Got it! A first-edition hardback of “The Casual Vacancy,” by J.K. Rowling, published in the U.S. and Great Britain this week. The 503-page tome comes with a cover price of $35 ($36.99 in Canada), but Walmart has it on deep discount at $24.50.
The Casual Vacancy may signal a turnaround for quality in popular fiction. Where can it go but up, after “Hunger Games“ and “Fifty Shades of Grey?” Talk about your lowest common denominator!
I plan to do one of my serialized book reviews for Casual Vacancy, with updates posted every few days, as I read.
To my surprise, Barnes & Nobel‘s Website offers the hardback at a lower price, $21! And Amazon undercuts B&N by 10 cents, at $20.90. But you might have to pay shipping fees in both cases.
The best deal is the eBook price, $17.99 for the Nook version, and an identical $17.99 for the Kindle eBook.
The Oprah endorsement was, until recently, the most coveted award in American letters. Now the trend-setter for popular fiction is the Walmart endorsement. Only a select few novels find space on the shelves at Walmart. Inclusion in the collection means healthy sales for the book and celebrity status for the author. Can a movie contract be far behind?
Walmart isn’t taking much of a chance on J.K. Rowling. She’s the famous creator of the Harry Potter phenomena — a series of seven books written for children but widely enjoyed by adults. Millions and millions sold! Plus eight Harry Potter films!
The Casual Vacancy was written for an ADULT audience. The word, “adult” comes freighted with meaning. The most prominent feature of the red dust jacket, besides the author’s name and title, is a big, black X. What, exactly, does that mean? Fifty Shades of Grey may have changed expectations regarding what constitutes an “adult” book.
I’ve told you all I know about Casual Vacancy until I read it. But I expect better writing than in Hunger Games or Fifty Shades. The Hunger Games story was pretty good, but originally intended for an unsophisticated “young adult” audience. Fifty Shades was apparently written for an extremely adult audience. Somehow, I doubt that Casual Vacancy, however adult it may be, will resemble either book.
Full disclosure: I read Hunger Games all the way through, and found it mildly interesting. But I discarded Fifty Shades after a few pages. Possibly I didn’t give it a fair chance. Haven’t read the follow-on books in either trilogy, but I’d like to see Hunger Games, the movie. Movie rights to Fifty Shades were sold earlier this year.
The cover promo for J.K. Rowling’s new book offers the following summary:
“A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.”
Can’t wait to get started on Casual Vacancy. My yellow highlighter is standing by. Sensible critics write a review after they’ve thoughtfully digested the entire book. BORING. My read-along, blog-along review is more of an adventure. Who needs a polished review with all the anticipation sanded off?
Your first installment on Casual Vacancy will be available in a day or two. Watch this space.
– John Hayden
- J.K. Rowling NOT Done With Harry Potter & Reveals Rihanna’s Casual Vacancy Inspiration! (perezhilton.com)
- J.K. Rowling Says She May Return To The World Of ‘Harry Potter’ (pinkisthenewblog.com)
- J.K. Rowling’s Debut Novel for Adults Worth a Read (usnews.com)
- J.K. Rowling’s new book on Kindle: Literally unreadable (paidcontent.org)
- We’re Not At Hogwart’s Anymore: J.K. Rowling’s New Novel “The Casual Vacancy” Not For Kids (923now.cbslocal.com)