Harry Potter. The Twilight series. Halo 3. Thomas Pynchon.
What do these four have in common? They all have had midnight release parties.
Pynchon’s fans may not be swooning teenage girls or pale-skinned gamers, but they may be just anxious enough to show up at the crack of midnight August 4 to purchase Pynchon’s new stoner-noir detective novel “Inherent Vice.”
At least that’s what Frank Reiss, the owner of A Cappella Books in Little Five Points hopes. The bookstore tried a release party the last time Pynchon wrote a novel in 2006 but did so with minimal planning. Weiss is promoting this one with a little more advance notice.
“We’re even going to have a band,” reiss said. (In fact, the Roswell band Schwarzkommando cites Pynchon’s works in its lyrics.) “We’re going to use social networking. We can better touch base with people who have that particular obsession.”
He’s not expecting a big Potter-like frenzy: “I’m hoping a couple of dozen people show up.”
Pynchon is a reclusive author with a cult following best known for his works in the earlier works “The Crying of Lot 49″ and the 1973 opus “Gravity’s Rainbow.” (My barely personal connection: he went to my high school and I read a few pages of “Rainbow’s Gravity” at my college during an outdoor marathon.).
“People who become obsessed with books become obsessed with Pynchon,” Reiss said. “His works are so demanding. You have to be a pretty committed reader. It’s a certain self selectivity. There’s also a paranoia that comes through in his books. And bookish people tend to have a soft spot for paranoia.”
Speaking of paranoia, Reiss said the publisher Penguin Press is only going to get him the books on Monday August 3 just a few hours before the release date. (Only a handful of review galleys were sent out with the names of the reviewers embedded into the book itself for security purposes.)
The last time A Cappella Books held a midnight party for Pynchon’s 2006 release “Against the Day,” Weiss got a slap on the wrist from the publisher for placing the book in the store window for promotional purposes a few hours before the book was set to go on sale. Weiss won’t do that this time.