Archives for September 2012

J. K. Rowling on Casual Vacancy at Southbank Centre

More on event here at Best Chick Lit and at The Guardian. Mark Brown reviewed the first reviews there:

The reviews so far have been mixed, to say the least. The Daily Mail’s Jan Moir asked herself whether the book lived up to hype?

“On balance, I would have to say no. Not unless you want to have more than 500 pages of relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature crammed down your throat.”

Christopher Brookmyre, writing in the Daily Telegraph, enjoyed it. “One marvels at the skill with which Rowling weaves such vivid characters in and out of each other’s lives, rendering them so complex and viscerally believable that one finds oneself caring for the worst of them.”

The Casual Vacancy will not hit the heights of Harry Potter – more than 450m worldwide sales – but it is likely to go straight to the top of the fiction bestseller chart – the question is: how long for?

Rowling’s hope for Reading Experience? Tears.

The book is unquestionably for adults. Lawson said he had noted the book’s themes when he was reading it: drug addiction, rape, alleged paedophilia.

“It’s a cheery book,” joked Rowling. “Clearly a comedy … good beach read.” …

JK Rowling’s new book has been out less than 24 hours and some who have read it all have admitted tears at the ending.

And that’s how she wants it: “I don’t think I would have much to say to anyone who did not at least tear up a bit,” she told an audience.

“I don’t think I could have any kind of warm feeling towards someone who didn’t feel sad towards the end.”

From The Guardian‘s review of the book:
[Read more…]

J. K. Rowling on Casual Vacancy with ABC, Guardian

If you can tear yourself away from “Casual Vacancy”…

I’d love to hear some responses to this recent column in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  I expect our Headmaster has a different take on the Twilight series.

I will be the first to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of Twilight…  my main motivation for reading it was to appreciate John’s Spotlight book more. And unlike Harry, Hunger Games and Divergent (all of which get a mention in the Chron article as well!) I never felt a need to re-visit Bella’s tale.

But the column is well worth discussing.

Vacancy Day of Publication: Rowling Newsletter, YouTube

On Thursday, 27 November, Casual Vacancy is available for reading at last!

To commemorate, celebrate, and highlight the day, Ms. Rowling tells us in her newsletter that the answer to the question”What sort of book is Vacancy?”  is “I love nineteenth century novels that focus on a town or village. This is my attempt to do a modern version.”

She’ll be talking with Mark Lawson tonight at London’s Southbank Centre, which conversation will be livestreamed at 7:30 pm on YouTube at No, I don’t know if that 7:30 pm is Greenwich time or another.Let us know if you know!

Please share below, too, all your day of publication news! (Hat-tip to Katherine for the Newsletter information.)

Vacancy First Reviews: “From Potter to Potty-Mouth”

The Day Before the Publication Bulletin:

(1) Joanne Rowling appears on ABC Television’s ‘Good Morning America’ program to discuss the new novel and her life experiences that inform the work.

The book marks a new literary direction for Rowling, who has made a name for herself with her wildly popular Harry Potter series. Completely leaving her signature realm of fantasy behind, the book is grounded in the real-world and incorporates popular teen culture. The Rihanna song, “Umbrella,” featuring Jay Z, plays a very prominent role in the story.

“The song’s just perfect for the book because of the rap at the beginning. There’s this rap that Jay Z does at the beginning of the song and it’s actually a very celebratory rap,” said Rowling. “It’s saying, ‘I’m shockproof ….I’m famous, I have money, let the Dow Jones fall, I’m OK,’ and it’s said in the book by a girl who doesn’t really understand the words and who is not OK. It’s very poignant to me that this girl doesn’t understand.”

Rowling has discussed her bouts with depression, even revealing that she felt suicidal in her early life. However, this is the first time she has spoken publically about her struggles as a teenager with an obsessive compulsive disorder. It was an experience, she says, that informed part of the story in her new book.

“We have an adult character in the book who has obsessive compulsive disorder [OCD],” she said, “These are things I know from the inside. … When I was in my teens I had issues with OCD.”

For Rowling, the anxiety disorder manifested itself as “compulsions” – “checking, double checking, triple checking” things, she said.

As for her depression, she says it has not been part of her life for “more than a decade,” attributing part of that to the tremendous success of Harry Potter.

(2) The New York Daily News breaks the news embargo (of sorts) to publish a highly critical review: ‘No Magic, but Full of Unforgettable Profanity.’ Excerpt after the jump. [Read more…]