Saturday, July 21, 2007

Paper Please!

I have been wondering how the publishing geniuses would handle delivery of the newest Harry Potter book. You see, back in the earlier part of the year (but a tad late), my son told me part of my birthday present was to be the newest (and last) Harry Potter book--when it was published.

On the off chance you have been in outer Mongolia until today, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows went on sale EVERYWHERE in the world at the stroke of midnight, or actually 12:01 on Saturday 21 July 2007.

Well, mine arrived with today's mail. So as soon as I finish what I am reading now, I will start in on Harry. Will I have the self-control to refrain from what I usually do (skip to the end of the book to see who is still alive)? Who knows--I will try, but I am not promising anything.

Anyway, after getting the mail, I headed off to the grocery store for some provisions. Without camera. No, I don't take my camera into the grocery store. (Only person I know who might do that is Mary. . .but she has never owned up to so doing, so I won't accuse her.)
LO AND BEHOLD--there by the check out counter was a table with a big stack of Harry P books, complete with balloons announcing their presence. I just laughed out loud.

What sheer genius. Whip everyone in the world into a lather, embargo the book, and then make it available EVERYWHERE! The woman behind me in the grocery line said she had been at Barnes & Noble until 2 a.m. waiting to get a copy for her daughter. She also said she understood that the initial run of this book was for 12 million copies. 12 million copies! (Verified by Wikipedia--if they are correct.) WOW! The success of this series has made J.K. Rowling wealthier than the Queen of England.

As I finished my purchases, and watched the grocery clerk bag my items, I said "paper, please." I like to think of myself as environmentally conscious, and responsible too, but I was too taken aback by what she did next to comment--here are my grocery bags.

Well, between my not being quick enough of tongue, and with Harry Potter's final battle now in 12 million books, it does make me wonder--paper, please?


Anonymous said...

Harry Potter! Not interested! From all I’ve heard & read he (or she, the authoress - forgive my sexist designation) is a poor imitation of the Narnia series. There. I’ve got that off my chest. Narnia YES YES YES!
Re your blog yesterday and the cook stove at Matopo Mission: Coal or wood? Both! Coal during the couple of months of winter (June & July), and wood the rest of the year. There was a reason for that, but I would have to go into too much detail so I’ll forego saying why. You could have said something about “the back burner” and where that phrase comes from. Or being an English teacher do you prefer “from where that phrase comes”? The picture looks authentic. Your mother baked good bread in a wood (or coal) stove oven. I remember a number of wood stoves. My grandfather’s home in Ontario Canada, the ones at Sikalongo Mission, at Mach Mission, at Matopo Mission primarily. Love, Father “C” 8:45 p.m.

KGMom said...

Father C--thanks for clearing up the wood vs. coal stove mystery. Isn't it funny--Daryl & I each remembered something different and we were both partly correct.

The back burner--good point, maybe a whole blog in itself--the origin of phrases!

As for Harry Potter being a pale imitation of the Narnia Chronicles--well, that's almost like saying the Narnia Chronicles are a pale imitation of the Lord of the Rings series. Of course, they are all about the eternal struggle between good and evil. And they have appealed in their time to different generations.

Mary said...

What was the bagger thinking???? I'm so happy you had your camera...

I've never been a Harry Potter fan - never tried it. Many educators I have worked with praise the series. Children and adults read. That's a good thing.

Well, Donna, Michael and I visited Sam's Club today for regular shopping. Just inside the entrance was a large display of a few hundred Harry Potter books. As you would expect, I fumbled for my camera in my deep handbag. Michael waited. No camera power. Battery was home in the charger. Another opportunity missed!

LauraHinNJ said...

So you're a fan, too. That surprises me, but I guess you must like a fun read as much as I do.

I refuse to wait in line in the middle of the night for a book!

Hope you'll enjoy it!

Beth said...

Paper or plastic? Or BOTH? Is that an option?

What does your bagging friend think is the point of choosing one over the other? Hmmm...

Very interesting - and glad you had your camera at home to show off the double-bagging.

Anonymous said...

I thought your blog was funny today Donna - especially when I saw the bags!!! (I know you had your camera there) and I have to admit I would rather read your blog than read Harry Potter these days. My attention span seems only suited to blogs.

Unknown said...

I pre-ordered my HP book from Amazon too. My son helped me open it -- he loved the packaging with the Owl and all. Harry Potter is not a pale copy of Narnia. It stands quite nicely on its own. I will be starting mine shortly. My sister's husband waited in line FOR her (he's a night owl, she's not). So, she started reading hers around 5am. :)

I don't get the use of both paper and plastic. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I am duly chastened. Harry Potter? The struggle of good and evil! OK for this generation. I enjoy the blogs, and the comments too. Incidentally Donna, I preach today at Paxton Ministries. Love to all of you! Father "C"

KGMom said...

Mary--oh dead camera battery. It happens to the best of us! Sorry for the missed op.

LauraH--this is the 2nd time I have surprised you with reading Harry Potter. See

Beth--the weird thing is I specifically said PAPER.

Ocean--I agree that blogs have the right length for attention spans--I can read quickly, so I fly through some books. But then I have less than perfect recall.

Liza Lee--I think one of the reasons Harry Potter appeals to kids is touches like the owl, etc. Sparks the imagination.

Father C--don't be chastened. It's just that today's kids will read Harry Potter, but might not read Narnia. I too love the Narnia Chronicles, though I think The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe is by far the best. The others sort of dragged on for me. Now here's a confession--I have never read the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

Pam said...

I haven't read HP as yet, will borrow my daughter's one of these days.

Paper AND plastic...oy. I admire the women who bring their canvas totes.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
I'm not a Harry Potter fan either, although I would probably stand in line to purchase the latest Tony Hillerman....

Our grocery store gives a 5 cent credit on paper bags we bring back for re-use (until I get some of my own bags knitted).

cat59 said...


I enjoyed your post about "cooking" (clever) and the one about "bagging." The paper and plastic together is too funny. Do you suppose they thought you would want the handles on the plastic? I really prefer paper, having nothing to do with the environment. The problem with plastic is that you put the bags in the trunk or the back seat and the first time you go around a corner on the way home, they topple over and everything spills out!

Climenheise said...

I remember when I was reading LOTR, and you were not. Which may be why I share some surprise that you enjoy Potter so much. I haven't read Potter, and probably won't (just as I don't expect you to read Lord of the Rings). My only frustration with Potter is that everyone keeps trying not to spoil the ending. I'm not going to read the book: just tell me how it ends!

Anvilcloud said...

That picture is too funny. It's a dilemma though: cut down a tree or use plastic. I guess we should all carry our own cloth bags. But I don't.

possumlady said...

Oh, I'm a big Harry Potter fan too! There were lots of bookstore parties on Friday night and it was fun to see my neighbor's kids (dressed as Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy) jump in their car with their dad (dressed as Severus Snape!--on their way to a party)

My neighborhood is filled with kids and it is so heartening to see them all on their front porches reading the same book. Two kids actually were walking their dogs on Sunday--with their noses buried in Harry Potter. I'm savoring it. Just up to Chapter 4 myself. I also read the Narnia series and the LOTR. Apples and Oranges I say. They are all unique and wonderful reading. It does really boil down to the battle between good and evil.

Geoff said...

As someone who's probably read more fantasy novels than anyone else who's commented here, I thought I'd chime in to concur that no, the Harry Potter novels don't really draw much from The Chronicles of Narnia. They do (roughly) belong to the fantasy genre, but not all fantasy books are Narnia or Lord of the Rings any more than all mysteries are Sherlock Holmes.

Of course, the Harry Potter books aren't exactly fantasy, at least not in the sense of the adult fantasy genre. They straddle the lines between fantasy and children's mystery/adventure novels.

The ingredients of Harry Potter are not ground breaking, unique, or gourmet, but the combination still makes for a tasty popcorn read.

As for bags, I'm much more environmentally friendly since I tend to use plastic just by itself :-). I then re-use them as liners for the small bathroom trash cans in our house.

Geoff (KGMom's son - the late birthday gift giver)

KGMom said...

I think Ruthie J came up with the most unique solution to Paper or Plastic--knit your own bags. I see many of you share the frustration and dilemma.

And for a while I was keeping score--pro Harry P vs. con Harry P. Those who are not reading were a bit ahead, but then, Geoff commented. Wow! As he noted, he is the G of KGMom. Good point, Geoff, on how Harry P fits into the fantasy genre. And, I agree, it is a tasty read. I haven't started yet--watch the side bar. But K says she is 2/3 done. Maybe more now.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Did she really double bag your groceries? Surely those pics are just a joke. Surely there isn't a clerk anywhere so -- dare I say it--stupid?
Thanks for the Harry Potter laugh. I haven't fallen for the series although I did read the first one at the request of my nephew a few years ago.

Rhonda said...

From one HP freak to another (as you know)... As I was frantically reading my copy of Deathly Hallows at 3 AM on Sunday--delivered right to my door by the lovely folks at Barnes & Noble--I kept drawing parallels to Star Wars. Darth (as Voldemort): "Come to the Dark Side, Luke." Obi-Wan (as Dumbledore): "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." Is it just me and my late 70's/early 80's childhood? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Just my $0.02.

And on the whole paper vs. plastic thing...I'll admit get plastic, and use it in various other ways. Tote bags, doggie-doo disposal, kitchen garbage bags (in a pinch). The various uses are endless. (shameless The Body Shop pitch ahead...) Or you can also use the Bag for Life, available from your local The Body Shop, like I do!

KGMom said...

Elaine--the clerk REALLY did double bag--even after I had said PAPER please.

Rhonda--good compare/contrast (did I teach you that?. . .no, you already knew). Would make a great lit analysis! The Bag for Life? I will have to check it out. Sounds most useful.