Readers, I know what I'm doing today! I'll give you a hint:

Yep, today I am reading The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. If this week's Monday Contest is any indication, I'd bet that many of you are doing the same thing. So far, more than 25% of commenters on the contest have listed The Casual Vacancy on their own personal Top 10 lists for fall reading.

A few reviews have already come in for The Casual Vacancy, but I'm avoiding them so my own review for BookPage will be only my opinion, free of influence.

However, I did head to Parnassus Books in Nashville this morning to purchase a hardcover of the novel (even though I started reading in the middle of the night when the book was delivered on my Kindle!). I spent a few minutes chatting with store owner Ann Patchett, who confessed that she loved the book. Ann was one of the few people in the world who got to read the novel early (a copy was hand-delivered to her here in Nashville by a Little Brown representative). Ann will be interviewing Rowling on stage on October 16 at Lincoln Center—it's the only event Rowling will do in the United States. If you weren't able to get tickets, get in touch with your local bookstore; they may livestream the interview, as Parnassus is planning to do.

Though I don't want to post any spoilers of what I've read so far, I will say that we are very clearly not in Hogwarts. This is no surprise if you read this week's profile of Rowling in the New Yorker, which revealed the profanity and other adult content that readers can expect in this novel.

What I will say is that so far the book has made me chuckle. It's also made me whip out a pen and paper to keep track of names, as the early chapters are packed with introductions of characters.

Also present in the opening pages: crushes, a hint of domestic abuse, town gossip and the seed of political turmoil in a small English village.

Okay, enough chatting--time to get back to reading! Who else is diving into The Casual Vacancy today? What are your thoughts so far?

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