Well, as you know I spent last weekend reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Continuing in the tradition of the last couple of HP books, I went away with some friends to focus on it completely.
The first time we did this was for Order of the Phoenix. We went down to Anglesea on the day the book came out and read like mad until we'd all finished. We spent a lengthy session on the Saturday night reading it aloud to each other, which was really companionable. (We also wrote 'Weasely is King' in the sand down at the beach . . .)
The second time was for Half-Blood Prince, and although we had a lovely weekend, the HP side of things fell a bit flat because we delayed a few weekends and people had already started or finished it!
This time we again went away on the day the book came out, and there was an air of delicious anticipation. In fact, I think we chatted and mucked about before actually sitting down to read -- all part of the build-up.
After reading the first four chapters to ourselves, we decided to try reading aloud again. And we kept going . . . and going . . . until those of us doing the reading were hoarse! By this time it was about midnight and we went to bed.
In the morning, more delicious anticipation as we wandered down the road for a disastrous breakfast, before returning to more HP7. And still we read aloud.
The fabulous thing about reading it aloud with friends is that we could stop and exclaim and postulate and discuss as we went. It got to the point where I no longer wanted to read it to myself, as I couldn't stop and discuss with people. The 6-book build up and media hype made the Deathly Hallows an experience to be shared. And even when half our party went home before the end, two of us persevered together, taking only an 80-page (or so) break to read silently and give our voices a rest. And even then, we stopped a chapter short of where we'd agreed, as things got far too exciting for the solo effort.
The experience was wonderful, and I thought the book lived up to the hype and had a thoroughly satisfying ending. And that's all I'm going to say here, because I've promised no spoilers. I am immensely glad to have taken the Harry Potter journey.