The Running Grave to be Published in September

According to Amazon and numerous other booksellers, the official release date in September 26th.  Page count is 832, which may feel like a novella compared to the last two.

Five months to go!  (or, depending on when you are reading this, less.  Click link below to be exact.)

Countdown to The Running Grave

J. K. Rowling and the Missing Greyhound Tweet

Saturday was a busy day for me, it was the final for the Wales Rugby championship to be played at our national stadium and I was there for the afternoon alternately watching the games and celebrating with colleagues. I was aware via alerts on my phone that there was some twitter activity between J. K. Rowling and a well known English Lawyer Jolyon Maugham. By the time I got home, tired (and it must be admitted in a fairly advanced state of liquid refreshment), I turned in for an early night.

When I awoke the next morning there was an alert on my phone for a @JK_Rowling tweet. It looked like the start of a story or anecdote, although the tweet was listed as 6/, presumably the sixth tweet of a series. Pressing the alert sent me to the message “Tweets are unavailable” which is usually the sign that the tweet has been deleted. I confirmed this by checking her timeline, and sure enough the tweet wasn’t there, nor were there any signs of the other tweets in the series.

In the past when Rowling deletes a tweet quickly, due to an error, there is some chatter about this on Twitter. In the past we have also seen occasions when entirely fake tweets have been presented as the tweet that was deleted.

In this case there was silence. I checked all of the replies to her @JK_Rowling twitter account for twenty minutes before and after the time the alert was sent and there was nothing. I was expecting to see at least one or two replies to a deleted tweet. I checked the online haunts of fellow Rowling obsessives, and it seems none of them received this alert.

The tweet contained nothing objectional and appeared to be the start of a story : Rowling was preparing to turn in for the night, when the dogs asked to be let out. Her greyhound started making a commotion as if it had found something. The existence of the greyhound helps to date this story, she adopted a greyhound called Sapphire in late 2007, whereas she currently has two west highland terriers called Bronte and Emma.

Was the tweet real? It isn’t impossible for some clever fellow to spoof a twitter alert, but this isn’t easy and I have to question why, if they were to go to so much trouble, they wouldn’t have something a bit more incendiary. I have a screenshot, but this really is trivial to fake, and I do not include it here for that reason.

My guess is that J. K. Rowling was drafting a series of tweets to publish at some later date, when she accidently published one. Realising this as she did it, she quickly deleted it. Once a tweet is deleted, Twitter will stop pushing notifications. Mine was one of the few that was pushed before the delete was registered. If this is true, keep an eye out for a greyhound story shortly!


Telegraph: ‘Why Harry Potter is a Literary Masterpiece that Belongs in the Canon’

Charlotte Runcie wrote an article last Saturday in The Telegraph (UK) titled, ‘Why Harry Potter is a Literary Masterpiece‘ with the subtitle, “JK Rowling is more than a lightning rod for controversy. She’s an author whose books belong in the canon of English literature.”

Her argument contra the Trans-manian Devils among the literati (and their cousins, the twitterati) who continue to slander Rowling as a “transphobe” and “murderer” (!) was short and to the point:

Beyond the legitimate literary criticism, Rowling has weathered several waves of unjustified attack, first from the harrumphing reviewers who somehow managed to read her books without reading them at all, and then a further wave of rage from those who disagree with her beyond the books, taking issue with her politics (she is pro-Labour but anti-Corbyn, and is a critic of Nicola Sturgeon) or her stance on women’s rights and the much-alleged transphobia. 

But if you go looking for anything transphobic that Rowling has said, you’re going to return empty-handed. In November last year, the journalist E J Rosetta was asked by an editor to write an article called “20 Transphobic JK Rowling Quotes We’re Done With”. After 12 weeks of research, she gave up, saying: “I’ve not found a single truly transphobic message.”
As refreshing as it is to read this plain truth stated in a mainline newspaper without equivocation or side-stepping, it’s not the best part of Runcie’s article. To answer the question posed in her title, she leans heavily on Beatrice Groves’ Literary Allusion in Harry Potter. Those of you familiar with that book will recognize almost every point that The Telegraph writer makes about the literary merits of the Hogwarts Saga as an insight taken straight from the source text named. Good for her for choosing such an excellent reference and citing it at least in passing; the article is worth reading just for the reminder of how good Literary Allusion really is.

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Ink Black Heart Nominated for Crime Writers Association ‘Gold Dagger’

On this ‘Long List,’ the first stage of CWA nominations, Rowling-Galbraith is the Pachiderm in the room; her sixth installment of the Strike series is, I’m guessing here, correct me if I’m wrong, by far the best selling one of the twelve novels listed and the only one slotted pre-publication for adaptation for television. I think it’s a fair bet, too, that it is the only novel to have been reviewed in major metropolitan dailies around the world (and lauded for the most part).

This by no means is to suggest that The Presence’s elephantine status in any way guarantees that she wins. I think it is far more likely to count against her, especially as much of the Chattering Class is still mesmerized by Transmania. The CWA is dedicated to awarding their Daggers to the best book — and they passed over Troubled Blood, which frankly was, outside of perhaps the seventh Harry Potter novel and The Christmas Pig, was the best thing Rowling has written to date.

Ink Black Heart is much more of a stretch for readers, especially those not already enchanted with the Robin-Cormoran back story, so I have my doubts about her chances. The recent turning of the tide in the Trans Wars, visible in articles like last week’s ‘Why Harry Potter is a Literary Masterpiece‘ in The Telegraph and in the news that Max will be filming a new adaptation of the Hogwarts Saga for television with Rowling and Bronte Studios having key roles, though, means perhaps she won’t be fighting against the current as much as she was with Strike5.

The good news potentially about this nomination is that Rowling may do an interview about Ink Black Heart to help her chances as she did for Troubled Blood’s Silver Dagger nomination. Those questions were generic ones asked of every nominee so we learned little from the exchange that we didn’t know from close reading of the book (“most meticulously planned book I’ve ever written;” yawn). Here’s hoping that Rowling-Galbraith will one day sit down with some Serious Strikers who are not just fan girls/guys and ‘shippers to answer questions more challenging than “What makes a book a ‘thriller’ in your view?”

Aleister Crowley and the I Ching

I was researching Emile Coue, a French ‘New Thought’ expert of the inter-war years, yesterday and remembered that I had first read about him on a skiing trip to Canada in the mid 70’s. The book was a madhouse collection of stray information called The People’s Almanac and I was consumed with it when I wasn’t on the slopes (my cousins will testify to this, I think, because I entertained them each night — I thought I was entertaining them, at least — with trivia and bizarre historical facts and figures from the text). It’s available online here; the Coue article is on page 561 and his most famous book, Self-Mastery Through Conscious Auto-Suggestion, can be downloaded here.

On page 562, though, was something much more interesting: a short piece on Aleister Crowley and his obsession with the Yi King, what is now referred to as the I Ching or The Book of Changes. More after the jump! [Read more…]