Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just made the bus we will discuss harry this week
from a 201 phone number, Friday, July 20, 3:47 PM

I enjoyed this text message because I received it a mere eight hours before I, too, purchased my Harry Potter #7. The idea that we all care so deeply about HP-- even those strangers living in the far-off 201 area code-- made me feel like I belong to an extraordinary community.

I'll use this as an excuse to quote Benedict Anderson's IMAGINED COMMUNITIES. He talks, as I do, about reading. (He's talking about newspapers, I'm talking about Harry Potter, but it makes no difference.) Anderson writes: "[Reading the daily paper] is performed in silent privacy, in the lair of the skull. Yet each communicant is well aware that the ceremony he performs is being replicated simultaneously by thousands (or millions) of others of whose existence he is confident, yet of whose identity he has not the slightest notion."

Which is the best summary I have ever heard of the experience of reading HP7 on the day it came out.

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