"Mockingjay, for lack of a better phrase, is flying," a co-worker said around 10:30 this morning. All day, customers headed straight for the shiny blue covers. Several had taken the day off work for the sake of Finding Out What Happens.
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, I remember feeling like we'd discussed all the possibilities so thoroughly that J.K.R. was basically choosing from menu of options. There'd be some surprises, but in the end, each character would turn out to be a) good, b) evil, or c) somewhere in between, and a) alive, b) dead, or c) somewhere in between. To a lesser degree, the same is true of this conclusion. I expect to find Mockingjay (which I've just started) absorbing and probably praiseworthy in a lot of ways, and I hope it'll give us lots to talk about. But the surprises will only be so surprising.
That's only part of the point, though. To me, the rest of the point is that being part of a reading phenomenon is fun! It was fun to direct customers to the story they'd been anticipating for months. It was fun to hear people's reading strategies: early-morning bookstore jaunts, coffee-fueled all-nighters, delayed gratification for the sake of an uninterrupted weekend read. It was even fun to get extra work done over the weekend to free up some midweek reading time.
This sort of thing doesn't happen for every book, or even for every good book. There was no read-it-right-away frenzy over the latest Clementine, worthy as it is of literary love. But that just makes it exciting when it does happen. Something to talk about.
Meet you by the water cooler.