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[whitespace] Pre-Order of 'The Phoenix'

Santa Cruz bookstores stay open late for the newest Harry Potter onslaught; plus, June lit events around town

By Jessica Neuman Beck

Poetry, Muggles, anarchist monks ... yes, it's definitely summer in Santa Cruz. Ah, summer. How I've missed the melodious sound of honking horns as every freeway becomes a parking lot for sunburned tourists. Walking down Pacific Avenue becomes an exercise in futility, oddly reminiscent of another one of this year's rites of passage--lining up at the bookstore for the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on June 21.

Amazon.com has already presold almost a million copies worldwide, but for those who prefer to buy local (or who, like me, were lazy and forgot to do it online), both Bookshop Santa Cruz and Borders will be open until the wee hours on Friday, June 20, to allow customers to snap up the book the minute it is released (at midnight). Bookshop Santa Cruz will be hosting a release party from 10pm to midnight, complete with costumed children and refreshments. The big question: to dress as an aging Hermione or a young Professor McGonnagall?

For those who aren't twitching in anticipation of the latest J.K. Rowling tome (do such people exist?) there are some other things going on in town, although to my knowledge none of them involve costumes. Noah Levine, son of Buddhist teacher and author Stephen Levine, will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz on June 3 reading from his book Dharma Punx. Levine's Gen X memoir is almost typical in its Santa Cruz weirdness--I mean, I can't count the number of punk-rockers-turned-Buddhists I knew in high school.

On June 5 at Capitola Book Cafe, Lauralee Summer chronicles her experiences as a homeless child in Learning Joy From Dogs Without Collars. June 8 at the Main Branch of the Santa Cruz Library, Patricia Grube and Renata Kynast take part in the open poetry reading put on by Poetry Santa Cruz. Regina McBride will be at the Capitola Book Cafe on June 9, reading from The Land of Women. The busy folks at Poetry Santa Cruz will be putting on an event at Bookshop Santa Cruz on June 10, requesting a $3 donation--support local poetry! Down with the system! Wait--up with the system! I was never a very good reactionary (but I do love poetry).

Christopher Moore will be reading from his newest book, Fluke, at the Capitola Book Cafe on June 10. Fans of Moore's novel Lamb will be glad to note that the author has not lost his touch--or gained his sanity. Also at the Capitola Book Cafe: Will Ferguson on June 24 with his self-help satire Happiness, and Elizabeth Berg, author of Open House and Durable Goods, reading from her new novel Say When on June 25. Ann Clausen will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz on June 26, reading from her first novel, The Dive From Clausen's Pier, a strangely engrossing coming-of-age story that has received brilliant reviews.

If I can tear myself away from the new Harry Potter book, I'll be there.

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From the May 28-June 4, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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