Monday, June 15, 2009

My First Giveaway, Featuring the One and Only...


I'm getting the same feeling I got last summer, a kind of melancholy I can only associate with the lack of a new Harry Potter book coming out. The movie helps, but it's just not the same as a big, fat book full of Hogwarts adventures along with the direness of Lord Voldemort's quest to defeat Harry and, incidentally, to conquer the world.

So when I got the chance to do a giveaway in honor of the newest (and last) Potter paperback, Book 7, which is auspiciously due out on 7/7, I was totally there. Although you, fellow Hogwarts devotees, are the beneficiaries, with the possibility of winning one of five prize packs, each consisting of three paperbacks:


  • Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The folks who are providing the books wish me to include this Harry Potter website link, plus the following info:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a breathtaking finish to a remarkable series. The final chapter to Harry Potter's adventures will be released in paperback July 7th! It all comes down to this--a final face-off between good and evil. you plan to pull out all the stops, but every time you solve one mystery, three more evolve.
My thoughts about Book 7 are a little darker and deeper. When I bought the book, I wondered whether J.K. Rowling could possibly end the series in a way that could satisfy me. For one thing, I didn't want the series to end, implying built-in dissatisfaction. I was amused by the middle of the book, which dragged. But the dragginess had a purpose--Harry and his outgunned friends were muddling around in the countryside, unsure how to defeat the undefeatable, or even to save their own lives. It was a gloomy, drizzly book, but that kind of makes sense, when you're talking about such fear and sadness.

I'll confess that I wasn't fond of the long exposition from a beloved and departed mentor near the end of the book. But that's just a quibble; when I closed Deathly Hallows, I really felt like the author had pulled it off. I gave one of those happy, happy sighs you give just before turning back to reread favorite scenes. (Or in my case, to reread the last three chapters, as I tend to speed up toward the end of a book and need a second, calmer read to recover anything I've missed in my hurry.) I decided that the final battle could easily have been botched, but instead it was just right, up to and including the losses, as well as the strange roles played by some of Harry's supposed enemies. J.K. Rowling is a lot more subtle than you might think!

Now, if you'd like to participate in the giveaway, which will run for three weeks and close July 4th with a nice blast of fireworks reminiscent of a powerful burst of magic, just write about Harry Potter in the comment section of this post. Tell us about a favorite character, secondary character, monster, teacher, or villain. Write about a favorite scene. Write about your favorite clever details or your favorite plot twist. Or you can write about staying up till midnight at a bookstore party when one of the books came out. As my English teachers used to say (every single one of them), be specific. Anything from 2-3 sentences to a longer paragraph is fine. Just show off your love of Harry!

One of my own memories of Harry Potter was the night I bought a book at midnight (I think it was Book 6) and came home feeling really tired. I said to myself, I'll just read a chapter or two. Yeah, right. At ten o'clock the next morning, I stopped to take a nap. Then I finished the book in time to go to a birthday party at the home of my student's aunt. My student was twelve and too cool; he was way less thrilled to see me than his mother was. Fair enough, since she had invited me. The party was Belizean, so I got to eat plaintains and try to figure out what everybody was saying as I watched the little kids bounce up and down in one of those jumpy houses in the backyard. My student and his cousin and I did have a conversation about the new Harry Potter book, though, and both of them were amazed that I had already finished--they forgot to be cool for a full ten seconds, they were so impressed!

The thing is, this student of mine was slowly dying of cancer. (I teach sick children.) A few months later, he wasn't up for algebra anymore. All I did when I went over to his house to work with him was read Harry Potter--I think it was Book Three. He really liked the way I read, doing different voices and everything. The day before he died, I was reading him Harry Potter.

I guess that might also explain my melancholy.

Anyway, I hope your thoughts and memories are far more upbeat than mine. Please share, and I'll be happy to pick a handful of the comments to win the prize packs. What I'll do is select 1-2 that I think are especially great and then do the rest simply as a drawing, giving us the best of both worlds.

P.S. Apparently several other bloggers in Kidlitosphere are also doing this giveaway. Visit each of these sites for more chances to win! They are Abby Librarian, Charlotte's Library, The Well-Read Child, Brimful Curiosities, The Spiral Notebook, Wizards Wireless, Write for a Reader, and readergirlz.

22 comments:

Wrighty said...

Congrats on your first contest! I found you through Charlotte's Library and I'm so glad I did. You have a great blog!

I adore Harry Potter and read the book #1 from my library when it was first published and no one knew who Harry was. I told all of my friends to read it and well, you know how the rest of it goes.

I share your meloncholy about this series. I looked forward to those summer releases too and always bought a copy for my best friend and young nephew for birthday gifts. I miss not having that shared excitement with a new release. It was, and still is, our special bond. I also have a sadness that marks book #5. The very moment that we were opening the box of our precious new books, I recieved a phone call telling me that my grandfather had just died. That book has always been extra sad for me because that was what I associated with it. That was the only time I didn't enjoy reading one of the books. I think it's time that I read it again and put new memories with that book.

Thanks so much for your contest!
5wrights1[at]verizon[dot]net

KATE COOMBS said...

And thank you for sharing this! Now I'm thinking about the role other beloved books have played in the chapters of my life--some poignantly, others joyfully.

sweetmelissa818 said...

They're doing it at Readergirlz too! I just finished Deathly Hallows last week and was sad that it was over. I had been putting it off in fear of it ending!

MeganRebekah said...

Wow, I just stumbled upon your blog, but have to say that this post pulled at so many different emotions.

First, I sighed, reminiscing happily about how much I loved Harry Potter.

Then you mentioned a Belizean party and I got so excited. I used to live in Belize and love all things Belizean!

Then your student died and my heart broke a little.

I don't think a single post as put me through that much of a roller coaster.

Brimful Curiosities said...

Thank you for sharing my contest at Brimful Curiosities. (I think that fellow kidlit "Write for a Reader" also has a contest.) Also, just wanted to say that I read every word of your post with interest, especially the parts involving memories. Amazing what connections some books hold...if only they could tell stories of their owners.

Infant Bibliophile said...

I've read the first six books and not gotten around to the seventh (motherhood intervened I guess). My favorite memory of reading them, as an indication of how much I enjoyed them, was how often I'd look up and realize that I'd once again missed my train stop on my way to work because I was so engrossed. It seemed like that never happened to me, although I read every day on the train, except with the Harry Potter books! Thanks for the chance to pick up a copy of book #7. :)

KATE COOMBS said...

MeganRebekah--

I'm so pleased that this post touched you. I didn't go into it with a plan, and I ended up surprising myself by the way the loss made its way into the writing. Oh, and I'm glad someone else might appreciate the joys of conch fritters!

And thanks to the rest of you for stopping by. It's really astonishing how Harry has affected all of us, and just so heartening in this day and age.

silverhartgirl said...

Harry potter was the first big book I read to my son. He is now 14. We just loved them. He was amazed at the three headed dog and i had to reread that part.

Tamara B. said...

Harry Potter books are the only ones my children will read to the end and would be perfect for the Summer school break, thank-you.

auntrene said...

I loved the Harry Potter Books,I don't enjoy the movies quite as much for some reasons but the books are great.
I shared my books with my oldest nephew we read them together. I would check them out from the library, we would read each time he came over while his parents were working.. We are actually finishing book 6 and going to be moving on to book 7. If I win these I will gift them to him. He is 13 now and can read them on his own.. its just more fun with the two of us.
Thanks for the chance

Ann Diana Dinh, said...

I have always loved Harry Potter. I started reading the first book in 2nd grade and just fell heads over heels for him. To my friends, I'm known as the harry potter geek. And my favorite memory of this is that during a long summer, I was absolutely bored so I decided to go read the Harry Potter series and I finished all of it (books 1-6) in less than 2 weeks. And then I think after that, I attended the releasing of the 7th book and I think that was my first book release I went to and I had such a blast. I won the trivia and won a poster. Ah, I just wish everyone felt the same way about Harry Potter as I do.

behapppppppy(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tasses said...

I read the first book nine times during my favorite years as a reading teacher. Fond, fond memories...

Leslie said...

Wow, first thanks for the chance to win your awesome blog candy!! How fun. I am a Harry fanatic, but I must confess, I love the movies! My kids always sit and point out everything that the movies miss or don't get just right. I have so many fav. moments with Harry and the gang. One of my favorites though aren't really linked with the books or movies. When Harry Potter came out and of course all the objects they could put his face on, I had bought my oldest son a pillow with Harry's face on it. But when we got it, it looked as if someone had taken a picture of my son and applied it to the pillow. My son Justin was a dead on match, we use to laugh about it all the time. My son died last August and now I have no idea how we will be able to go to see the new movie without Justin with us. Again, thanks for the chance to win these books, it would mean a lot to me to have them, and a little piece of the past.
Hugs, leslie

roswello said...

i personally have no harry potter story other than the night my kids dressed up to go to a book store opening , they were very cute, but it is my sister , their aunt, since the first book came out she has read the series to them page by page and these are BIG books , it is something they will always remember and i would love to give these books to her

roswello at hotmail dot com

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thank you so much for this contest and for sharing your story. That is very sad about one of your students, but it's amazing what you do...teaching sick kids and everything.

As for my HP memories, I'm a huge fan and have been reading these books since I was about 8...it's been over ten years now and it's sad to know it's over. I love the movies, but you're right...the books and new stories were always the best.

I went to the midnight parties every year for the the last three books and it was always a blast. We'd listen to wizard rock music, act like a bunch of little kids, take pictures with cardboard Harry's, and even try butterbeer. I always went with my sister and one or so other frineds (it was different most year) and I have great memories. I loved the midnight parties.

When I read the seventh books I read it all the way through...finished the next day around 7, so i read it in under 24 hours. It was insane but i couldn't sleep. I just had to read.


-Lauren
lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

robin_titan said...

My favorite character is Dobby. :) My second favorite is HP hehe
I miss this serious so dang much you've no idea. I plan on reading it all over again this summer. Hopefully I'll have time... :D

Jennifer said...

Oooh, I have a late-night story! I stayed up until 2am reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire....the night before a major test in American Lit. with my toughtest prof! Which I hadn't studied for at all! At 8am! But Harry must have magicked me a bit because I somehow managed to pull an A, even though I was practically asleep. It was all downhill from there, I thought Harry got really, well, whiny. But maybe I'll give him another chance and read book 7...

KATE COOMBS said...

Jennifer, Harry and his friends are all depressed and bickering in the middle of Book 7, but I still recommend it because (a) what would you do if you were that age and basically camping out in the marsh to keep from being killed, and oh yeah, you're supposed to save the world? and (b) the final battle and wrap-up are really great!

Tan said...

When my husband and I saw the first Harry Potter movie, we were the only ones in the audience without kids. We have since addressed that issue, but I'm afraid they're still too young for me to pretend to be entering a Harry Potter contest for their benefit instead of my own.

CherylS22 said...

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I've read all the books & seen all the movies to date. I can't wait for the new movie to hit the screens in July.

megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

Jen said...

I'm so sorry about your student. That is so sad.

My mom and I were just talking the other day how it doesnt really feel like summer without a Harry Potter Book! I cant wait for the newest movie -- hope it lives up well to the book!

S.M.D. said...

I didn't get into Harry Potter until the first movie made it to theaters. My sister actually forced me to go, because she was an HP nut, and since my Grandpa, who was very ill at the time, liked the books, we all made it a family thing. After seeing the movie, though, I was hooked. I read the first book, then the second, then the third, and on and on and on. I devoured them like candy. They were good and I couldn't stop.

I found the end of the series somewhat bittersweet. On the one hand I finally had the ending, that final moment we all knew was coming when Harry would face Voldemort and somehow win against the arguably better wizard. But on the other hand, I had to deal with the fact that a series that I had found so enjoyable for so long was finally coming to a close, leaving me with what folks are calling a "Harry Potter void." I don't know if that void has ever been filled to the same level, and probably never will. No book has had such an impact in recent years like HP had.

I'm glad to have read the books, to have become so hooked to them, but I'll always miss that experience of reading the newest installment in a day or two, devouring it page by page, word by word...

Anyway, my email is in my sig...