J.K. Rowling

Weekly Quotation: J.K. Rowling

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The stories we love best live in us forever.

- J.K. Rowling

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Book Review: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

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The Casual Vacancy

Written by J.K. Rowling
Published by Little, Brown and Company on Sept. 27, 2012 
Genre: Adult Fiction, British, Town Politics 
503 pages 
 

*Warning potential spoilers*

Barry Fairbrother suddenly dies in the British town, Pagford. Fairbrother was on the Parish Council for Pagford and now individuals are running for election to fill his position. There are disagreements about the changes that should take place in Pagford. The main issue concerns whether the Fields should remain within the Pagford boundaries. There are social class stereotypes between those living in the picturesque Pagford with cobblestones and individuals living in The Fields who are believed to be a lower social class. Everybody has personal secrets and grievances against others. Unique characters live in Pagford and somehow each connect. For example: a teen has a crush on a young woman whose mother is the social worker for a drug using mother whose daughter has sexual relations with a different teen whose father is the headmaster at school whose doctor has a daughter cutting herself because the headmaster’s son often bullies her. Confused? That’s just one small example about how the many individuals in Pagford connect. How will the town election change Pagford? Will the town’s secrets be made public to affect the vote and daily life?

If I saw the book cover and read the short description I wouldn’t give this book a second glance. I will admit the only reason I read The Casual Vacancy was because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I wasn’t expecting it to be anything like Harry Potter, instead I wanted to read another genre with her writing. In fact, the writing is so extremely different from her previous writing that I often forgot who the author was. Let me warn you this is definitely an adult book. It contains swearing, bullying, drug use, domestic violence, cutting,  rape, child neglect, sexual situations, political scandal, and social class issues. I mention this because the Harry Potter series was read by both children and adults, so the content should not be assumed okay for all age levels.

Personally, I didn’t enjoy the book and I had to force myself to finish it. I think there were too many characters and the plot was often dry and not exciting. I had to read over half the book before the plot fully formed and it gained some momentum. Rowling did a good job connecting characters and providing their different perspectives, but I think she almost tried too hard.  Yes, life often isn’t perfect and individuals have personal struggles and desires, but I think too many issues were thrown into the book. It was almost as though she made a check list of every possible issue (drugs, sex, violence…) that individuals may have in a small town. Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay reading harsh subjects but I think the issues in this book lacked substance and depth. The conclusion left many unanswered questions.Would I recommend this book or read the book again? No, but unfortunately I know most individuals are like me and will be reading The Casual Vacancy because of its author. I give Rowling high praise for writing something in a new genre for a different audience. If you enjoy small town conflicts, social issues, and British humor then you may enjoy The Casual Vacancy.

J.K. Rowling Announces Book Title: ‘The Casual Vacancy’

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Publication Date: September 27, 2012

Book Description:

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

 

Price: $19.99 eBook and $21.00 Hardback

Personally, I love J.K. Rowling so I’m excited about her new book. Deep down I may always want another Harry Potter book, but I understand that the series is over. However, at that price I think I may wait and read the book from my library. What are you thoughts about her new book?
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Harry Potter is Now Available on eBooks!!!

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Attention muggles, Harry Potter is now available to read as an eBook for various readers, smartphones, tablets, mp3 players, and computers!!! You need to purchase your Harry Potter eBooks on the third-party website, www.pottermore.com. Then click the lower right button for eBooks at the Pottermore Shop.

The exclusive home of the Harry Potter eBooks

The eBook prices range from $7.99 (earlier books) to $9.99 (later books). The audio book prices range from $29.99 (earlier books) to $44.99 (later books). You can also save %10 by buying all seven books. Here are some questions and answers to hopefully help.

Currently, the books are only available in English, but soon they will be available in more languages.

The Harry Potter eBooks are provided in EPUB format, which is most common for readers. What devices are compatible with the Pottermore Shop eBooks?:

  • Sony Reader (PRS—505 & PRS—700)
  • Sony Reader WiFi (PRS—T1)
  • Sony Tablet S & Sony Tablet P (SGPT1XX & SGPT212)
  • Daily Edition (PRS—900BC & PRS 950SC)
  • Pocket Edition (PRS—300SC & PRS—350SC)
  • Touch Edition (PRS—600BC & PRS 650BC)
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • HTC EVO
  • Motorola Droid
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Asus Transformer
  • Asus Iconia Tab
  • Motorola Xoom
  • Toshiba Thrive
  • Other mobile and tablet devices running Android v1.5 or higher (i.e. PanDigital Novel)
  • All Amazon Kindle devices and reading apps
  • NOOK and NOOKcolor (including Nook first edition, Nook Simple Touch and Nook Color)
  • Kobo eReader (including Kobo eReader, eReader wireless and Kobo Touch)
  • iPhone running iOS v4.2 or newer
  • iPad running iOS v4.2 or newer
  • iPod touch running iOS v4.2 or newer

Most eBook–reading devices support the EPUB format. For a comprehensive list, visithttp://blogs.adobe.com/digitalpublishing/supported-devices or check your manufacturer’s guidelines to see if this applies to your device.

How do I download the eBook?:

In order, to buy the Harry Potter eBook you need to set up a Pottermore Shop account. If you were lucky enough to get  early access to Pottermore you still need to  make a separate Pottermore Shop account. Click on the eBook you wish to purchase and add it to your basket. After it’s in your basket, proceed to the checkout.

How many times can I download each eBook?:

You’re able to download each eBook eight times for your personal use at no additional cost.

I was one of the lucky few who got to experience Pottermore early in October. It will open to everyone next month! Pottermore is an awesome online reading experience. You learn more about the books and become part of the story yourself. Click on the message to hear more about it from J. K. Rowling.

Weekly Quote: J. K. Rowling

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If you don’t like to read you haven’t found the right book.

- J. K. Rowling

Weekly Quote: Magic with J.K. Rowling

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I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.

- J.K. Rowling

I didn’t take this beautiful photo.

Hermione Experiences Censorship

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Today’s the last day of banned books week, however our freedom to read should be celebrated all year. I was going to end the week with my favorite series and well-known for being challenged, of course I’m referring to the Harry Potter series. Instead, I decided to use a past post about Harry Potter.

Any student found in possession of the magazine ,The Quibbler, will be expelled.

For some reason, every time Hermione caught sight of one of these signs she beamed with pleasure.

‘What exactly are you so happy about?’ Harry asked her.

‘Oh, Harry don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!’

- J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 512)

I don’t think this conversation spoils the book if you haven’t read it yet. The basic idea is that the magazine, The Quibbler, provided information that the ministry didn’t want students to know about. Of course, Hermione catches this action right away and understands that students will now learn the truth. By the end of the day, every student read The Quibbler.

What happens when you ban or forbid something? Of course, our curiosity wins and we desire to seek what others don’t want us to learn or comprehend. Individuals crave to know what information and context is so terrible and extreme that some want to influence others from not reading it. So don’t be afraid to read the book, listen to the song, or watch the movie that others find ‘questionable’ or ‘inappropriate’. My personal philosophy is that any book worth banning is a book worth reading.