Planes, Trains, and Harry Potter books: An Aside

Beijing Travel Blog

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(Written while over Beijing, China) Walking down the aisle of this 777, I can’t help but notice the fact that, in almost every 9 person aisle, at least one person has a Harry Potter book in her possession. Likewise, in every Metro car I’ve been on since the book came out, at least one or two people were reading it. Every car. Have this many people actually read the whole series? Have they done so at uneven, disjointed intervals? Are most of these people (like me) moviegoers who have decided to tune in to the books at the very end? Whatever the case, it seems that humanity (or at least the US and the UK) are all doing the same thing these days ��"at roughly the same time-. I’m neither interested in or qualified to discuss the Potter phenomenon (and it’s obviously well handled elsewhere).But what absolutely blows my mind is that this one book is most likely what a statistically significant percentage of the population is doing at any given time. I’m willing to go so far as to suggest that it’s beating out any movie showing or any tv program on the air when you account for time in 24 intervals. Pick an hour, any hour, and (lets make this up) 5% of literate people are reading Harry Potter. Has that ever happened before for this length of time? Sure, maybe for an hour or two or even five, you can find these numbers.But, for days? A week? My God. Has anyone done a study on this?  I think this Harry Potter book dwarfs every other cultural convergence event in my adult life save for September 11.

jackwhitsitt says:
I don't think you need to whisper -too- quietly. I suspect (now that I'm almost finished with the last one) that's it's become a bit of a "well, Ive come this far, Ill be damned if I don't go all the way" thing as much as an "Ohhh I get goosebumps Im enjoying it so much!" thing.

At any rate, I'm enjoying it...but not nearly as much as some other recent things Ive happened across. It reads a lot like Nancy Drew meets The Hobit, unfortunately.
Posted on: Jul 27, 2007
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