the Harry Potter midnight excitement is contagious

Are you a Harry Potter fan? Are you excited for the new book? What are you doing this evening?

911Xmhn9+rLThe context: As you probably know, the most anticipated book (er, play) of the summer, the screenplay Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be released into the hands of fans at bookstores tonight at midnight or (like in my store’s case, at 10 am Sunday). This book is the only sequel to the beloved series and comes out the same day the play is premiered in the UK.

The audience: Are you, like me, almost exactly the same age as Harry? Did you, unlike me, grow up reading each one, attending book release parties and midnight screenings of the movies?

I unfortunately grew up in a conservative community who sort of shunned Harry Potter (I say unfortunate because I wish we hadn’t and that I had been allowed to read it, since I’ll always feel like I missed out) but when I was 19 I happily started reading the books and watching the movies with my friends. That was the summer the last movie was released, which I also didn’t watch until I had read all the books. (It’s already been 5 years!)

The happenings: So naturally I had to post about this because it’s exciting and fun. I’m not sure I’ll be attending any parties due to having to work 3-10 today, but if you live here or I’m sure anywhere as lots of B&Ns are having parties, you should join in the fun if you want. I love how a beloved storyline and characters can reveal a community of people who simply love fun, magic, and the values of love shown in the series. They truly are amazing books.

Will I be reading the screenplay? Well seeing as I don’t have more money for books right now, I checked the library, and there are OVER NINE HUNDRED HOLDS FOR OVER 100 COPIES OF THE PLAY.

So I’ll think it’ll be a while for me 😉 I’m also hesitant because it’s a play, but since I’m not a hardcore dedicated, grew-up-with-Harry fan, I’m not gonna write you a “this is why I’m not reading the Cursed Child” speech.

Here are some of the midnight release parties happening in the Twin Cities this weekend: (I started making this list but then found the rest over at the Pioneer Press)

 

Northgate Brewing: 783 Harding St. N.E., Minneapolis. Family-friendly activities beginning at 4 p.m. (This looks super fun. This is where I’d be if not working. Harry Potter and beer/cider!?!? Yes please!)

SubText Books: 6 W. Fifth St., St. Paul. 9 to 11 p.m. costume contest and drinks (for families) at Tin Whiskers Brewing Company, 125 E. Ninth St., St. Paul, followed by midnight-release party at the store with birthday cake and birthday party games.

Red Balloon Bookshop: 891 Grand Ave., St. Paul. Party begins at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by Wee Wizard Brunch at 12:30 p.m. Sunday with breakfast in the Great Hall and wizarding crafts.

Barnes & Noble: In Roseville, Edina, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Blaine, Minnetonka, Maple Grove and Mall of America.

Half Price Books: St. Louis Park and Coon Rapids

Valley Bookseller: 217 N. Main St., Stillwater. Opening at 8 a.m. Sunday to celebrate Harry Potter Day.

So to celebrate I may just be making butterbeer for my friends and I. Are you celebrating?

 

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24 in 48 Readathon!

Well, guys, my very first Readathon starts tonight at midnight! It’s called 24 in 48 and it’s where you read for 24 hours in the 48 hour weekend. No, it’s not 24 books! (wouldn’t that be the dream?) I found out about via my favorite app, Litsy, where the book community has just been fantastic. I couldn’t be happier spending this entire, super hot weekend inside with the AC reading books (:

I’ve slacked off in July due to thoughts, sickness, a new job, and shit hitting the fan, and I wish I had told you all about this earlier, but I get that not many can participate. I mean, it means not really having any plans on Saturday AND Sunday, but since I’m sick, that won’t be a problem for me. (I also originally got this weekend off for a writer’s retreat that I ended up not being able to attend, so luck was on my side.) I’ve heard about them in the past but always had to work!

Anyway, here’s my way overly ambitious stack, including my laptop since I have a manuscript I’m behind on reading. Also pictured here is Pond, since, let’s face it, she’s probably not going to leave me alone (although her brother is an even bigger problem).

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Many of these are books I’ve started and haven’t finished, library books, books I’m reviewing, or books that I’m reading for different purpose. Had to include poetry, horror, short stories, a graphic novel, nonfiction, Italy, and some novels. (Not pictured: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.)

I’m so excited! I won’t be posting updates during the Readathon here, but if you have an iPhone you can find me at Litsy: WordWaller or on Twitter @WordWaller.

Anyone else participating? Or, if you wish you could, what books would you be blowing through? 

books & the literary community as healing

Alright, friends. Here I am after QUITE the absence, and for that I am sorry. It’s totally not that there haven’t been July events to keep you aware of or awesome June events to talk about (because there have been! I have so much to catch up on), but that I think it’s not secret July has been a total shitstorm in our country.

The day after Philando Castile was shot and killed, I decided to take a break from speaking my own voice out into the social media depths and simply share those voices which haven’t been feeling heard. I received some backlash, I solidified some viewpoints, I worked up the courage to share controversial content for what I believe in, and I got to know myself a bit better.

My desire is not for this blog to cover that content. Not because I don’t believe in speaking up, but simply because I don’t want to alienate anyone who loves books or calls Minnesota home, and also because I don’t think my voice, as a white woman, is so very different. I’m learning that the best thing I can do right now is support, learn, and assist those who’s voices need to be heard right now.

I AM going to plug what I’ve been reading and plan to read, of course, and coincidentally that covers the turmoil the nation has been experiencing. I think readers have a big responsibility right now to read and, at least for those of us who don’t experience racism good timeday to day, educate themselves and open up their minds to the voices and experiences of their neighbors, friends, coworkers, and fellow citizens.

MPR last week published a GREAT piece about how books about racial studies or by people of color are flying off the shelves of our local Minneapolis/St. Paul bookstores. I can testify that I’ve sold at least one copy a day of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and I watched A Good Time for the Truth (by local, Minnesotan authors, which is what I’m reading now!) sell out before the weekend of July 9-10. I believe strongly in the power of that book:

The impact of “A Good Time for the Truth” is different, though, Zumberge said, because it’s local.

The book “is the experiences of people of color who live in this state. You cannot say ‘Oh, it’s not us,'” Zumberge said.

“I’m glad that people are turning to bookstores,” [Martin of Common Good Books] said. “Because it’s what bookstores are really good at: Helping understand the world around us.” (Read the whole piece here).

I echo that statement, which is why I see the literary community as a place for healing.

I had the privilege of experiencing that directly last Monday evening at Subtext Books. I heard word that there’d be a discussion of A Good Time for the Truth with editor Sun Yung Shin, and so my partner and I went even though I had only read the first two chapters at that point. We were a big taken aback that it wasn’t a regular event but rather an intimate book club of around 25 people, but we stayed and listened to a wonderful discussion about the influence of the book and the courage of the writers who have shared pieces inside.

Sun Yung Shin spoke about how the anthology came about, how she wanted an anthology including many different viewpoints and representations of different races, and that it was important for it to be a creative piece. Those of us there agreed–the stories really are so well written you feel as if you are friends with the writer and listening face to face. In that way, the stories are that much more real and influential. They cannot be ignored. 

I have more notes from that discussion that I’d love to share some other time, but it’s important that I say we all agreed that reading matters. Our discussion leader asked the question: is reading enough?

The unanimous conclusion was yes. Reading is important, and it does make a difference. If just one person’s mind is changed and they tell their friends, that’s a difference. If one of those people becomes an activist or has influence where some laws could be changed, that’s definitely a difference. And so on.

If you’re a reader who wants to make a difference but perhaps doesn’t know how, or doesn’t know where to start, or wants to know which books could be deemed most important right now, here’s a list of books Writers of Color Say We Should All Read Now. This list is so, so good because I don’t think any one person could have come up with all these important works. I’m a bookseller and I didn’t even know about most of them (partly because our sections on racial, gender, women’s, and LGBTQIA+ studies are always going fast! An awesome problem to have). blues vision

I would also like to spotlight Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota from the list, another anthology on race also published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press last year. I’ve sold books for well-attended readings from this anthology at the Loft and always been sad I couldn’t listen in from my book table. If there are more events like this, you can bet I’ll do my best to be there.

Don’t minimize the influence you could have. Read these books. Share them with people, and start seeing the literary community as a place of discussion, healing, and beauty.

Do you agree that books and the literary community can be a place of healing? Where have you see this for yourself? Do you have books you would recommend strongly at this period in time? I’d love to start a discussion on this!