Harry, a History : The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon
During the brief span of just one decade, hundreds of millions of perfectly ordinary people made history: they became the only ones who would remember what it was like when the Harry Potter saga was still unfinished. What it was like to seek out friends, families, online forums, fan fiction, and podcasts to get a fix between novels. When the potential death of a character was a hotter bet than the World Series. When the unfolding story of a boy wizard changed the way books are read for all time.
And as webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron, one of the most popular Harry Potter sites on the Internet, Melissa Anelli had a front row seat to it all. Whether it was helping Scholastic stop leaks and track down counterfeiters, hosting live PotterCasts at bookstores across the country, touring with the wizard rock band Harry and the Potters, or traveling to Edinburgh to interview J. K. Rowling personally, Melissa was at the center of the Harry Potter tornado, and nothing about her life would ever be the same.
The Harry Potter books are a triumph of the imagination that did far more than break sales records for all time. They restored the world's sense of wonder and took on a magical life of their own. Now the series has ended, but the story is not over. With remembrances from J. K. Rowling's editors, agents, publicists, fans, and Rowling herself, Melissa Anelli takes us on a personal journey through every aspect of the Harry Potter phenomenon -- from his very first spell to his lasting impact on the way we live and dream.
With infectious, at times frenetic, excitement, Anelli presents two narratives in this hip report on how a boy wizard became a rock star. The first is a love letter to the fans of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter: a smart, creative, multinational, generation-spanning and technology-driven community. In the second, Anelli gives readers an exhaustive, if often jumbled, time line of Harry Potter's popularity. Appropriately for the webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron Web site, the author pays attention to the power of the Internet and its symbiotic relationship with fan communities, known as fandoms. Anelli attributes the evolution of fandoms principally to Harry Potter--an error that ignores other fandom phenomena like Star Trek or The X-Files. As she details her work with the Leaky Cauldron, readers get a view into the publishing world and the impressive tale of Harry Potter's ascension. Anelli also shares sweet scenes of meeting Rowling and the actors who portray the characters in the films. Fans will recognize themselves in these pages, and the curious might finally understand their friends. (Nov. 4)
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Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . If You Love Everything Harry Potter, You'll Love the Book
Posted January 01, 2010 by Debbi , Mississauga, CanadaI absolutely loved this book. If you were one of the thousands who were there for the midnight releases, you'll love this book. It captures the energy, the people, the phenomenon and you'll even get insights from JK Rowling herself. There's just no better way to describe it than to say if you love everything Harry Potter then you'll love this book.
Relive the excitement of a Harry Potter book release. Learn some of the behind the scenes goings on from the people who were a part of it. I love the Pottercast Podcast and learned of Melissa's book there. I bought it and couldn't be happier. Alas there are no new Harry Potter books but reading and re-reading this will allow me to relive the fun and excitement of a Harry Potter book release.
If you were a part of that rush, then you'll adore this book. The insights and information that Melissa shares from her interview with JK Rowling is terrific. It just adds to the love of Harry.
November 03, 2008
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Excerpt from Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
CHAPTER ONE ReleaseWithin twenty-four hours, everyone would know. They'd read about it on their computer screens or in the newspaper; they'd find out on their way to work or over morning coffee, listening to the radio or watching television. The news would be shouted into their cell phones or overheard on the train. They'd talk about it at the watercooler and on coffee breaks. There'd be group e-mails, message-board postings, hastily scribbled notes. They'd call grandchildren, and grandparents, to share and discuss.The news would race around an electronic ribbon in Times Square and on billboards in London and news tickers all over the world. It would break into regular broadcasts and be teased on the morning shows. It would be whispered behind cupped hands in classrooms and screamed across playgrounds. Some would laugh and others would cry, but all would be affected. The news would skitter at light speed, unstoppable, through land lines and fiber-optic cables and over airwaves until it reached workplaces and houses and playgrounds, multiplying until it could weave itself into a blanket and cover the world.I was barely conscious when I found out. I was on my bed, fully dressed, lying on my stomach and trying to keep my head from lolling right onto the keys of my laptop. When my phone rang, my head hit the keys like a dropped melon. I groaned and rubbed the new indentations on my nose while fumbling for the Talk button."Whagugh?""It's up!"It was Sue Upton shrieking at me, and I let the phone fall so I could use my remaining free hand to rub what now felt like a punctured eardrum. At this rate I'd end up comatose before breakfast.Sue was still yelling, the sound muffled from the dropped phone, but now completely unnecessary. Clarity broke upon me and I knew exactly what she was yelling about. It was why I was lying next to my keyboard, the reason I had been awake in the first place. The last few hours replayed themselves in my mind in a blink. Barely 10:00 p.m., sitting at my friend Julie's house, watching television after a light news day, chatting during commercials. Reaching for my cell phone out of unbreakable habit, as natural a motion as blinking. Tapping my Web browser, waiting for my e-mail to load, all without interrupting the flow of conversation -- in fact, barely showing I was holding a phone at all. Flicking my eyes down to the screen, just to check that everything was all right online while I was away from a computer. No important e-mails, good. No emergencies, no broken servers, good. Pausing. One, two, three, four e-mails. Four of the fifty e-mails I'd received over the past hour were eerily alike and seemed to come from different parts of the country with the same news -- like witnesses who chose the same man from a police lineup."I work in a bookstore and we just got an e-mail from Scholastic...""...it said something big is coming...""...said it's what we've been waiting for...Do you think this isthat?"I did, but didn't know if I wanted to. It had been such a calm, slow day, for a change, which meant I should have known it would be followed by a crazy parade. Six years on this beat had taught me to shake out the news from the rubbish, and this -- this felt real. This felt like everything had just changed. Those short and simple e-mails had effects on me far disproportionate to their size -- my heart seemed to sneak up into my throat and stick, pounding through me with the same rush I got when I reached the top of a roller coaster -- about to get to the best part, the part I'd been waiting for, but still panicky and unsure I was ready to plummet.Julie asked what was wrong but I was already gathering my stuff, making my apologies, telling her to check the Web site the next morning, bowing my way out of the apartment and calling Sue, the site's senior editor."I know," Sue said, instead of "hello." A clear thrill tre