Monday, March 16, 2015
First of series
Here is the story as it has happened to me countless times before, mostly in my own library where I have spent some majestic chunk of my life, but also at a diversity of other American libraries.
I am browsing along in a fiction section, kids, adult, genre, whatever, casting about for a book to read, when something catches my eye. Let us say it is a fantasy novel. Let us say, for its humorously illustrative qualities, that it is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Interesting title, and what charming cover art. I am intrigued! I pull it off the shelf to look it over.
Wizarding school? Secret magic world in the midst of our own? Slight touch of Dahlian lightness? Appealing, scrappy youth heroes? This sounds great, though, of course, a tad derivative. What say the critics?
Oh my god, the critics are insane for this book! It is, like, the most popular series of books ever written! I am not just convinced that I have found something worthwhile, I suspect that I have stumbled upon one of the rarest moments of an inveterate book browser's life: the sure thing!
How on earth did this immensely appealing juvenile fiction escape my attention for so long? But who cares! I have not been this excited to race home and start reading in a long time!
Now, let's see, this Prisoner of Azkaban book is not the first book in the series, and they clearly need to be read in order. No worries though, there is seriously a wall of these Harry Potter books.
There are five Prisoner of Azkabans, three Goblets of Fire, five Order of the Phoenix, two Chamber of Secrets (maybe I should grab a copy because it's the second one), eight Deathly Hallows , and ten, yes ten Half Blood Princes.
The front page of one of these books tells me that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the very first book in the series. I must be overlooking it. So many books, so many editions... Let's see, Sorcerer's Stone, Sorcerer's Stone. Hmm. Hmm.
It can't be. No. It can't be! NO!
It's not here.
It's not here!
Thirty-three Harry Potter books, but not a single copy of the first one of the series on the shelf.
I shall issue no dark word against the librarians of the world, some of whom I count as friends. But I will let this highly common, aye predictable, story speak for itself, and hope it hurts their ears.