#BookBeginnings The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Today we’re getting ready to start the next novel in The Bestseller Code Challenge ListThe Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling, for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!



The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

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Summary:  In the little town of Pagford, Barry Fairbrother’s seat on the council comes open when he dies unexpectedly. Behind the scenes of Pagford’s idyllic small town atmosphere are different groups of residents who are regularly at odds with each other; rich fight with the poor, teenagers battle and annoy their parents, wives attack their husbands, teachers  grapple with their pupils. Before long, however, Barry’s empty seat on the town’s council soon becomes prize for the biggest brawl the town has ever seen.

First Sentence:

Barry Fairbrother did not want to go out to dinner. He had endured a thumping headache for most of the weekend and was struggling to make a deadline for the local newspaper.


I missed reading this when it first came out because I knew I’d be disappointed because nothing could match the Harry Potter books and my expectations were too high. Now, enough time has probably passed that I can give it a fairer reading. Plus, I did like the first three of Rowling’s mysteries.

Have you read The Casual Vacancy? What do you think?


Karen and I have been reading through the 100 novel challenge list and doing formal reviews of each novels, which is time consuming and no one reads them. So instead, we invite you to take part in our casual discussions on facebook. If we get enough interest, we’ll post a discussion summary here on the blog.

Have you read The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling? Join us on social media:


What are we reading next?

If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.

The next book is number 48. The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury (2005) – Discussion begins February 11, 2019


  1. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I’ve been wanting to read Rowling’s post-Harry Potter, but they are so lengthy. If the pace is fast, I won’t mind. I’ll wait for some reviews.

    Thanks for sharing, and here’s mine: “LATE IN THE DAY”

  2. Anne@Headfullofbooks

    it is discouraging writing reviews when it definitely seems like no one reads them. Every time I think I’ll throw in the towel and quit writing reviews someone tells me that they love all the books I recommend and so I just have to tell myself that I have lurkers! My Friday Quotes from The Great Alone

    • Roberta

      I suppose it isn’t all about an audience, either. The reviews are also a record of what I’ve read, which serves a purpose, too.

  3. Nicki J. Markus

    I’m not a huge mystery reader, so I’ve not picked up this one myself. Hope you enjoy it after the wait.

    • Roberta

      It is my understanding that The Casual Vacancy isn’t a mystery, but is a ‘tragi-comedy” or dark comedy, whatever that is. I’ll know more in a day or two.

  4. Yvonne@FictionBooks

    Hi Roberta,

    Before I say anything else, I have to confess that I must be about the only person on the planet not to have read the Harry Potter books, or watched the films! The closest I have ever come to discovering HP’s world, was when we rode the experience at Universal Studios Florida, and then I had my eyes closed for most of the time to stave off the motion sickness.

    Perhaps I would be better served by checking out some of JK’s post HP books, I am off to check this one out!

    I totally agree with yourself and Anne about the point of writing reviews, or even hosting a blog at all. I keep coming to the conclusion that Fiction Books should be closed down and then I receive a publisher/publicist/author request and I find myself saying ‘yes’ without even thinking about it. Is that just vanity and ego I ask myself?

    Enjoy your reading this week 🙂


    • Roberta

      I can definitely relate to the motion sickness issue.

      About book reviews, they are particularly hard because no two people experience a book in the same way. Neil Gaiman had a wonderful quote about reading being like stepping into a river. No two people step into the same water because it is constantly moving and they enter at different places, etc. Even when you read a book over, you will never encounter the same “water” as you did the last time.

      I hope you decide to keep going with Fiction Books.

  5. Catherine @ Book Club Librarian

    I read this book when it first came out and really enjoyed it. I found the characters and politics very entertaining.

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