Posts Tagged ‘ Harry Potter ’

Too Much Hype: ‘The Casual Vacancy’

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

As you have heard, J.K. Rowling is at it again. Her latest book, The Casual Vacancy, came out today to much fanfare. The publisher built suspense by keeping all of these secrets. No review copies (for paupers like me anyway)! No writing about it–or selling it–until 1 a.m. on September 27! If you want it, you have to pay $17.99 on Kindle! The list price is $35!

Sorry. I get worked up.

I’m not that excited about the book. First of all, there are no wizards. I repeat: Not one wizard. Second, the reviews have been scathing: The New York Times called The Casual Vacancy “disappointing” and “dull.” Third, J.K. Rowling is a billionaire author, and I wish she’d given her loyal readers a break on the price.

As much as I love Harry Potter, and will defend it’s awesomeness to the death, I don’t think I’ll read this one. It’s about an idyllic English town called Pagford, where a dude dies and political and personal fallout ensue. I’ve read that the book–most definitely not for children–includes suicide, rape, heroin addiction, beatings and “a grotesque description of a used condom.” I like dark subjects–give me Gone Girl or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo any day–but The Casual Vacancy sounds like it lacks redemption and hope. I kind of need those two things to really care about and get behind a story.

What do you think? Am I a hater who needs to pipe down? Are you totally psyched for this great author’s adult fiction debut? Are you going to buy it? (It’s been Number 1 on Amazon for days!)

Update: Just now, at 1:14 p.m., a review copy of The Casual Vacancy arrived on my front porch. So the publicists are cool after all. Thank you, Little Brown!

I give. I’m curious. I’ll read it. 


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YA Friday: NPR Tells Us Which Kid Lit is Best

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I’m kind of confused on why NPR is rating children’s literature, but rate they did. They came out with a “scientific” list of the top 100 young adult books of all time. I’m still scratching my head. Shouldn’t they be broadcasting the European debt crisis on BBC and pondering the makings of a gunman on All Things Considered? Whatevs.

Then all the book writers had something to bitch say about it. The Atlantic applauds the NPR list for being dominated by female authors and protagonists but manages to put down the reasons why we all love the genre so much. (It’s not that simplistic, and we’re not “adverse to nuance.”) The Guardian ponders why Diana Wynne Jones is all the way down at number 36. And one of my favorite websites, Forever Young Adult, complained that there was’t enough Meg Cabot while John Green got five nods–and why did NPR think Lord of the Rings is YA?

Best-of lists always stir controversy, and that’s probably what NPR intended. They got a lot of attention, and who doesn’t love getting some of that? But my point is that NPR’s opinion is this week’s big book story, and I’m not complaining. I’m always thrilled to see people–adults no less–obsess over young adult literature.

So, how many of the 100 have you read? I checked off 36.

Below, see NPR’s Top Ten YA Novels of all time (with links to Forever YA’s book reviews):


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