I am not home in Valencia at the moment but spending my second day in a rainy suburb of Atlanta. And, alas, it is for six days more that Georgia shall hold me captive. Humidity, flocks of mosquitoes, and neighbors named "Maryl" are fine, but I have a masochistic longing for the abuses only SCV can impart.
I take solace, however, in the fact that the final installment of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series will be released this Saturday. I held out on reading the books until two years ago, a delay that can be explained by a girl in one of my English seminars. While I can recall the name of the course--"Contemporary Experimental Fiction"--her name eludes me. Given the course title, though, it was unsurprising to discover that she was more than a little pretentious, calling the books "literary popcorn for the masses that I'd have to be force-fed", give or take a word. Both this stigma and the massive reading load associated with English classes are long gone, however, and I am now only slightly ashamed to admit that I'll be getting the final H.P. novel at 12:01am (or as close to that time as possible) this Saturday morning. Happily, I'm still running on Pacific Standard Time, so I'll be able to get in several hours of reading once I get the goods.
As I have pointed out before, enthusiasm is a rare thing to behold within SCV, but it will be palpable when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows becomes available immediately on Saturday the 21st. Luckily, there will be no shortage of opportunities to hand over your cash at a number of stores selling the book for very reasonable prices (sometimes even at a loss). Given that it's "children's literature", several book purveyors are offering activities that will appeal to younger Claritans in the hours leading up to the release. I have posted information on three of the better-known release events that will be going on Friday night/Saturday morning below. I offer one warning: last year, my younger sister went to wait for the sixth book to be released at Barnes & Noble. She endured the screams of tired children and the tempers of impatient parents for two hours only to have someone drive by the store and yell "So-and-so kills so-and-so" (i.e., the climax of the story) as she left, her unread book in hand. Thus, it may be advisable to bring ear plugs, blindfolds, and other forms of sensory impairment just to be safe from shouts of the a**holes of which SCV has no shortage.
BARNES & NOBLE
Some Midnight Magic
A Grand Hallows Ball
I'm sorry, but I can't endorse this one. Look, you'll pay at most a couple dollars more to get the book from a bookstore, and the atmosphere of a bookstore is well worth the price. And you know your kids (or you) are going to buy crap that you don't need if you choose this spot. But, to be fair:
Call the monstrous installation off Soledad at 661.259.0863 for details.
 No one hates to use that kind-of-gross word more than me (but if you think you do, feel free to say so) but I think it's fitting here
 This categorization only bothers and is believed by those unfamiliar with the books. Rowling's style has many "adult" charms: abundant wordplay, really well done bits of understatement, wry allusions... Ultimately, the books are well-written and a lot of fun to read (e.g., with sentences like "Let us not deprive Molly any longer of the chance to deplore how thin you are"; words like "horcrux" and "hippogriff"; names like "Fenrir Greyback" ), and isn't that enough?