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The Casual Vacancy (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Jim's June/July 2013 picks, 1 of 3

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

    If you were to approach this book eager for more Harry Potter magic, you will be shocked at what you find. Rowling seems to have unleashed with a fury the demons she held in check while writing about her boy-wizard and the world of Hogwarts. The controlled behavior of Ron, Hermione, and even Malfoy has been replaced with gritty reality. The story involves the aftermath of the death of a local teacher and town council member whose casual vacancy of the title must be filled; the question is who is going to fill it? The darkness hidden inside each of her characters oozes to the surface as the story progresses and at times it is hard to like anybody. Oddly the only character who seems likeable is dead. All of this may not come across as a recommendation for The Casual Vacancy, but here's the thing: after I had finished the book, I found myself  returning to it to revisit certain events, like someone going back to gawk at the scene of a horrible accident. It is a wonderful thing she's done here, Ms. Rowling; she has created a story that is both compelling and repulsive at the same time. It haunts me even now.

— From Jim's picks (part 2)

Ryan's October 2012 pick

 The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling’s new book for adults,The Casual Vacancy, is a dark, intense story that centers around a small town’s reaction to one man’s sudden death. This book is NOT FOR CHILDREN. The subject material becomes increasingly bleak and grim throughout the story, including such things as drug use, sex, abuse, rape, and death.

After Parish Councillor Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly, a small town is thrust into a local war as a campaign to fill his seat creates factions within the town and some of it’s member’s darkest secrets are revealed.

This story is incredibly written and unspeakably heart-wrenching. There are no secondary characters in this story; everyone has a back-story and a major part to play, from the upper-middle class citizens fighting to remove the blemish that is “The Fields” from their precious town, to the teenagers just trying to survive each day. These characters will become your friends and neighbors and enemies as you delve into the small town with dark roots beneath it’s pretty face.

The Casual Vacancy will tug at your heart strings and leave you feeling shocked and dismayed, but also refreshed and better for having read it. Rowling’s writing style is brilliant as always, and her passion for each character and their particular story really comes through. This book is incredible, despite it’s heavy subject matter. It’s a unique story written in a way that only J.K. Rowling could accomplish.


“Disgust rose in Samantha like vomit. She wanted to seize the over-warm cluttered room and mash it between her hands, until the royal china, and the gas fire, and the gilt-framed pictures of Miles broke into jagged pieces; then, with wizened and painted Maureen trapped and squalling inside the wreckage, she wanted to heave it, like a celestial shot-putter, away into the sunset. The crushed lounge and doomed crone inside it, soared in her imagination through the heavens, plunging into the limitless ocean, leaving Samantha alone in the endless stillness of the universe.”

— From Ryan's picks (part 2)


A big novel about a small town...
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the 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 facade 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 parish 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?
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.

About the Author

J.K. Rowling was born in England in 1965. She always loved writing more than anything else, and in 1996, one year after finishing it, Bloomsbury bought her first novel, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Millions of copies later the rest is Hogwart's history.

Praise For…


"I had come under the spell of a great novel....A big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England, rich with literary intelligence....This is a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very deeply."

"A vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff....Rowling captures the humanity in everyone, even if that humanity is not always a pretty sight."

"This book represents a truckload of shrewdness.... There were sentences I underlined for the sheer purpose of figuring out how English words could be combined so delightfully....genuinely moving."
-Washington Post

"A positively propulsive read."
-Wall Street Journal

"An insanely compelling page-turner....The Casual Vacancy is a comedy, but a comedy of the blackest sort, etched with acid and drawn with pitch....Rowling proves ever dexterous at launching multiple plot lines that roar along simultaneously, never entangling them except when she means to. She did not become the world's bestselling author by accident. She knows down in her bones how to make you keep turning the pages."
-The Daily Beast

"There are plenty of pleasures to be had in The Casual Vacancy....Parts of the story would be tonally of a piece with any Richard Price or Dennis Lehane novel, or an episode of The Wire."

"Rowling knows how to write a twisty, involving plot....She is clearly a skilled writer."
-The Huffington Post

"The Casual Vacancy is a complete joy to read....a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today."
-The Mirror (UK)

"Rowling has written a grand novel...a very brave book."
-The Bookseller (UK)

"A study of provincial life, with a large cast and multiple, interlocking plots, drawing inspiration from Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot...The Casual Vacancy immerses the reader in a richly peopled, densely imagined world...intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny."
-The Guardian (UK)

"The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling's first adult novel, is sometimes funny, often startlingly well observed....Jane Austen herself would admire the way [Rowling] shows the news of Barry's death spreading like a virus round Pagford."
-Telegraph (UK)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316228534
ISBN-10: 0316228532
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: September 27th, 2012
Pages: 503
Language: English

Stefany Shaheen & Ric Carey visit this week; new policy on hardcover fiction

Joining us this week at Gibsons are Ric Carey and Stefany Shaheen.
No one who was of age on that day in 1997 can forget the horror and disbelief they felt when they learned that the small community of Colebrook, NH had been overtaken by unspeakable violence and tragedy. Now, for the first time, that story has been told, by New Hampshire's own Ric Carey. Ric teaches at SNHU and is also the author of Against the Tide: The Fate of New England Fishermen.
When her oldest daughter, eight-year-old Elle (pronounced "Ellie"), was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Stefany Shaheen (daughter of NH Senator Jeanne Shaheen) confronted a terrifying new reality: Without constant round-the-clock monitoring and treatment, Elle could face grim consequences, even death. So type-A mom Stefany committed herself to learning everything she could about managing her daughter's unpredictable and life-threatening condition, all while trying to keep a sense of normalcy for the sake of her four children. After numerous hospital visits, a seizure, and various treatments -- including an artificial pancreas trial -- Elle and Stefany finally found relief in an adorable, four-legged companion....
New fiction this week! These books will be on our front tables tomorrow morning.
Policy change regarding hardcover fiction
For several years now, we've offered everyday discounts of 20% on all hardcover adult fiction, including mystery and science fiction.  And, at the same time, we've also offered a generous and extremely popular frequent buyer program, in which customers can easily qualify for 20% discounts to be applied on books and other merchandise throughout the store when they chose to do so. 
Our analysis shows we can't continue to offer both the everyday discounts and the frequent buyer program, so we'll be discontinuing automatic 20% discounts on hardcover fiction as of Monday, October 5. Come in between now and then and stock up on new releases.
Or, as always, save up your frequent buyer cards --that program isn't going anywhere!--and use them to get 20% off on whatever you choose, whenever you choose it.
Thank you for your support!

New books, new trailers

Friday, October 9th, 2015, 7 p.m. Kevin Flynn, recounts the story of the lottery industry in the U.S., from its unlikely beginnings to its emergence as a major industry. It's the dramatic story of the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Sweepstakes, American Sweepstakes: How One Small State Bucked the Church, the Feds and the Mob to Usher in the Lottery Age.

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