoS also serves ice cream. L’il Cayenne could spend the rest of her life there. LSoS hosted a book release party starting at 11 PM the night before. According to staff accounts, it was a rocking good time. There were still some brooms parked at the front door and warning signs around the store: no spoilers or suffer the penalty of a cruciatus curse. They mean business. We made some purchases, ate some ice cream, and then walked around the corner to Wordsmiths.
Wordsmiths had a copy of the James Lee Burke book that could not be found in New Orleans, so I scooped one of those and some free coffee. I’m not sure how my drinking their free coffee helps offsets my purchase of Harry from Amazon, but it’s good coffee. Anyway, we had a big bag of locally-bought stuff for our train ride home, so we’re feeling better about the whole episode.