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Old 04-28-2013, 10:09 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faraday View Post
Seems like quite a few are willing - it's seeing how many will follow through that's generally a good indicator.

I'm about 10% through.

I'll spoiler my thoughts so far, although they're mostly "general" thoughts.

Spoiler for :
It's "okay". It seems a little dull so far - I like the idea behind the first chapter, various peoples reactions to the death. It's just not particularly gripping so far. I also find some of her language jarring at times - the cursing I mean. Maybe it's because I'm mentally thinking of Harry Potter or, whatever. It just feels like she's trying to show very hard THIS IS AN ADULT BOOK - SWEAR WORDS SWEAR WORDS some of the time. The various POV's in the first chapter were fine, it's a good idea, especially with the sort of first person type style she writes but a lot of it was quite dull. I mean the over the top glee at his death doesn't actually strike as as unusual and I do think she captures the way a small community would react to a death as quite accurate and it's probably the thing I like most so far.

I've no idea where it's going, other than towards a new member of the council. So yeah, I guess that'll be the "general plot". Her writing isn't bad, it's fairly standard - some of her prose I found a little jarring but it's certainly very readable to me.

Anyway that was just vague first impressions, I'll read on.
I haven't started back on it yet, but based on what I read before, my impressions are much the same as yours.
Spoiler for :
The swearing honestly didn't bother me. I have read so many different books since the Harry Potter series I almost didn't recognize it as having been written in her "style". Seems like she is going for a completely different vibe than HP, which I have no problem with. Though in the HP series she showed a good ability to use red herrings. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing her continue to develop this skill.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:32 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

I downloaded this a couple of days ago. I've not been able to get started though, been busy for the past few days but I should be able to get started on it tonight. I'll post my thoughts in a couple of days after I've read some of it.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:28 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcatter View Post
I haven't started back on it yet, but based on what I read before, my impressions are much the same as yours.
Spoiler for :
The swearing honestly didn't bother me. I have read so many different books since the Harry Potter series I almost didn't recognize it as having been written in her "style". Seems like she is going for a completely different vibe than HP, which I have no problem with. Though in the HP series she showed a good ability to use red herrings. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing her continue to develop this skill.
Spoiler for :
It's not that I've a problem with swearing or anything, it's just it feels like it doesn't come naturally here. (The description of the used condom was amusing, although probably shouldn't have been)
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:40 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

Spoiler for initial impressions:
She isn't the first author attempting a modern adult novel after gaining a reputation in the youth and/or fantasy market and, like those before her, she seems to be trying her hardest to let everyone know this one is for ORDINARY ADULTS. Reading the first chapters, I felt like she was trying to prove she can be 'more' than a kid lit writer. She's serious now. She's also sort of dull.

So far, I feel she's much like the majority of the aforementioned others who tried to branch out into a different market a better writer in her established genre. If this were her first novel I'm not sure she'd have gotten it published easily based off the opening chapters.

Anyway, I assume it picks up, since someone whose opinion I generally trust loved the book.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:16 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

Bought half way through. How's everyone getting on?

Spoiler for :
Gotten a little better.

Some nitpicks though, if she's writing an adult book and trying to get into the characters the clinical language she uses at times is offputting. A teenager talking about porn is fairly likely to think of cum or something instead of using the word semen. It's things like that - the way most characters have a kind of similar voice, despite being "different" that is just meh, I guess. It feels like she kind of drifts in and out of that. I mean, yes I'm nitpicking over the word choice of "semen", it's a small thing but these little touches occuring frequently are things I don't like.

It feels like it lacks a little depth at the moment. Is the point everyone's basically bitter/prick/something deep down? Sure, but people can have problems and not be basically miserable the whole time - which i don't think is showcased often enough.

It's a little more interesting although I guess I'm just "waiting" for it to get really good as opposed to thinking it's anything past "not a bad way to pass the time" atm.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:03 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

Apologies for double post.

Well I finished it. I'll spoiler thoughts/questions on it but hopefully we can get some discussion going.

Spoiler for :

Ending was a bit shocking. Things just went to shit all of a sudden and sort of took a turn for the meldodramatic. Not sure how I feel about that, I don't know. I mean I do think in a small town like Pagford or that sort of place a 3 year old WOULD be stopped if walking alone.

One of my problems is that all of the characters are miserable in some way, I mean there's no one that seems actually happy or content about anything for the vast majority of the novel. She does mimick the small town vibe of everyone stuck in everyone business quite well - but the people are all fixated on their own misery. I get that not everyone is happy all the time, but fuck me people are happy some of the time. Also I mean, come on. "Oh look we are ashamed of our lesbian daughter", like we already didn't think you were a prick before now. I mean certain people had basically no redeeming properties - which while true to life felt a bit too prevalent.

The rape of Krystal feels...I don't know. The consequences or the impact on her is never really given that much screen time, imo. It didn't serve that much purpose in that she died at the end. Maybe I'm missing something but it just seemed a "bad stuff happens to these people", thing that waasn't needed.

The first say, half of the book was pretty dull, too. I mean I thought it built towards a climax pretty well - the latter chapters in particular were good and you could sense that something was going to happen. Although Robbie's death was...eh. I mean, he's a child so it's sad but we'd never really been inside his head. Someone we'd encountered more frequently might have been better. I mean I liked Krystal's POV...but I wasn't really sad she died, I just felt I should have been sad I died. Maybe it's because I found the story less than satisfactory up until that point.

I feel the teenage characters (apart from Fats/Stuart) are probably done best. Andrew's uh, living under his cuntish fathers fist was actually really well done. The hatred and the fear - I liked that, you could easily sympathise and root for him.

I mean, I guess my thoughts are kind of all over the place here. I didn't hate it, and liked the middle part but felt the ending was a bit messy, a bit "trying to feel sad" type thing. The book is definitely miserable but I'm not sure I found the politics, or the characters relateable enough to actually feel for them too much.

I liked the Andrew and Krystal POV's the best, I think.

(I thought something more would happen with the allergy, considering how many times it'd been mentioned, tbh)

Uh, I liked it some but was a little disappointed - despite not having that high of expectations. It never really gripped me a manner say something like Harry Potter did - Sirius' death for example hit me much more hard. And it's not an age thing, as it still did the last time I read it.

Her writing was fine, stuff about some of her teenage characters being overly clinical, or whatever but I mean it never put me off the book. Just wanted a little more from it. The absurbity of everyone hacking the fucking website was silly too, it was very contrived (THE GHOST OF BARRY) to me.


So, what did you think? Overall thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:50 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

Finally picked up from library and started reading again. How long do we have to post everything as spoilers?
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:03 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

I dunno, I figured I'd do it until someone else finished. <_<
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:42 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

I'm still about 300 pages to go on Stephen King's IT before I can get started on this. I don't fancy spending 8 on a book I don't have good instincts about liking so I'm going to go down the download route this time. I don't care about spoilers where books are concerned (I usually pick the books I enjoyed watching on screen) so feel free to post them when everyone else has finished reading.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:27 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Default Re: WF Book Club - Currently Reading The Casual Vacancy

I'll keep on spoiler tagging for now, but once more people get further into the book I imagine the tags will start being dropped.

Spoiler for I still have a lot of reading ahead of me:
I have the next three days off, so I plan on making some reading time in there in an attempt to finish off as much as possible.

Now that I've made it past most (I hope) of the character introductions, the novel is picking up somewhat. Still, Rowling does love to dwell on the miserable details of her story peoples' lives in The Casual Vacancy; they aren't just unhappy on the inside but most of them seem to have an accompanying dose of ugly on the outside too as reinforcement (acne, obese,...) which I don't really think is necessary. At least they're all unique, if somewhat stereotyped, individuals though - and here I feel like complaining - why must there be one of each small town 'Character'? We have The Devoted Wife, The Dull-Witted Snob, The Slutty Problem Girl From the Wrong Part of Town, The Ageing Free Spirit, The Shady Backroom Dealer and on and on in the same manner. I'm worried this is a signal to expect a predictable plot.


In short, I'm still not enamoured with her writing craft.
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