Actually, I'm not that bad. I'm no Harry Potter fanatic by any stretch of the imagination, but the old lady and I are slowly working our way through Book Three right now (it's our way of killing time on car trips), and I have to say I'm pretty pleased. After years of mocking the Cult of Harry, I have to admit these books are pretty dang fun. Yes, the ones I've read contain plot holes the size of the moon. Yes, the structure of Rowling's magical world doesn't make much sense. Yes, most of the characters are two-dimensional. Yet even so the Harry Potter books are still ripping good reads, with lots of action, plenty of surprises and a wealth of stunning creativity on almost every page.
Hardcore fans will be pleased to learn that the fifth book in the series, which will be released on June 21, is almost 900 pages long! I can't say much about the plot, since no Muggle-born mudblood like me has yet had the privelege of seeing a review copy. I can say, though, that the publisher promises that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is bigger, denser and scarier than any Harry Potter book yet. That's right—Lord Voldemort, that epitome of evil in the wizarding world, is back with a vengeance.
Anticipation is running high. Bookstores across the city intend to capitalize on the frenzy by hosting release parties on Friday, June 20, the evening before the book is to be released.
Over at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW, 344-8139), starting at 11 p.m., you'll find a big Harry Potter party featuring games, treats and lots of cool prizes. If you buy your copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix early, you'll be entered into a contest for a limited edition Harry Potter baseball cap.
If you want to get an early start, Bound to Be Read's party (6300 San Mateo NE, 828-3500) kicks off at 10 p.m. At this shindig, you'll find face-painting, a costume contest and other activities. You'll also be able to buy specialty Harry Potter beverages at the Bound to Be Read café.
Both the Harry Potter movies will be screened at Page One Books (11200 Montgomery NE, 294-2026) that evening with all kinds of contests, wand decorating, a sorting hat game and other wizardly attractions.
The Albuquerque Barnes and Noble stores (Westside: 3701 Ellison Dr. NW, 792-4234; Eastside: 6600 Menaul Blvd., 883-8200) will also stay open past midnight to sell copies of the book. The stores will have sweepstakes, games and giveaways for kids as well as other fun Harry Potter-related events.
That sums it up. Pack the kiddies into the wagon and haul them over to your favorite store. When the clock strikes midnight, you can purchase a brand new first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, then enjoy the challenge of preventing your kids from staying up the rest of the night reading those first few delicious chapters.
Scholastic Paperbacks, hardcover, $29.99