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Penultimate Potter a reason to party

William Ferchland
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Neighbors Bookstore, where a cardboard advertisement is displayed, is having a Flourish and Blotts midnight release party Friday beginning at 9 p.m. with book sales set for 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
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While only 200 of the 600 copies of the upcoming Harry Potter installment have been reserved at Neighbors Bookstore, store owner Michael Stroschein expects the supply to disappear before the weekend is over.

Spellbound readers of the series, which will have its sixth and penultimate book released Saturday, are expected to arrive in bookstores across the nation in droves to purchase the 672-page book titled “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

Two years ago, when the fifth installment named “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” was released, Neighbors sold 200 copies in three days, Stroschein said. He believes the Half-Blood Prince will be a hotter seller.

Scholastic, the book’s publisher, announced earlier this year the first printing will be 10.8 million copies, a U.S. record. The “Order of the Phoenix” was given a first release of 8.5 million copies.

“I think it’s going to be huge,” Stroschein said. “Harry seems to be gathering momentum with a larger and larger audience.”

The enthusiasm will be evident Friday at the bookstore when it hosts the Flourish and Blotts midnight release party beginning at 9 p.m. Flourish and Blotts is a bookstore where Harry, a student attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with two friends, Hermione and Ron, buys his textbooks.

“We want to have the party so people can come down and get in the mood,” Stroschein said.

Games such as quidditch involving broomsticks, a costume contest (a store flier states the area is “well-protected by Memory Charms”), live music and refreshments such as dragon snot punch and cockroach clusters will be some aspects of the party.

Books will be sold at 12:01 a.m.

At the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, several fans were looking forward to the sixth installment, even though some were still reading the first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Juliano Sparzo, 11, is just finishing the fifth book. He enjoyed the first one, when readers discover Harry has wizard heritage.

“I like to find out what happens every time,” Juliano said.

Nine-year-old Rosie Delgado is also reading the fifth book.

“I’m into witches and wizards and old ages and stuff like that,” she said.

Rosie has high hopes for the upcoming book since each installment is “getting better and better.”

Also at Neighbor’s midnight release party will be two young adult authors from the area, Pamela Camille and William Hill.

Hill, who lives in Carson Valley, will bring copies of his book, “Dragon Pawns: Jules and the Runt Dragon.”

The story centers on an academy for flying creatures in an area similar to Lake Tahoe. The academy is located on a large island in Emerald Bay, based on the famous picturesque inlet on Tahoe’s west shore.

Hill wanted to write a book that would entice readers of the Potter series. He plans to wear a dragon shirt at the release party but will hold off on buying the sixth book of the Potter series because of his busy schedule.

“I have read all the (Potter) books,” Hill said. “I appreciate what it has done to the book market. It has created a lot of readers.”

Sales from the book will only add to the success of the Potter franchise, which will have six books and three movies to its credit by Saturday. A movie on the fourth book of the series, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” is set for release later this year while a “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is scheduled for a 2007 movie release.

Pedro Sanchez, a 24-year-old supervising children at the Boys & Girls Club, preordered his book at a Barnes and Noble in Reno. He is only on the first book but by Saturday will have the next five for summer reading.

“It’s a whole new world. It just sucks you in, you want to be there,” he said.

– E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com

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