One afternoon, I stumbled across a post on Tumblr about a guy who read the entire Twilight series, and wrote a post for each chapter as he went. I clicked over and laughed until I cried. His hatred for the books was so palpable, so like my own. He identified himself only as "Mark," but I felt I knew him very well.
A few days later, I realized that he had another project in the works - he was reading Harry Potter for the first time, and blogging chapter by chapter as he went. At the time, he was midway through Azkaban, but like any good reader, I started with the beginning - chapter one of Sorcerer's Stone.
Guys, Mark tried so hard to dislike Harry Potter. He was bitter, sarcastic, and dismissive for the first seven or eight chapters. After suffering through all four Twilight books, he was prepared to despise his next assignment. But by the time we hit Diagon Alley, he was hooked. I sped through his posts - all 50 of them - in about three days. When I wasn't reading them, I was thinking about them. I fell into a "Mark Reads" mental coma.
I never emerged.
Reading his blog was like reading Harry Potter again for the first time. It was magical. My daily routine centered around reading his posts. The rest of my summer stock days were a breeze. It's so silly, but I felt much less alone when I discovered the Mark Reads community. Hundreds of other people were as dedicated to his daily updates as I was. The moment the posts went live, I devoured them. Until he finished Deathly Hallows, my world was largely Markcentric. On Halloween, when he finished the series, I felt sad and empty. Just like I did when I finished the seventh book.
Luckily, that wasn't his last project. Not at all.
He came to Atlanta last week (for the first time!) and hosted a small gathering at Manuel's Tavern. Excellent Boyfriend came along, as did my Little Red Wife and Wife's Boyfriend. Mark read terrible (awful, wretched) fanfic for us, and enlisted our help to act-out the best passages. At the end of the night, I asked him to sign my copy of Sorcerer's Stone.
Mark is a wonderful writer. He's hilarious and thoughtful and pours all of himself into these projects. He's also the person who introduced me to the Hunger Games, so I owe him quite a lot.
On March 21st, he starts blogging The West Wing. The next day, he starts Friday Night Lights. Guess I'm falling into another recap coma.