An ‘adult’ adult novel: a review of The Casual Vacancy

Their reward for enduring the awful experience was the right to tell people about it.

The Casual VacancyMany of us don’t bother with age labels when selecting a book. After all, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is filed under children’s books but engages all types. We like what we like.

While Harry Potter can suit anyone, Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy is designed to target adults — readers who can handle large amounts of mature content. Rowling interprets a literal meaning from the term “adult novel,” writing as crudely as she can by tossing in a great cast of characters that allows her to broach as many issues as possible: adultery, molestation, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, bullying, sexual deviation, homosexuality, physical abuse, depression, racial prejudice, and so on. The list is a long one.

It’s almost like she set out to prove she’s more than a children’s author. She seems to say, “I can be nasty. I can be dirty. I’m not so fragile.”

Continue reading “An ‘adult’ adult novel: a review of The Casual Vacancy”

J.K. Rowling’s latest book is a crime novel few people read

The Cuckoo's CallingYou probably missed it, but J.K. Rowling — the author of The Casual Vacancy and Harry Potter — published another book. Only she did it under a pseudonym for the explicit purpose of seeing how readers would react.

Rowling penned crime-fiction novel The Cuckoo’s Calling as unknown writer Robert Galbraith. Critics loved it, but it sold poorly. Then the publisher, Mulholland Books (an imprint of Little, Brown, and Company), revealed Galbraith’s identity, and the book quickly became a bestseller, with sales peaking 507,000 percent.

“I hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience!” Rowling said. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name.”

She added, “And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.”

Little, Brown, and Company is working on a reprint that states the connection between Galbraith and Rowling.

A writer at CNN pointed out that a more interesting case is that of Chuck Ross, who made publishers look like idiots when he retyped and submitted the novel Steps by Jerzy Kosinski only without the title and with his own byline. Most rejected it, for amusingly oblivious reasons.

Awesome book cover Friday: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Quick note: We now have a search box (top left). Somehow this got lost in the shuffle from the old theme to the new.

This week’s pick is the new cover for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Check out the one for Sorcerer’s Stone here.

Graphic novelist Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet) handled the redesign. Such an iconic moment! Would you have chose a different scene for the cover?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Bear with me over the next couple of weeks. I may be on radio silence. I’m reviewing a big game!

Thanks, and feel free to tweet or email! My line is always open.

Awesome book cover Friday: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Scholastic is dolling up all seven of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books with new, 15th-anniversary covers.

The first is coming for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in September. The redesigns were done by Kazu Kibuishi, a graphic novelist known for his Amulet series.

The publisher has revealed the cover for Sorcerer’s Stone. What do you think? I love the sleeker, more color-rich, more emotionally encapsulating take over the original.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Scholastic

It’s Monday! What are you reading? #3

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy MLK Day! It’s Monday again, which means it’s time to share my latest endeavors. Even if you don’t participate regularly or don’t intend to, feel free to talk about what books you’re reading in the comments.

Penguin LostWhat I’ve been reading

I polished off The Jazz Cage by Ray Chen Smith (review here) and the Russian novel Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov. More on that this week! In short, it’s good and depressing at the same time — so one of “those” books.

I know there’s a sequel, so I’m going to have to read that because I flew through this one.

That makes two books so far for what’s looking like a very busy 2013. :)

What I’m reading now

Here I come, The Casual Vacancy! Yay! I’ve been looking forward to this one.

BoneshakerWhat I plan to read next

February is around the corner, which means I need to read a historical mystery for the Eclectic Reader Challenge. Not sure yet what I’m going to pick. Any suggestions?

I need to squeeze in The Fault in Our Stars next month, too. LONG OVERDUE. And I want to read Boneshaker since I came across that recently.

What are your reading plans? What books have you discovered lately? Any good recommendations — or words of caution? ;)