Well, here we go again. Londonist's not-inconsiderable powers of augur and haruspex (plus a machine-like publicity campaign) have alerted us to the imminent release of JK Rowling's latest grimoire. Stores will be open long past the witching hour tonight as millions of children and special adults clamour to get their hands on the sixth and penultimate book of the series. And, we confess, Londonist will no doubt be there too, with all the dignity of Waylon Smithers at a Malibu Stacy launch. Sadly, the bootleg copy we managed to get our hands on (pictured) was but a clever fake.
To celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, several booksellers are putting on a show tonight. Those who need a refresher of the story so far should get along to Borders (203 Oxford Street), for a (one suspects much-abridged) re-enactment of the first five books. Down the road at Waterstones (311 Oxford Street), there’ll be people in funny costumes, and the chance to win a trip to the VIP launch party. Most exciting of all, Ottaker's (51 Greenwich Church Street) will be hosting a launch party on the nearby Cutty Sark, with readings, quizzes, raffles and Top Trumps.
Meanwhile, for wizarding fans of a more literary (literate?) bent, the Guardian is running what they describe as an alternative Potter project. Readers are asked to compose a death scene for Dumbledore in the style of another famous author. This has been brilliantly interpreted in some cases, with the putative demise being reported as a Scooby Doo pastiche, or, most brilliantly of all, 'in the style of the old, text-based computer game, Zork'. Even better than the real thing.