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Goodreads users select best books of 2012 -- FIRST LOOK

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The annual Goodreads Choice Awards are basically the People’s Choice Awards of books. Users of the literary social network voted on their favorite books of the year in 20 categories, and this year, there were some surprises — J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy as best novel? — and some slam dunks (Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl for Best Mystery, John Green for Best Young Adult, and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild for Best Memoir). Once again, Veronica Roth proved that she’s pretty much unbeatable when it comes to reader-voted prizes, winning the Best Goodreads Author award for the first time and the Best Young Adult Fantasy award for the second time with Insurgent, sequel to Divergent.

The closest race occurred in Best Historical Fiction, with M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans narrowly beating out Man Booker-winner Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel most likely benefited from a large and devoted fanbase, as Casual Vacancy only became a finalist due to write-in votes — its Goodreads user rating of 3.32 stars wasn’t originally high enough to qualify it — yet it won the biggest honor.

Susan Cain’s Nonfiction win for her best-seller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking made me smile — partly because I could picture a bunch of Goodreads bookworms really relating to it, and also because introverts, a sizable but often ignored and misunderstood demographic, have had a big year in 2012 with the publication of Quiet, Sophia Dembling’s The Introvert’s Way, and a buzzed-about feature in The Atlantic.

See the entire list of winners below: READ FULL STORY

Goodreads Choice Awards 2012 finalists announced

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Book nerds, you have some hard choices to make. The folks at Goodreads, the social networking hub for bibliophiles, have whittled down the field to 200 finalists — with 10 titles in 20 categories — for the Goodreads Choice Awards, voted on by Goodreads users.

In the Fiction category are some of the most beloved novels of the year, including Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker … and The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling? Rowling’s foray into adult fiction didn’t originally qualify for the long-list because it didn’t get the required 3.5-star user rating, but it earned enough write-in votes to become a finalist.

Another category to watch is Romance. E L James’ reps point to last year’s Goodreads Choice Awards as the tipping point that gave Fifty Shades of Grey a new level of recognition that eventually led to the phenomenon we all know about. Fifty Shades Freed goes up against Sylvia Day’s Bared to You and J.R. Ward’s Lover Reborn.

You can always count on Young Adult literature to generate enthusiastic online engagement. In the YA fiction category, the front-runner is certainly John Green’s wonderful novel The Fault in Our Stars. The #DFTBA movement should give him the win handily, although the dark horse might be Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which won a lot of fans this year. (It’s terrific). In the YA fantasy category, it’ll be a battle between Veronica Roth and Cassandra Clare to see whose extremely devoted followings will turn out in droves.

Go vote!

Follow @EWStephanLee on Twitter.

Read more:
See the new paperback cover of ‘The Age of Miracles’ by Karen Thompson Walker — EXCLUSIVE
And the 2012 National Book Award winners are …
National Book Award winner Katherine Boo on ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’, ‘unsexy’ topics, and ‘American Idol’ recaps

The Vatican is no fan of J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy'

Even God didn’t like The Casual Vacancy. After being released to lukewarm reviews in September, J.K. Rowling’s first adult outing was slammed in a recent edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican.

Wait? The Vatican reviewed The Casual Vacancy? Yes, yes they did, as a part of their efforts to incorporate more pop culture into their weekly newspaper at the urgings of Pope Benedict XVI. The review criticized Rowling’s latest effort, claiming it “disappoints” and adding that it “needed a sprinkle of magic,” the UK’s Telegraph reports. “Fifty-six years after Peyton Place, an up to date — and British — version of that masterpiece of a social chronicle might make sense,” the review reads. “Rowling probably has all the qualifications to be the worthy successor of Grace Metaloius. But there’s something missing.” However, the newspaper did make it clear that it had “only admiration” for the Harry Potter scribe.

READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy' sees respectable sales figures during first week

J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy is reportedly “on track to become the year’s bestselling novel in hardcover,” according to EVP of Little, Brown Michael Pietsch.

Which is another way of saying it’ll be one of the best-selling novels of the year other than E L James’ paperback Fifty Shades trilogy. Nielsen BookScan reports that Rowling’s first novel for adults sold 157,000 hardcover copies in its first week of publication, and Little, Brown announced that the novel has sold 375,000 copies across all formats. The book only went on sale on Thursday (whereas books are normally published on Tuesdays), but it fell short of the record set for adult books by Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which moved 550,946 copies in its first week of publication in 2009.

The Casual Vacancy has exceeded our expectations,” Pietsch said. While it may turn out to be the best-selling hardcover fiction of 2012, it probably won’t be the top-selling hardcover overall. No Easy Day, Mark Owen’s firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, sold 254,000 copies in its first week and continues to do well, moving 52,000 copies this past week against Rowling’s adult debut.

Will you be purchasing a copy of The Casual Vacancy?

Read more:
J.K. Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’: 10 NSFW lines you would NEVER see in a Harry Potter book
J.K. Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’: Read EW’s review
J.K. Rowling considering a ‘director’s cut’ of the ‘Harry Potter’ books

J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy': 10 NSFW lines you would NEVER see in a Harry Potter book

Today, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling‘s much-anticipated novel for grown-ups hit bookstores, and while reviews have been mixed (read EW’s here), one thing is for sure: this is not a book for kids. Heroin addiction, rape, child abuse, self-mutilation — Rowling positively piles on the unpleasantness. The Casual Vacancy is about various residents of a small English town jockeying over an open town-council seat, which might not sound like the stuff of parental nightmares. But trust us: do not let your kids read this book. Not convinced? Here are 10 context-free lines that offer just a small taste of Rowling’s not-at-Hogwarts-anymore new novel. READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy': Read EW's review

Nobody, it seems, says no to J.K. Rowling. After selling some 450 million copies of her justly beloved Harry Potter books, publishing’s biggest superstar could write a Proust-size ode to her toenails and eager editors would line up to publish it. She wrote a 500-page novel for grown-ups? Great! It’s got teen sex and explicit descriptions of shooting heroin and characters who say things to each other like “you useless f—in’ smackhead cow”? Uh, okay. It’s about a bunch of disagreeable buffoons bickering over a minor local-government job in Nowhere, England? Huh. If you say so…

The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s overlong but often entertaining debut adult novel, is a big book that follows small people jockeying for a little position in the tiny town of Pagford. When one of the community’s 16 parish councilors unexpectedly dies of an aneurysm, a bunch of town notables try to use the ensuing “casual vacancy” to pursue various conflicting agendas. Rowling does a nice job laying out her 20-plus characters’ endless pretensions and weaknesses, which she punctures with gleeful flicks of a surprisingly sharp comic blade.  READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling says you can't have sex near unicorns and other interesting facts about the 'Harry Potter' author

J.K. Rowling will publish her first book in five years on Sept. 27.  The Harry Potter author first announced the novel back in February, followed by the title – The Casual Vacancy –  in April. Not much is known about The Casual Vacancy, which is protected by a strict non-disclosure agreement, but in anticipation of the book’s release, both The New Yorker and Britain’s The Guardian have written lengthy profiles on Rowling. While we recommend checking them both out, we’ve selected some of the most interesting facts and quotes from these profiles for you to enjoy here.

1. Rowling wanted a “more run-of-the-mill publishing experience” this time around: Unfortunately, that’s not possible when you’re J.K. Rowling. The New Yorker‘s Ian Parker says he was forced to read all 512 pages of The Casual Vacancy at the Little, Brown offices and a non-disclosure agreement prevented him from taking notes while reading. Meanwhile, The Guardian‘s Decca Aitkenhead writes that she was “required to sign more legal documents than would typically be involved in buying a house” before she was allowed to read Rowling’s new book. READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling live! The 'Harry Potter' author to take the stage for a one-time U.S. event

You may wish you could Apparate to New York City come Oct. 16.

J.K. Rowling will be making a rare public U.S. appearance to discuss The Casual Vacancy, her first novel for adults, which chronicles a small British town roiled by scandal. The Harry Potter author will be joined by State of Wonder author Ann Patchett for a conversation in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

Tickets ($43 if purchased online, $44 if purchased via phone, $37 if purchased at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office) are available starting Sept. 10 and will include a copy of The Casual Vacancy (Sept. 27).

Does this sound like the best book club meeting ever?

Follow @EWStephanLee on Twitter.

Read more:
See the cover for ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling
The Queen names new litter of dogs after ‘Harry Potter’
New ‘Harry Potter’ box set to be released

See the cover for 'The Casual Vacancy' by J.K. Rowling

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Little, Brown has released the cover for The Casual Vacancy, which is sure to be one of the buzziest books of the year when it’s released Sept. 27. Following the aesthetics of recent literary titles like The Marriage Plot and The Art of Fielding, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel will sport swoopy script, solid colors, and minimal design. The checkbox on the cover is likely a nod to the political themes of the book, which takes place in a small England town roiled by controversy. The novel will be 512 pages long. Here’s an updated plot summary from the publisher: READ FULL STORY

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