J.K. Rowling Updates ‘Harry Potter,’ Plans More Detective Novels

rowlingWhen Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling ended her acclaimed children’s book series about the most famous wizard of all time, fans worried that would be the last we’d hear from the bestselling author. But time and time again, she’s proved us wrong.

First, she created Pottermore, a web site with games, stories, and details about the universe of Harry Potter. Then she wrote an adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. She penned a Harry Potter spin-off story collection called “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” Then came two adult crime detective novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. And now there’s more.

Earlier this month, Rowling released on her Pottermore web site a new Harry Potter story, the first she’s written and released since the seventh and final Potter novel was released in 2007. According to Huffington Post, the online story describes Harry Potter and his friends in their 30s. It details what they’re up to now, how they look, and how they’re faring. It’s written in the form of a gossip column, penned by Rita Skeeter, a well-known character from the novels.

The story was such a huge deal for Potter fans that it crashed the Pottermore web site. It’s also led to speculation that J.K. Rowling would write another Potter novel. But so far, that’s just speculation.

In fact, it’s Rowling’s adult crime detective series that she’s more focused on at the moment. She’s already released two novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling and the recently-released The Silkworm, under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym. It was recently reported that she would pen seven novels in the so-called Cormoran Strike series – the same number of books she wrote in the Harry Potter series. But according to Time, she’s changed her mind and now plans to write more than seven Cormoran Strike novels, as Nolan Feeney explains:

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” Rowling said at a crime-writing festival, the BBC reports. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

Rowling is apparently already halfway through the third novel in the series and has ideas for the fourth. Could this be her new legacy? Will Potter fans ever get more than the latest 1,500-word story about it?

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Billy Eichner to Pen Book

OKAY, FOR A DOLLAR, WHAT’S YOUR GUESS ON THE NEXT BIG-NAME TO PEN A BOOK…AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, DO YOU CARE?

If you couldn’t already guess from that introduction, it’s Billy Eichner, star and host of Funny or Die and Fuse’s Billy On the Street. The comedian, who on his show, prances around New York City, screaming questions at people about what they know or like about celebrities and pop culture, has recently signed a publishing deal with Hachette Grand Publishing, according to Entertainment Weekly.

It’s not clear what the book will detail, but on Eichner’s Tumblr page, he mentioned “This book is for anyone obsessed with show business, pop culture, social media and lots of other fun topics that fill our days as we hurtle helplessly towards accidents, illness, infidelity and death.”

That’s about what I guess I’d expect from the pop culture obsessed man himself! No word on when the new book will be released.

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Review: The Never Never Sisters

Recap: For marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt, summer couldn’t come soon enough. She rented a home in the Hamptons, and is looking forward to spending some alone time there with her workaholic lawyer husband, Dave. But something happens at Dave’s office that causes him to be suspended. As his world spirals out of control, and he works to keep Paige out of it, Paige’s estranged sister plans a trip into town to visit. Sloane has been out of the picture for twenty years, since her drug addiction got the best of her.

Suddenly Paige’s relaxing summer becomes a stressful one, as she works to uncover why Dave was suspended and to get to know the sister she lost so many years ago (not to mention Sloane’s new fiancé, Giovanni). As the summer continues, Paige realizes more and more how many secrets the people close to her have been keeping. What happened at Dave’s office, and why won’t he tell Paige? Who is Sloane, and has she gotten her life together? Can she really be trusted? As a marriage counselor, she tries to practice what she preaches, but that proves easier said than done as she’s faced with her own marital problems.

AnalysisThe Never Never Sisters is a family drama, a good beach read, the perfect chick lit novel for right now, since its story also takes place in the summer. It hooked me because it wasn’t easy to map out exactly which direction the story was headed. Compared to other family dramas I’ve read, this certainly wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. Most of the characters came across as sketchy, so it was hard for me to understand why Paige so badly wanted to make things work with Dave and her sister. It was hard to believe there was ever much love in Paige and Dave’s relationship, and while I was curious to learn what Dave did to get suspended and why he kept it from Sloane, I didn’t necessarily care. And the fact that Paige is a marriage counselor and couldn’t even see the problems in her marriage was slightly concerning to me.

To be honest, I was more interested in the relationship between the sisters. The book spent a fair amount of time on them, but in my opinion, not enough, considering the book is titled for them. I expected and wanted to see more their relationship develop more. The fact that much of what they bonded over and discussed was Dave seemed to cloud the focus of the novel. But the ending was unexpected — in a good way! — though I wish the climax and resolution hadn’t felt so rushed.

MVP: Giovanni. Sloane’s fiancé brought to The Never Never Sisters the light-hearted, happy parts of the novel. While some found him to be annoying, he knew how to right a wrong situation and bring out the best in Sloane.

Get The Never Never Sisters in paperback for $12.34.

Or get it on your Kindle for $7.99.

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Review: I Remember Nothing

Recap: Contrary to what the title of this book may seem to imply, I Remember Nothing is not a story about Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. On a much lighter note, I Remember Nothing is a nonfiction memoir, penned by the late, great journalist /writer /producer /director /screenwriter Nora Ephron. The book is a collection of essays about the past, present, and future, some personal, some more an outlet for Ephron to vent. Most are funny, some smart, empowering and thought-provoking, others sad, and a few are quite frankly odd.

In the chapter entitled “Journalism: A Love Story,” Ephron explains how she got her start writing as a journalist, from working in the mailroom at Newsweek to writing for the New York Post. The themes about sexism in the workplace and hard work paying off prevail here and feel inspirational. Other sections of the book discuss her divorce, friendship, and death. This is where we learn more about Ephron as a person and how she sees the world. Commentaries round out the rest of the book, including funny bits about email and short, odd, disposable chapters about things like Teflon.

Analysis: In all, reading about the life of one of the smartest, most successful, and iconically remembered creative female minds of our time was enjoyable. She is brilliant, and more importantly resilient. That comes across in her chapters on divorce and industry “flops” that she suffered. But if you read between the lines, Ephron not-so-subtly implies the state that she was in while writing the book. That is to say, Ephron had been diagnosed with leukemia a few years before penning I Remember Nothing. That information was not made public until after Ephron died in 2012. In retrospect, that knowledge better explains chapters like “What I Will Miss” and “What I Won’t Miss.” It’s lists like these that make it clear Ephron knew what road lay ahead. And what’s more, she faced it head-on.

In some sections — like the one about Teflon — I scratched my head in a state of “what the eff?” But other parts made me laugh out loud. And still others made me view the world in a different way. As a journalist, I felt that the journalism section of I Remember Nothing allowed me to connect with Ephron on a deeper level. I feel as thought I understand her quirks, and I respect her for them. But now, two after she’s passed away, I Remember Nothing helped me understand this great woman who I wish I had learned more about when she was still alive. We may not have Nora Ephron anymore, but we do have her words.

Get I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections in paperback for $11.71.

Or on your Kindle for just $5.

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Another Book from Mindy Kaling

kalingFor those of you who haven’t yet read Mindy Kaling’s memoir, you might want to pick up a copy. Why? Because she has another one on the way.

According to the L.A. Times, Mindy Kaling, star of The Office and The Mindy Project, is working on a second memoir. Entitled Why Not Me?, the book will be a collection of essays, with a variety of topics, as Carolyn Kellogg explains.

“So much has happened between the time I published my first book and now,” Kaling tells [The Times' Yvonne] Villarreal. “The show; my mother passed away; so many of my friends have gotten married. I’m a godmother now, and a homeowner. There’s so much that has happened in that period of time that I wanted to write another book.”

Considering her first book was a bestseller, I have no doubt this one will be successful as well.

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‘Orange Is the New Black’ Reading List

oitnbIf you’re a fan of either the Netflix hit TV show or memoir Orange Is the New Black, and if you’ve been watching the new season incessantly like I have, you’ve probably noticed something — the characters are constantly reading. After all, they’re in prison. There’s not a whole lot else for them to do. The prison even has its own library!

Anyway, here’s a thank you shout-out to Entertainment Weekly for compiling a list of the books that the characters are reading in each episode throughout the second season of the series. If you’re into classics like Piper, pick up a copy of Anna Karenina. Maybe you like YA fiction like Vee; if so, grab The Fault In Our Stars. Also featured are Alice in Wonderland and Atonement.

Little did you realize that OITNB is subliminally trying to encourage viewers to read!

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Fight Intensifies Between Amazon, Hachette

It’s one of the biggest book brawls since the 2012 fight over e-book pricing. Once again, Amazon and Hachette are involved.

This time, according to The New York Times, it’s believed that Amazon wants to offer discounts on Hachette e-books, and apparently negotiations aren’t going well. In fact, they’re going so poorly that Amazon is now supposedly delaying shipment of some Hachette books and preventing preorders of some Hachette books.

It would seem that this is a battle strictly between Amazon and Hachette, but rather, it appears to be the start of a war between Amazon and many publishing companies, as Jonathan Mahler explains.

As part of Hachette’s antitrust settlement with the government, the company agreed to allow Amazon to continue to discount the price of e-books for two years. That agreement has expired, and for some reason — no one is sure why — Hachette is the first publisher to find itself in the position of negotiating a new one.

Other publishers are holding their breath. It is in their interests for [Hachette Book Group's chief executive] Mr. Pietsch to drive a hard bargain, and they are cheering him on, but silently. They have their own relationships with Amazon to protect [...]

So is the squabble close to being resolved? Doesn’t seem that way, but with many of the details of the negotiations being kept under wraps, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on and when it may finally end.

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