The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 20, 2012

Lee Duran: Rowling not resting after finishing Potter’s story

JOPLIN, Mo. — J.K. Rowling must be the busiest author in the world. Instead of resting on the many laurels for the Harry Potter books, she’s charging onward with new and interesting projects.

Among them is Pottermore, an online experience built around the Harry Potter books. According to the Pottermore Web site, it’s the place for Harry’s fans to participate in the stories, use their own Potter-related creativity and find out more about the world of Harry Potter, all from the author herself.

Pottermore is available to users in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish (Castilian). Participants will also be able to buy and download Potter e-books and audio books. You can visit the site at www.pottermore.com.

And that’s not all. Rowling’s first book for adults will come out in September. Her Web site reveals details: “The Casual Vacancy” is situated in what appears to be an English idyll, a town with cobbled market square and ancient abbey. But beneath the surface, it’s a town at war.

Teenagers at war with their parents, rich at war with poor, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... the village of Pagford is not happy village, it seems.

Then a parish council member dies unexpectedly. His empty seat on the 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?

Thus explains the publisher, also calling the book “blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising.”

I read the first page or two of the first Harry Potter book and it didn’t move me so I let that mania pass me by. I’m interested in this book, though, and maybe ... just maybe, I’ll give it a try.

That’s not all that’s going on. According to the Guardian, the Harry Potter encyclopedia, long promised by Rowling, is in the works. Royalties will be donated to charity.

Will there ever be another Harry Potter adventure? Rowling says, “I have always refused to say ‘never’ to this question, because I think it would be foolish to rule out something I might want to do in a few years’ time. However, I have no immediate plans to write another Harry Potter novel, and I do think that I have rounded off Harry’s story in the seven published books.”

     

Best-sellers before release?

A trend of note, according to Publisher’s Weekly, is the high number of pre-orders at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list where the top 20 has eight books that haven’t been published yet. Coming on strong: The second and third “50 Shades” books, second and third on the list.

Never heard of these books? They follow “40 Shades of Gray,” already released and selling like crazy, which apparently takes the erotica genre to new (or low) heights.

Other books showing strength through preorders are “The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity” by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy (No. 11), “Deadlocked” by Charlaine Harris (No. 14), “The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel” by Stephen King (No. 17), “The Serpent’s Shadow” by Rick Riordan (No. 19), and “The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson” by Robert A. Caro (No. 20).

      

Short sentence of sewage

And the winner of the short Bulwer Lytton contest is: “Agent Jeffrey’s trained eyes rolled carefully around the room, taking in the sights and sounds.”

That, folks, is the most awful sentence in 25 words or fewer, at least of those entered in the contest. Why did it win?

Official explanation from contest founder Adam Cadre: “When I read the first half of this, I thought, yes, I’ve heard editors grumbling about the use of ‘eyes’ for ‘gaze’: ‘Her eyes landed on his lapel pin’ -- didn’t that hurt? Then I reached the ‘and sounds’ part and knew this one would be tough to beat. There were entries at which I laughed more, but the combination of craft, plausibility, and cringe factor -- and, yes, laughs -- put this one on top.”

I agree. Pay attention to the fiction you read and watch for the “flying eyes” problem. You’ll find it a lot.

Other funny finishers:

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