August 2nd 2008. Need I say more?

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Dare You To Move by Switchfoot.

The Archived Adventures!

Wow. All I can say is 'wow.' I have never seen the anticipation or build-up for a single book like I have seen for the release of Breaking Dawn. Maybe for Harry Potter (and we must give thanks where thanks is due. If not for that impish wizard, we might never have had midnight book releases at all). :)

Now, for those of you hiding under a rock, Breaking Dawn is the concluding book in the famed Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight Saga." Let's put it this way; Little, Brown Publishers have prepared for it by publishing the biggest printing run of the year - 3.2 million copies. And you know what? I don't think they've overestimated it at all.

Friday when I was driving home (to get ready to go to a wedding quickly followed by the release party), I heard something on one of my favorite radio stations. It made me stop and yank up the volume. They were talking about the Breaking Dawn release (just as a note: you know you're book has reached monumental proportions when you are being talked about on non-specialty radio). They were actually giving away all three books currently out if people could call in and name the four "Uber Cheesy" song list they had created in celebration of the release. I didn't call in but here were their songs for their "honorary playlist"

1 - Separate Ways - Journey

2 - Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon

3 - Once Bitten, Twice Shy - Great White

4 - New Moon on Monday - Duran Duran

(I think they should have added "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran, but I may be biased as that is one of my favorite random songs. They also said they should have done "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler which cracked me up).

But I have never heard of books being given away as a part of a call-in. They're usually concert tickets and the like, which just shows how crazy all of this has gotten. Speaking of crazy, I was totally unprepared for the response of the fans of this book and I knew pretty well the kind of fan-following these books had. But my mouth literally dropped open when I saw over 700 people in and outside the little Barnes and Noble I had chosen for my release party haunt (it had the coolest promotion for it - an "official" wedding announcement for Edward and Bella with a list of games and activities that would be going on. It was printed on really nice paper and in a super-swirly font).

I live in the desert and the night temperatures do not cool off until midnight or later in the summer. My car's temperature reader said 83 degrees as I pulled up but it must have been at least ten degrees hotter inside the store. You couldn't move for all the people that were there. I was completely blown away, but it was totally amazing to see this many dedicated fans all over unite in one happy moment of geekdom.

There was a line for pictures with Bella and Edward stand-ins that there was no way I was getting in line for, a trivia game with drawings for a free copy of the fourth book. There was a bouquet toss I couldn't find somewhere, but I did see and interesting Starburst game that I hadn't seen on the invite (there was also an "Alice psychic readings" at another bookstore that I was tempted to go to).

But my favorite, by far, was the game of "Pin the tail on the werewolf" - they has little Nerf guns to shoot at (which I thought was a very smart idea considering the mass chaos that that store was in. Can you imagine giving someone something sharp in that crowd, turning them around and letting them loose? Kudos to whoever thought of that one in advance, I wouldn't have. They deserve a cookie).

I am amazed at the creativity of some of these bookstores for their ideas in hosting a Midnight release party. Besides the psychic readings and the trivia games and photo shoots, pin the tail on the werewolf, and "Thriller" dance competitions, a little independent bookstore that is one of my absolute favorites to visit hosted a blood drive, which I thought was the most brilliant helpful thing anyone could have thought up. And how appropriate! It really is brilliant, and those who gave blood were entered in to win a free book. So cool.

I also heard of "Library Lock-ins" where they closed the doors at 7:00 PM and started a twelve-hour party of reading and treats and other ghoulish delights; they were encouraged to bring their sleeping bags and dress up as favorite characters and curl up with good books until the stroke of midnight and the librarians could whip out the real thing for them.

I love the energy this book has created and how much fun it is to be a part of something so big. Who ever thought that the release of a book could generate so much attention? But maybe that is exactly what readers need - that camaraderie, that sense of community. It was amazing and so much fun to see. I would love to see something this big happen everywhere, more often. It was the coolest thing to see that kind of response and that kind of kinship built over something that is normally such a solitary experience.