Quote of the Day

The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

There was nothing, as far as Howard could see, to stop the Fielders growing fresh vegetables; nothing to stop them cleaning them disciplining their sinister, hooded, spray-painting offspring; nothing to stop them pulling themselves together as a community and tackling the dirt and the shabbiness; nothing to stop them cleaning themselves up and taking jobs; nothing at all.  So Howard was forced to draw the conclusion that they were choosing, of their own free will, to live the way they lived, and that the estate’s air of slightly threatening degradation was nothing more than a physical manifestation of ignorance and indolence.

[Love Pirate’s note: Howard is the head of the town council and main “villain” of the book.]

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

There was a bit of a stir when the warmly received The Cuckoo’s Calling was discovered not to be Robert Galbraith’s debut novel, but that he was in fact a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.  The reasons behind the pseudonym seem pretty obvious considering the critical and public reaction to Rowling’s previous novel, The Casual Vacancy.  Using a different name allowed Rowling anonymity, where her book could be taken on the value of its content alone, without the hype, expectations and preconceptions that would have come from releasing “J.K. Rowling’s new novel”.  And, tellingly, Galbraith got some very good reviews before the secret slipped, with several reviewers finding it hard to believe that The Cuckoo’s Calling could be a debut novel.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a pretty straight-forward detective story, but is relentlessly entertaining and filled with memorable characters.  It tells the story of the death of Lula Landry, a supermodel whose fall from her penthouse apartment was ruled a suicide by the police.  Continue reading

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling’s follow up to the Harry Potter series is a bit difficult to review, or even to classify.  It’s one part political drama, one part small town comedy, while also being largely an ethical fable about our attitudes toward others, the interconnectedness of our lives and the consequences of our actions.  It’s a seedy, foul-mouthed take on a host of issues that can feel both exaggerated and painfully realistic and believable at the same moment.  And while on the surface The Casual Vacancy has little in common with Harry Potter, both stories begin in the same fashion, with death.

The opening of The Casual Vacancy is a far cry from the double murder that began Rowling’s other series, starting instead with the rather pedestrian death of Barry Fairbrother as he collapses in the parking lot of the local golf club on his anniversary due to an aneurism.   Continue reading

Friday Favorite: Favorite News

Today’s Friday Favorite is a bit different. I wasn’t going to do one at all, because I’m still on vacation and have trouble getting the formatting correct on my phone, but I thought I’d make an attempt. Instead of picking a favorite scene or moment or character or something else from a movie an TV show, I’m instead going to offer a few thoughts about this week’s big news about J.K. Rowling.
It was announced today (at least I think it was today, but I lose track of time when I’m on vacation) that Rowling has reached a new deal with Warner Bros., the studio behind the wildly successful adaptations of her Harry Potter books. Continue reading

The Lone Ranger, Critics and the Box Office

I really hadn’t planned on writing any more about The Lone Ranger, but a series of news articles and quotes that have been floating around this week, along with countless commentary, have me feeling like I should weigh in.  First, Disney has projected that it will lose $160-190 million on The Lone Ranger.  At the same time, or possibly in response to this, several people behind the film have piped up to blame the critics for the box office failure of their film. Continue reading