MuggleCast 267 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because J.K. Rowling has a surprise for us that has made us gone cuckoo, this is MuggleCast Episode 267 for July 14th, 2013.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 267. This is a special episode. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to count towards the final two. We decided that we would record a special episode because J.K. Rowling shocked the world on Saturday afternoon when she revealed…
Eric: Aunt Marge is gay.
Andrew: Yes, finally! I’ve waited for so long.
Andrew: My Pottermore hopes and dreams have come true, and we’re here to analyze what it could mean for the future of Aunt Marge. No, J.K. Rowling revealed a new book, The Cuckoo’s Calling. But even more shocking, it’s been available in bookstores since late April.
Selina: I know. [laughs]
Andrew: She released it under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. Take that everyone who doubted my pronunciation. On Hypable, the people, were already… they were like, “I can’t wait to see how Andrew pronounces it.”
Andrew: I’m like, “Excuse me! Excuse me!”
Selina: I think it’s [pronounces as “Gal-bryth”] Galbraith or something. Galbraith? Something Irish.
Eric: I would say [pronounces as “Gal-brith”] Galbraith.
Selina: [switches between pronouncing “Gal-brith” and “Gal-bryth”] Galbraith? Galbraith? Galbraith?
Eric: I would not say any of the “eyth” and the “ooth” and the…
Selina: No, I don’t know where that’s coming from.
Andrew: Well, since this person doesn’t exist, neither does a proper pronunciation.
Selina: Fair enough.
Andrew: So everybody can say it how they want.
Eric: Everyone’s a winner!
Micah: That was very well done.
Initial Reactions to J.K. Rowling Revealed As Author of The Cuckoo’s Calling
Andrew: [laughs] So there’s a lot to talk about. Everybody is very excited. It’s been an exciting 24 hours as we all kind of learn tidbits about this book. How about… let’s talk about initial reactions first. Micah, you had one of my favorite tweets yesterday.
Andrew: What went through your mind? Did you believe it at first?
Micah: Did I believe it?
Andrew: Believe that she actually released a book two and a half months ago and we didn’t even know it.
Micah: Why not? I think the reaction you’re referring to is that I said, I don’t follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter yet I still found out that she released a new book. And…
Selina: I don’t follow her either. Isn’t it terrible?
Micah: Yes! Selina!
Selina: [laughs] I know.
Micah: See? There’s two hosts for you. But I was just… it’s pleasantly surprising that she did this and the book has been out, as you said, since April and nobody really caught onto it until, I guess, this writer at The Sunday Times decided to do a little bit of digging. But what surprises me… and I don’t really know the track record for this, but she decided to use this pseudonym which is a male as opposed to doing it as a female, and I just wondered the reasoning behind that. Normally, I would think that your pseudonym would be specific to your gender, but I guess it doesn’t have to be.
Selina: Oh no, it hardly ever is, actually.
Eric: I would think it would be potentially…
Micah: Is it really?
Eric: Yeah. I would think that it would be intentionally misleading.
Andrew: And some people are laughing because she’s already gone by a male name before: J.K. Rowling.
Andrew: And now she’s doing it again. [laughs]
Eric: Right, which is… yeah, because J.K. is the more masculine version. It could be either way.
Andrew: Eric and Selina, were either of you shocked? I was shocked.
Eric: Yeah. I mean…
Eric: …at first I didn’t believe it, and there were people on Twitter I was following… basically it was during my job, I was out at work when I first saw the first tweets, and I read Hypable’s article because you had that up lightning speed. And at first I wasn’t sure if it was true or if… because who can say, right? If it’s really, really true. I don’t know if the statement from Jo was there yet, but at first we were just thinking, what if this is a really good marketing campaign by Robert Galbraith and his people who are getting this out there? It just… it felt like it needed more traction.
Eric: And then it… but within 15 minutes, it had that traction. Everybody was saying, “Oh my God. This is it.”
Eric: And it was just so absurd that she would do this, but at the same time, so…
Andrew: So Jo.
Eric: It was so Jo. It made sense…
Selina: It was just so Jo, guys. [laughs]
Eric: When we later got the statement from her, it made… it was like, oh yeah, that makes sense. But it was rewarding to be able to actually just… I diverted myself. I drove a mile out of my way just to a Barnes and Noble… actually, I didn’t drive out of my way. It was at the opposite end of the parking lot I was in, and went to Barnes and Noble and picked up two copies.
Micah: That’s a very far drive for you.
Andrew: Yeah. Wow, some fan you are.
Selina: How hard for you.
Eric: It’s a pretty big parking lot in Skokie. But anyway, I drove right across the street to Barnes and Noble and got two copies. They were already in stores.
Selina: Why did you get two?
Eric: One for my girlfriend.
Selina: Oh, okay.
Eric: But this is the greatest thing of all, about this reveal, is that the book… that we didn’t have to wait for it.
Andrew: Right, right.
Eric: Instant gratification. Especially to ebook readers, ebook reader owners.
Eric: Or anybody with the apps. It’s available right now.
Andrew: Yeah, which is so exciting. When I first found… I first found out about it when somebody just at-replied the Hypable Twitter with just a link, no text, just a link. And I saw it was The Telegraph and I was like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.”
Eric: Usually, that’s spam. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Right, right.
Eric: Usually that’s like a “Grow your…” you know.
Andrew: Right, but it was going to The Telegraph so I clicked it, and the statement was there from the beginning because, as we’ll get into in a minute, The Sunday Times had reached out to J.K. Rowling’s people and she decided to issue a statement. So after I wrote up the article and did a couple of things, of course everybody was really excited. I booked it to my local Barnes and Noble, but I couldn’t find it and I even went up to somebody at the desk and I said, “Help me find it.” They were like, “Yeah, you know, we got four copies in stock. It says we have four copies here.” So they helped me look and it just could not be found. And he just turned to me at one point and was just like, “Yeah, I guess we have four copies that are lost.” I’m like, “Okay, great, bye.”
Andrew: So, I was bummed…
Micah: Or four copies that sold before you got there.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s what I was also thinking, but I don’t think their computers would reflect that they’re in. Anyway, luckily my friends, John and Bre – John who you may know from Leaky – he is closer to a Barnes and Noble down near Santa Monica, so they also booked it over to the bookstore and purchased all four available copies.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Selina: Like hoarding J.K. Rowling books. It’s crazy.
Andrew: I know. Well, they’re…
Micah: You know what I’m thinking, Andrew?
Micah: I’m thinking that clerk that you went to put those in reserve for himself and kept them in the back room.
Selina: I bet. And sold them for a hundred dollars.
Eric: I have a story about this. I have a story about this, guys. So my Barnes and Noble that I went to, the one in Skokie, there were four in inventory.
Andrew: See? See?
Eric: Which is weird. I’m sensing a recurring thing here.
Eric: Basically, by the time I got there, it was maybe forty five minutes after the news broke, and I asked the woman. I asked her, “Hey, so Cuckoo’s Calling, new crime thriller.” She’s like, “Okay, it’s right over here.” She led me right to it and that was because she had just put it on hold for somebody who called in.
Eric: So she put one copy on hold, so she knew exactly where it was but didn’t necessarily know anything further, right? So she led me right to it and she picked it up off the shelf and gave it to me and I was like, “Okay. You know that the word on the street is that this is the new J.K. Rowling book.” And her eyes went really wide, and she’s like, “Really?” And I’m like, “Yes.” I didn’t say, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard this thing.” I just said, “The Internet says this is what happened.”
Eric: So I was like, “So I’ll take two.”
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: Because I knew… because my girlfriend didn’t have any luck down in the city Barnes and Noble, which is also a university bookstore so they weren’t as well stocked. But I grabbed two, meaning there was one left on the shelf, and I started walking the other way after I said, “Okay, I’ll take two.” I grabbed them and I was walking to the cashier. And the woman said, “Well, maybe I’ll take this last copy for myself.”
Andrew: Yeah, I would have.
Selina: See? Don’t you think that’s so interesting though, and kind of nice, that even now, so many years after Harry Potter and after The Casual Vacancy – which was a lukewarm success at best – you hear new J.K. Rowling book, everybody books it to the bookstore. No pun intended.
Andrew: And like Eric…
Selina: And it’s like you guys are hoarding the books. That’s the thing. It’s like you have to have this because it’s J.K. Rowling’s book, you know?
Andrew: And like Eric pointed out, the thrill yesterday was that it was already… it was immediately available.
Andrew: So it was like a little treasure hunt going… that’s how it felt to me.
Andrew: I wanted so bad to just go up to it and actually see it sitting there on the shelf. I was bummed that I didn’t get that experience like Eric and other people did.
Selina: But you know what? I don’t know about you, Andrew, but whenever I heard this, I wasn’t surprised at all that she would have released this under a pseudonym because we’ve sort of been speculating this for a while. But I was a little bit disappointed because this probably means she didn’t write Queen of the Tearling. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Right. We spoke about Queen of…
Selina: And I really liked that theory.
Andrew: Yeah. We spoke about that on one of the more recent episodes of MuggleCast and over on Hype. And you know what? I’ve done some further digging about that, looking up who owns the domain name, and it looks to be an actual person. So…
Eric: Oh, bummer.
Andrew: Yeah, I know.
Selina: But I think it’s also just because I kind of feel like, for me, I was hoping… and I didn’t think she would, but I was sort of hoping against hope that she would write another fantasy.
Micah: She may still.
Andrew: This is all adding up though now because it’s been six years now since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and it’s like, what the heck has she been doing?
Eric: I mean, she got a Twitter, it’s got two and a half million followers. She doesn’t use it…
Selina: She doesn’t have tweets.
Eric: She doesn’t use it. It’s the weirdest thing. It’s like she’s there but she’s not, these past six years. She’s been there but she’s not. And this is another fruit of that labor that we didn’t know existed.
Micah and Selina: Yeah.
Micah: I remember specifically, though… I think I found out once there was enough evidence to support the fact that it was true. So it wasn’t one of those things where I was waiting, waiting, waiting to see was it actually legitimate that she had put this book out. But I have not gone out and got the book yet. I’m still waiting. I might try tomorrow at work…
Andrew: Uh oh.
Eric: Uh oh.
Micah: …on lunch hour to go to the Barnes and Noble a couple of blocks away and see if it’s available.
Andrew: You’re probably too late.
Micah: I’m probably am at this point.
Selina: Get it on ebook like I did!
Eric: You’re in a pretty dense…
Micah: I don’t like ebooks.
Eric: Oh, ebooks.
Selina: Yeah, I don’t either. [laughs]
Micah: I like the actual book itself.
Micah: And that might be weird, but so be it.
Andrew: You know what? I actually… I have switched to only ebooks but the fact that it’s a J.K. Rowling book, I want to have a physical copy. It’s just nice.
Selina: I just got so scarred by Casual Vacancy. I mean, she sort of…
Selina: It tainted it forever. I’m looking right now at my massive cover of The Casual Vacancy which cost me like three hundred… not three hundred, thirty pounds.
Selina: [laughs] It wasn’t that expensive. It’s golden and… but I mean… and I’m just thinking, “You know what? That was a waste of money.” [laughs]
Eric: I’m staring at the other end of my room where my bookshelf is and there’s The Casual Vacancy, sure enough. It’s the one signed by J.K.R. Right next to it is the one that’s not signed by J.K.R that I paid thirty dollars for.
Eric: And I haven’t finished it. They’re just both over there and they’re bookends on my bookshelf, so… you know, it is a cautionary lesson here, where just because… like on name alone… and this is the weirdest thing about what happened yesterday… maybe that would be a good title for this episode: What happened yesterday.
Eric: But it’s the weirdest thing because no matter how or where we were or what we were doing… like I was in the middle of an eleven-hour workday, okay? The last thing on my mind was J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. But when I started seeing those tweets coming in, about a new J.K. Rowling book, and once it was like, oh my God, this is happening, and it set in, me and everybody else started tweeting, “On our way,” “Got to do this,” tweeting photos, book-in-hand photos.
Selina: See, yeah…
Eric: …People were like, “I’m in the middle of a monsoon. I’m getting the Harry Potter book.”
Selina: Now, here’s your tagline for the show. I mean, the fandom, everyone saw that J.K. Rowling had a new book out. They all went cuckoo! Ha ha ha.
Andrew: Ah, cuckoo for Cuckoo!
Micah: Or Coco Pops.
Eric: It’s just the weirdest… I wanted to tweet, but I didn’t want to get shat on by people. Are we suddenly forgetting The Casual Vacancy here, people?
Micah: That’s my question, because…
Eric: Like name alone… because it’s been months and I still have no interest to pick that book up. I read half of it. I read exactly half of it and stopped and never picked it up again. And are we just forgetting? Are we just like, “Okay, we’re going to go get the new J.K. Rowling book…” it’s such loyalty to Jo, but at the same time there’s absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that we’re going to like it. It’s, again, a different genre than what we’re used to.
Selina: It’s just a question of the fact that we had Casual Vacancy, some people loved it but some people didn’t. But at the end of the day I think the fandom, the Harry Potter fandom as a whole, are still J.K. Rowling fans. They’re fans of the franchise that is J.K. Rowling. And the question is just… I mean, this is going to be the book that I think decides. If people generally love this book, yeah, they’re going to pick up whatever she writes next.
Selina: But if this kind of turns up being another Casual Vacancy I don’t think that people are going to rush out to stores the next time she releases something.
Eric: It’s weird because initial plot summaries, everything that I’ve read so far about the book makes it seem like Cuckoo’s Calling is going to be a really fun crime drama novel, and I wonder why she didn’t choose that one for her next book and publish Casual Vacancy under a pseudonym.
Andrew: Yeah, she should have.
Eric: Not that the lesser book has to… I’m not trying to somehow shovel The Casual…
Selina: Not that it wasn’t a good book, but it just wasn’t…
Eric: It’s obviously very personal for Jo, and it was a hell of an undertaking to do it, and it portrays a dark corner of humanity that isn’t comfortable. Maybe it was important or good that that book be under her name. But it’s just so weird because this… my hopes are way up for this book because it seems to be… again, it’s a little political but it’s mostly about a detective. And those novels are always so much fun to read. Always.
Andrew: The other thing I like about The Cuckoo’s Calling and why I wanted a physical copy is because it’s summertime.
Andrew: I mean, the last time we got a new book during the summer from J.K. Rowling was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And the Harry Potter book releases were always traditionally summer releases, so it kind of harkens back to those Harry Potter release days.
Micah and Selina: Yeah.
Eric: That reminds me of… Micah, you posted in a Skype chat earlier that today is the six years since Episode 99 in Enlightening in 2007 in Philadelphia – which was the episode before we all got the seventh book – is six years ago today, from when we’re recording this.
Andrew: Not just that, but today is the… tomorrow is the two year anniversary of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hitting theaters.
Eric: Yeah. This is the Harry Potter month.
Eric: This is… and his birthday is in sixteen days or whatever. So you’re right, it feels right that it was revealed now. Although, I did want to talk about the fact that it’s only been two months. So the secret came out still pretty quickly, I think.
How The Sunday Times Uncovered The Secret
Andrew: Well, yeah. I mean, I guess we can get into that now. So The New York Times spoke to The Sunday Times, who initially uncovered The Cuckoo’s Calling connecting it to J.K. Rowling. What happened was one of The Sunday Times‘s writers had read The Cuckoo’s Calling recently and tweeted that she liked the book. And shortly after that, an anonymous person replied to her on Twitter and told her that it was J.K. Rowling who was the real author.
Andrew: So then the editor replied to the Twitter user asking, “How do you know for sure?” and the anonymous person said, “I just know.” Then that anonymous person deleted the tweets and deleted his or her Twitter account. So from there, that made The Sunday Times start to dig. They connected the dots between the publisher and the editor of The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling. They’re both Little Brown, and it’s also the same actual editor, the same person. And that set off a red flag because it was like, why is this person who edited The Casual Vacancy for J.K. Rowling also editing something as irrelevant as a new-coming author, a new author? That part didn’t really add up.
Eric: Oh, right. Right.
Andrew: And then they sent the two books plus Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into linguistic computers and they found, quote, “significant similarities between the three.”
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Eric: These linguistic computers sound really cool.
Eric: They’re basically what our eighth grade science teachers threatened us with if we were to plagiarize our science fair experiment.
Eric: They’re like, “We can tell your writing! There are databases for this.”
Eric: I’m all over it.
Andrew: So then they had all this evidence and they decided to email Rowling’s publicist this past Friday night. And their email was… it was a very simple statement. It was:
“I believe that Robert Galbraith is in fact J.K. Rowling, and will you please come back with a straightforward answer?”
Selina: I love that.
Micah: You have to say that in a British accent though, because that sound…
Andrew: [in a terrible British accent] “Will you please come back with a straightforward answer?”
Micah: There you go. It just sounds more authentic that way.
Andrew: And then Saturday morning J.K. Rowling’s publicist replied, “Yes, it is her.” And then they got that statement from Rowling, and then that was it.
Andrew: So, yeah.
Selina: It’s so weird. Such a weird sequence of events. What kind of… who was the person that originally tweeted it? That’s what I want to know.
Andrew: Well, okay…
Selina: Is it Ian Rankin being bitter?
Andrew: Well, here’s the question: Was this anonymous person on Twitter actually somebody from Little Brown, and Little Brown decided that now they want to let everybody learn about the book? Because…
Eric: I can just imagine like a 4:00AM phone call to J.K. Rowling, where she picks it up, she’s like, “Hello?” – wiping the sleep from her eyes – and they’re like, “Phase 2, Ms. Rowling, is ready to begin.”
Eric: She’s like, “Okay, proceed.” And then they send that tweet back to that Sunday Times person. You think it’s a planned event?
Andrew: Well, I mean…
Selina: I don’t know. Operation Cuckoo?
Andrew: They wanted to sell them eventually. They wanted to let everybody know because, I mean, Little Brown is a business. They want book sales.
Andrew: And everybody knows book sales have been struggling. So I think it had to come out at some point. As J.K. Rowling said in her statement, she was hoping it wouldn’t be this soon.
Andrew: I don’t know how soon she was planning.
Andrew: But interestingly in the New York Times report, they say that the second print run of the book – which is now underway – will carry a revised author biography which reads, “Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.”
Micah: So it wasn’t planned?
Eric: The people who got… well, if it wasn’t planned, they’re certainly running like heck to… look, it had to be planned to some extent because at the end of the day…
Selina: They probably had a backup plan.
Eric: …it is J.K. Rowling. Yeah, there has to be a button they push…
Eric: …when it hits the fan that allows them to print so many more copies, because essentially the book now is out of print.
Eric: Those of us who got the print run… the first print run that doesn’t reveal it to be J.K. Rowling, our books are slightly more special actually.
MuggleCast 267 Transcript (continued)
How The Sunday Times Uncovered The Secret (continued)
Andrew: No, you’re absolutely right, and actually, these books could be of value. These original ones, without “J.K. Rowling.” Now in the author bio, on the inside flap at the very end of the book, both of them end with, “Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym,” and that’s it. So presumably, it will be those two areas that are updated with, “…is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.”
Selina: But you know what?
Eric: Interesting that she did come forward about that, where it’s almost as if there was some kind of duty to report that it wasn’t a real name or real entity.
Selina: Maybe they have to. Maybe that is actually a rule. Some kind of etiquette, publishing etiquette. But you know what I love though, about this whole thing? That even before… and we posted about this on Hypable too. Even before it was revealed to be J.K. Rowling, people were actually giving this book really good reviews.
Andrew and Eric: Yeah.
Selina: People actually responded really, really positively to this, and that’s… again, with Casual Vacancy we had these huge expectations that probably… it wasn’t a book we might have necessarily picked up, but the people that would have picked up this type of book irregardless of the author would probably have liked it for the type of book it was. So this book, which is a crime drama, people that pick up this kind of book really, really like it. And I love that. I think that’s great.
Andrew: One of the best reviews… it was sitting at the bottom, but now it’s been the most liked review. [laughs] It says:
“This book is so well-written that I suspect that some years down the road we will hear the author’s name is a pseudonym for some famous writer.”
“Lots of description made one feel like another occupant in the scene. You could feel the weather, the tension, the pain, the atmosphere in the gatherings. The Audible version had great accents. It is a wonderful mystery with a surprise ending, and I look forward to more by the same author.”
Eric: Oh, so there is an audiobook?
Andrew: Yeah, it’s already available.
Andrew: This was like a full-blown release.
Eric: This is the thing, they already have a Kindle version. This is why we almost should have known, right? Or is it that every new publisher should do this, where they have an ebook available? All these were in place. Even though this book was a secret, there were four copies in every Barnes and Noble, even though it was a first time author.
Micah: Specifically four. Four is now the magical number in the series.
Selina: Yeah, four. [laughs]
Eric: I’m saying that’s…
Micah: No, there’s no way you could have known though. That’s the thing. There’s tweets, there’s other information out there, where people say they passed on this book from an editor’s standpoint, right? So…
Selina: Yes. Yeah.
Andrew: Yeah, now see, I don’t understand that part though, because J.K. Rowling is tied in with Little Brown though. So was…
Andrew: Was she just submitting it elsewhere for fun? Just to see what people would think?
Selina: Do you want to hear my theory on this?
Andrew: Yes, please.
Selina: That I… well, okay then. [laughs] I think that the reason…
Micah: I’m just joking.
Selina: I know. The reason that she submitted… she probably submitted it because the people that spoke out about this was a publisher at Orion Publishing, and who knows if she submitted it to more publishing houses. But my theory is that she probably didn’t want to publish with Little Brown necessarily, because that would make it easier to tie her back to it. And of course, if she did have some kind of agreement, if it was going to be revealed eventually, then yeah, you’re probably right, that she was just trying to see what other people would think of it. But my immediate thought would be as Robert [pronounces as “Gal-bryth”] Galbraith… [laughs]
Eric: Oh, God. Just say [pronounces as “Gal-brayth”] Galbraith. Can you say Galbraith? [laughs]
Micah: [pronounces with Southern American accent] Galbraith.
Selina: Galbraith. I can’t say it like you guys!
Eric: [pronounces with Southern American accent] Galbraith.
Micah: He’s from Texas.
Selina: [laughs] Yes. But you know, she wanted to separate herself from the J.K. Rowling that published The Casual Vacancy with Little Brown. She wanted to be Robert Galbraith that published with someone else.
Micah: Yeah. I wanted to…
Selina: And the interesting thing is that yeah, she got turned down because crime novels aren’t in style right now.
Micah: I wanted to touch on what you said before though, because I thought that it was kind of interesting. Casual Vacancy was the first book that J.K. Rowling put out post-Harry Potter and you talked a little bit about the expectations. I feel like with this book those expectations, they’re somewhat removed.
Micah: And she comments herself that publishing under a pseudonym has allowed her a little bit more freedom, it’s more relaxing to go about it in this way. But I think from a reader’s standpoint, from somebody who’s been a fan of hers, it’s different. And it seems more along the same kind of style of book that Potter was, not necessarily from a genre standpoint but from a writing standpoint possibly.
Micah: That’s why they were able to find those symmetries when they sent it off to those special machines that did their work. And I don’t think that you necessarily have that if you did it with The Casual Vacancy. I feel like The Casual Vacancy is a beast all on its own, that it was just done because she felt this sort of deep-seated desire to write something that was very personal to her.
Andrew: You know what? That’s a good point.
Selina: I hope you’re right.
Andrew: That’s why I’m so excited about this book, is because Harry Potter had a lot of mystery in it and this is a mystery crime novel. So I think this plays into her strengths that she already has a lot of experience with thanks to Harry Potter.
Andrew: Worth noting, by the way – I just checked out the Amazon page again – Amazon now lists it as temporarily out of stock.
Andrew: This is after it slipped from “Immediate availability” to “2-3 days.” This morning it was saying… Amazon was saying “10-14 days” so now it must be beyond that to the point where Amazon is just saying, “Well, we’ll ship it to you whenever the heck we get it.”
Selina: I mean, I really hope this lives up to people’s expectations. I mean, obviously I can’t say anything because I’ve only read the first three pages, [laughs] but…
Micah: But, damn, they were a good three pages!
Selina: You know, to be honest with you, I don’t want to judge anything – I haven’t read it – but the first three pages felt more Casual Vacancy to me because…
Selina: I mean, the thing I loved about Harry Potter… way to be controversial here, I know, but the thing I loved about Harry Potter… I mean, I’m going to be honest with you, is the magic. That’s what I love about it.
Andrew: Well, yeah. Yeah.
Selina: So I’m… you know, that’s what… I’m sort of watching this with sort of a mixture of pride that the fan base is so quick to jump on this, and sort of a worry. Because look at someone like Philip Pullman. I love Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to love his “Brother Jesus and the Good Man Christ” or whatever that book is called that I actually did read. You know what I mean?
Selina: There’s a difference. You can love the series, you can love the author…
Micah: It was that good that you forgot the title. [laughs]
Selina: I know, right? [laughs] The Cuckoo’s Vacancy? What? No…
Andrew: No, I agree with you.
Selina: So I don’t know.
Andrew: I like crime novels. I’ve read a couple… not many, admittedly, but I’ve read other crime mystery novels and I do enjoy them. So that’s why I feel like I can actually look forward to this. If this was another political book, I probably would not be excited for this.
Micah: Yeah. I mean, I think about… political thrillers, I read all the time. I have a lot of time going in and out of the city on the train, authors like Nelson DeMille or David Baldacci or Ted Bell. And I think that this could be in line with that, maybe not to the extent of a political thriller but you’d have that mystery… there’s always mystery that’s sort of intertwined in political thrillers or legal thrillers, and I think that, Andrew, you brought up a great point before, saying that there is a lot of mystery in the Harry Potter series and there is a lot of detective work, I think, that you have to do as a reader. How many episodes did we spend theorizing about what could potentially happen in Deathly Hallows and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together? So I look forward to reading this. I wasn’t completely a hundred percent down on Casual Vacancy. I didn’t think that it was a bad book. I think it was different and we all knew that going in. But I hope that we return to some of that magic that we had in Harry Potter in this book.
Selina: Yeah. And the magic wasn’t just literal magic.
Selina: Like, part of the magic… it was the storytelling. It was the relationships between the characters. It was, as you say, the mysteries. But I think… I mean, for me personally – I’m sure a lot of listeners will agree with that – I don’t read mystery novels. That’s not my genre. So this is kind of a stretch. It’s not that I don’t really like novels about the real world or anything, but… [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Nobody is saying that but you.
Selina: But I’m reading this description, I’m thinking, “Oh, this kind of… if I was going to [unintelligible] thing that I have watched or read, it would be something like Sherlock.” You know?
Selina: Like a modern day Sherlock Holmes kind of thing. And I’m thinking, “Well, that’s nice but that’s not exactly me.” So I’m interested to see if the fact that it’s written by J.K. Rowling, an author who I absolutely fell in love with, if that’s going to be enough to draw me into a genre that I wouldn’t go for normally.
Eric: It should be. It absolutely should be. But I think what…
Selina: But then it wasn’t the last time.
Eric: Well, yeah. Well, what it comes down to is J.K. Rowling’s, I think, great talent for comedy in some of the places you least expect to. And this book just has to be funnier than Casual Vacancy, I think, for it to click with people. It has to leave a warm feeling while you’re reading it. It has to inspire as well as…
Selina: Have good friendships and have good stuff like that.
Eric: Friendship? Yeah, anything like that I think would immediately place it above Casual Vacancy for me. It just has to be set in a nicer world. I think Casual Vacancy was too harsh for me. But I do feel like a terrible reader. Getting back to just the reviews, the fact that there were only 75 reviews or so on Amazon, it only sold 1,500 copies in the first three months until this was announced. 1,500 copies and that’s it. The fact that it was gaining some traction on its own, so little bit of reviews, all the people who read it gave favorable reviews to it. I think, Andrew, you wrote on Hypable that certain people said that it was featured in their book club or on book lists.
Andrew: Yeah, like summer reading suggestions.
Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the people who were reading it liked it. But on the whole, that’s definitely not me. I feel terrible saying this, but I wouldn’t have just picked this up because it’s a new mystery thriller.
Selina: Don’t feel terrible for that. I mean, we all have our genres that we like and…
Eric: No, but I don’t pick any book up. This is what I’m getting into.
Selina: Oh. [laughs]
Eric: I don’t pick any book up unless I know it’s by somebody that… I’m so shallow that way. I won’t try out a new author. I won’t try out new things. I really wish I had picked up this book and read it two months ago. I wish I was one of those people who just off the hand, didn’t know it, and had read it, because I think that’s also very cool.
Andrew: It is. Yeah.
Eric: It’s like the bonus surprise. Oh my God, it was J.K. Rowling all along?
Selina: I liked it before it was cool. Yeah.
Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s always that small bit of any fandom, “Liked it before they were cool,” and I missed the boat with Potter. So I guess I’m trying to… now that I’ve psychoanalyzed myself, [laughs] I’m trying to get into that crowd.
Sales Figures For The Cuckoo’s Calling
Andrew: So in the UK, it has sold 1,500 copies so far. Obviously very low, considering it’s been out for two and a half months. We don’t have a US number yet. Sales since, over the past 24 hours, have spiked 507,000%…
Selina: I love that.
Andrew: …and is currently number one on Amazon, US, and UK. Wait times, like I just mentioned a moment ago, are now… Amazon is not even telling you. They’re just like, “Eh, well, you know. You’ll get it soon.” You can order it, they’re just not giving you any expected delivery time because they don’t know.
Selina: You can still buy it on Amazon UK. Should I get it?
Andrew: Yeah, why not?
Micah: You might want to buy it, a copy.
Andrew: And then, of course, ebooks. The ebook version is available now. And if you call around the bookstores, you can find it. It’ll be interesting to see these people… let’s say you order it today, Selina. I wonder if you will get a copy that has J.K. Rowling’s name in it.
Eric: Right, from the new print.
Selina: But I don’t want that. I only want it if it’s still the real one.
Andrew: Right. Well, that’s…
Selina: Otherwise, I don’t want to pay ten pounds for it.
Eric: [unintelligible] You’ve got to leave this…
Micah: Screw J.K. Rowling. Robert Galbraith is what it’s about.
Selina: [laughs] Yeah, I know.
Andrew: Yeah, you should go… you should order it. I’m tempted to buy a couple more copies under this… [laughs] without J.K. Rowling being mentioned.
Eric: Well, it’s already been… unfortunately, it’s probably already in its second run. Already.
Eric: The copy we have. Because it’s been out for three months, so it’s very unlikely that any of us have first editions.
Eric: In the true sense of first edition where it’s…
Andrew: I’m looking on Barnes and Nobles’ website, and it’s also temporarily out of stock there.
Eric: Can we play with the math here for a moment, Andrew? Because 507,000% increase in sales – what does that even mean? [laughs]
Andrew: Well… yeah, I don’t know.
Eric: How many books are they selling?
Andrew: That’s a good question.
Eric: Because for something to sell twice as many, it’s 200%. So 200%… so you have to divide by 100. So 507,000%…
Selina: Jesus Christ.
Eric: …means 5,070 times what they were selling for the first time. So if you take 1,500, which is the copies they sold initially, and multiply that by 5,070, it means they sold seven and a half million books in the first day.
Andrew: See, that’s not adding up though, because The Casual Vacancy didn’t sell that many books, right?
Eric: Did it? Didn’t it? I thought there were like 40 million pre-orders or something.
Andrew: Were there?
Eric: Uh, no, that number seems high now that I say it.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: But seven million in a day is pretty… that seems about right, wouldn’t it?
Andrew: No, I disagree. I don’t think it could be that high. There’s no way. Because first of all, it’s a weekend. I mean, I know this news is getting around, but it’s gotten around to seven million people compelled… I don’t know.
Eric: Yeah, I mean how many people are in the US alone? This is worldwide news.
Selina: Around the world, though? Yeah, and remember how many people went out and hoarded it at stores? You were just talking about that. Everyone has been buying two or three copies. I think it’s possible.
Eric: But that’s just everybody we know in our little corner of the fandom.
Selina: Oh, true. But…
Eric: Yeah. But still, I think it may be reflecting… look, 507,000%. That’s a number that’s in print on the Internet right now. [laughs]
Selina: Does this include ebooks?
Andrew: It must. I would think, right?
Eric: It must.
Andrew: Because they certainly didn’t do a seven million copy print run.
Eric: You’re right.
Micah: It says on Amazon.com, “Sales soared more than 507,000%.”
Micah: So it’s specific to Amazon.com. That’s not even looking at bookstores or…
Micah: …other places throughout the world at this point.
Andrew: It’s really…
Micah: I had a…
Andrew: Sorry, go ahead.
Micah: No, I just had a question about… it kind of ties into all of this. The information was released on a Saturday and it was, what, maybe late afternoon, early evening here on the East Coast? And that means it was just approaching midnight in the UK. So I’m just trying to figure out the rationale behind this, was it that the Sunday Times writer said, “Hey, I’m running with this story and it’s going to break in the UK after midnight. So if we’re going to say something, let’s get it out there”? It just seems like a weird time to me, on a Saturday evening here in the United States, for this information to come out. Because as you see, bookstores and other online retailers had no time to prepare for this at all.
Andrew: Right. Well yeah, I think they wanted to be first on it, but also this was probably printed in the Sunday Times‘s Sunday issue, and I know that newspapers will publish articles at midnight online.
Micah: Online, right.
Andrew: Yeah, so…
Eric: That will be available the following day in print.
Andrew: Right, exactly.
J.K. Rowling’s Statement
Andrew: So… I mean, we have a lot to talk about. J.K. Rowling’s statement – she said:
“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name. And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.”
Andrew: So that’s the other thing about this…
Selina: [laughs] So we won’t see her dress up in a hat and beard?
Andrew: Like Snape?
Eric: Well, what did she say ages ago when she said she was wearing a mustache?
Eric: Like didn’t she say she was going around… towards the end of the Harry Potter books, [laughs] she was going around with a mustache and top hat…
Andrew: Oh, to avoid the press. Yeah, yeah.
Selina: She was Robert already, getting into that.
Andrew: Well, here’s the interesting thing. This is going to be a series.
Andrew: I mean, that’s really significant because this is, of course, her first post-Potter series.
Andrew: And it’s kind of too early to say if this is good or bad news because we don’t… we personally don’t know how good this book is, but I mean, potentially this could be a huge new series.
Selina: Do you think that there will be a fandom for it in the same way?
Selina: Could there be? I mean…
Andrew: Sorry, say that again?
Selina: I just said do you think there could be a fandom for this kind of series in the same way? Because I’m just looking at something like Harry Potter and the kind of fandom that surrounded that world, sort of mainly teenagers and in that kind of school situation. You know what I mean? These are older characters, they might be harder to relate to that crowd.
Eric: Yeah. Well, fortunately I had some college prep on the mystery genre. We read Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, and that’s pretty much the hard-boiled detective novel of the last century. And basically, I can see people getting more into mystery because of J.K. Rowling. Like people from our fandom, the Harry Potter fans, getting into this book and then maybe in-between books also finding other series in this genre. I think for me the coolest thing is that J.K. Rowling found something, an idea that she likes enough to develop into and be comfortable to say that it’s going to be a series. But I can definitely see fans coming overÅ, or it really brings up that question again: Are we the Harry Potter fandom or are we the J.K. Rowling fandom?
Selina: Exactly. I mean, that’s the big question. We were just talking about that before the show too, how there comes a point when you have to make that decision, I think, for yourself.
Eric: Do you just like her magical works in the magical world or do you like everything she writes? Do you like her voice or is it specific books? So what is it? So I do think, depending on how her book is and how people respond to it, I could easily see this gaining a following. Not… well, from ex-Harry Potter fans or former Harry Potter fans, but then also a mystery community as well, who’s got either the interest that was there from the beginning, with the few people who read it before it became big. And also just from regular mystery enthusiasts who now say it’s like reading the next big novel from an established author who’s clearly good at writing. I think it will get renewed attention not just from Harry Potter fans but from mystery fans.
MuggleCast 267 Transcript (continued)
Sequel Scheduled to Be Released Next Year
Andrew: So the next book is supposed to come out next summer, which is kind of cool. But this raises a question.
Selina: All right.
Andrew: What does this mean for J.K. Rowling in the future if she’s writing these books, the Cormoran Strike series?
Selina: I know. When is that lexicon coming?
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Well, I think that’s pretty much complete, if you ask me.
Selina: For crying out loud.
Andrew: I think that’s ready to go.
Selina: I don’t think we’re ever going to get it. We talked about this before.
Eric: The cool thing to keep in mind is that she wrote four books in four years – the first four Harry Potter books. Now, there were years and years of planning, of course – we have to acknowledge that – but from 1997 to 2000 she wrote the first four Harry Potter books, and that’s four separate books. She’s had six years now since Book 7 ended. She could easilyÅ… it’s foreseeable that there are plenty more things out there that she’s been working on, in addition to being the wife and mother that she always wanted to be, which she said she’s also enjoying. So I just think there’s so much opportunity, because we know the speed that she can write and we know how much time has elapsed. There’s a lot more that could be out there. I’m including all the stuff we’re hoping to find out on Pottermore, including a lexicon. It’s just a matter of them planning it, putting it in the pipeline for development and delivery, and then releasing it to us.
Andrew: I’mÅ… I don’t know. This is really interesting to me.
Micah: But why…
Andrew: I don’t know what to say.
Micah: Why continue to write as Robert?
Selina: I know.
Micah: It doesn’t… at this point… what was her timeline for waiting to make this reveal? Was she never going to make the reveal?
Micah: So I’m just wondering… okay, in the UK it sold 1,500 copies. In the US, as you mentioned, we don’t know the numbers yet. But how could she even know that she was going to write a series if the first book… I mean, selling 1,500 copies is not successful. So she was banking on this reveal at some point because…
Micah: …the reveal…
Selina: Well, I think…
Andrew: She said herself that the book… this is sooner than she hoped.
Andrew: So she was planning on some [reveal] at some point.
Eric: I think so, but…
Selina: I think for her… I mean, it probably wouldn’t make that big of a difference because she has enough money for like thirty lifetimes.
Eric: Yeah, at this point you’re writing for yourself, and I think there was definitely… there’s something brilliant about writing under a pseudonym and watching the book gain a life of its own because it’s the only one true unbiased way to do anything. Right? Isn’t it? So the fact that she had two months to gather that info to read the reviews that she stated in her statement is cool. It’s true, it’s only two months. So it would have been interesting if it had been six months or a year, like maybe a full year, when the second book is about to come out when she sees the maximum… like say that that’s when it reaches its maximum popularity or if it plateaus.
Eric: To have been able to see the book naturally plateau. Maybe it goes from book club word of mouth. But it’s only been two months, so I’m glad that at least in her statement she says that it was nice to hear the reviews. Of course, though, she also says that it was too soon.
Micah: Well, that’s where I wonder from her perspective, what is more telling? Is it the reviews that you receive or is it the sales of the book?
Selina: I would say it’s the reviews for sure.
Selina: Because that’s the whole thing. She probably wants to be… J.K. Rowling wants to be known or acknowledged for something other than Harry Potter, so it must be very liberating for her. She is being recognized for this non-Harry Potter, non-magical book, not because of her name. I mean, that must be the best thing for her.
Andrew: Yeah. I can’t even imagine how rewarding that is.
Eric: Yeah. The word she used was “liberating” and she said, “It’s been pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.” So it’s almost like she had to do it, in a way, for herself, now she knows. I think she will continue writing under…
Micah: Well, that’s what she said.
Andrew: Just that series.
Eric: There has to be a precedent for it. I’m thinking Stephen King/Richard Bachman, I wonder if he wrote any books after being outed. I have to go back to that… except for Blaze, which came later. I think ultimately for her, she’s created this persona. And I actually wanted to bring this up – I wasn’t sure if it would fit in the doc, but hey, now I’m making the connection – is it wrong or is it somehow suspect for her to have created this identity?
Eric: Which is shown in… I think it’s in the book flap, that says, “Robert Galbraith is an ex-vet…”
Selina: Oh, yeah. [laughs]
Eric: “…who was stationed in the army, and this…” or is it the non-military police? Anyway, and the whole story is based on…
Selina: Something that she’s not, basically.
Eric: His or she experiences, yeah. It was an in-depth bio for a fake person, so how is that… will that remain in the new copy of the book? And is it wrong to pose as a vet, or how does that gain your sympathy or not? Because we know she didn’t serve in the war, so what does it really mean?
Selina: That’s a good point. That’s a good distinction. But I think… just in terms of her creating a pseudonym and creating a character under which to write for, that’s a pretty standard practice for authors writing under pseudonyms. And especially women, I mean there’s been a string of women throughout history that she’s following in the footsteps of who are writing under male pseudonyms. There’s a Danish one actually – I can’t think of any English ones, though there are some – but Karen Blixen was a Danish one. She wrote the… My African Farm? Is that the one? Something like that. And she wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen, who was like a completely separate person, a man, and she wrote under him for years and years and years. And now, she’s just known under both names.
Selina: So it’s that kind of thing, and I think that… but in terms of her creating him as a vet of the army, that is particularly interesting.
Selina: And I wonder why.
Micah: Somewhere the real Robert Galbraith…
Micah: …is demanding his money…
Eric: Oh, God.
Micah: …once these sales start to spike. But I think we’ve probably had this discussion on an episode, years ago maybe. And we’ve talked about would J.K. Rowling ever write under a pseudonym, and I think… it’s not certainly my place to say one way or another what she should or shouldn’t do, but it’s just overall an interesting story to me because I feel like she already achieved this level of greatness through writing Harry Potter and she made it from being this somebody who wasn’t a known author by any respects and she wrote quite possibly one of the greatest series of all time in literature, and it’s just… it’s funny to me that she would feel the need to write under a pseudonym to see if it would be just as successful when she already went through that process back in the late ’90s.
Selina: Yeah, but I think it is again a thing of distancing herself from Harry and from that story, that type of story, too.
Eric: It’s so interesting, Selina, that you brought up too that it may have been easier a leap for her to make since J.K. Rowling isn’t her real name. You know, ‘K’ is her aunt, Kathleen.
Eric: It may be easier for her to write under a fake name because she’s already done it.
Andrew: So, I mean… but just getting back to this discussion of what she could be writing next, are we going to get that children’s book? She said while promoting The Casual Vacancy that…
Selina: It’s probably already come out, Andrew.
Andrew: Yeah, maybe.
Selina: It’s probably Hunger Games.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Who’s behind it? Let’s find more pseudonym books. [laughs] The Hunger Games? Could you imagine if J.K. Rowling was behind The Hunger Games?
Eric: Yeah, I thought…
Selina: I know, right?
Eric: I thought all pseudonyms had to work like “Tom Marvolo Riddle. I am Lord Voldemort.”
Eric: I thought they had to contain all the letters and so…
Andrew: Yeah, I almost put this into a word scrambler.
Eric: Yeah, word scramble…
Selina: Oh, no, that’s an anagram.
Eric: …to see what would come up. Well, we don’t know… I think the J, the K, and the W are missing from Robert Galbraith, which are all important parts of Rowling – the J, K, and W. But we don’t… depends on what his middle name is, right? [laughs]
Eric: She should…
Selina: I am Lord J.K. Rowling.
Andrew: Yeah, we need to know.
Eric: She should come up with a crazy middle name for Robert Galbraith.
Micah: By the way though, a tip of the cap to “Lord Voldemort” on Twitter who had a great tweet yesterday…
Andrew: What did he say?
Micah: …saying, “Oh, J.K. Rowling is writing under a pseudonym. How very Half-Blood Prince of her.”
[Andrew, Eric, and Selina laugh]
Eric: Yeah, we should do a best of Twitter kind of post, I think.
Andrew: Yeah, there’s been some good stuff. My friend Mason tweeted that Shailene Woodley has already signed on for the lead role in The Cuckoo’s Calling.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: So we wanted to talk about potential TV/movie, but I think it’s too early because we haven’t read that, so we’ll hold that off until another episode.
Selina: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: Yeah, we’ll hold that off for our big review show, right?
When Do the Hosts Plan on Reading The Cuckoo’s Calling?
Andrew: When do you guys plan on reading the book?
Selina: I’m three pages in, so I’ve got the lead. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] You started.
Eric: I’m holding it in my hands. I plan to read some tonight.
Micah: Whenever I get a copy. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Poor Micah.
Andrew: I got my copy. I may start tonight. I’ve got the Newsroom premiere tonight, which I’m looking forward to, so I’ll… but I’m excited to have a good summer book to read. I’m very excited.
Micah: Can I ask… I don’t know that we’ve mentioned this, maybe you did at the top of the show, but how long is the book?
Andrew: It is four hundred and sixty… 454 pages. Fifty-five, excuse me.
Eric: Four fifty-five, yeah. I was about to correct you.
Selina: Oh, my God.
Andrew: Casual Vacancy is like 460, 480. They’re the same size; they’re the same height and width and length. They’re… whatever, I don’t know the exact dimensions, but they’re very similar-looking books in terms of physical size. Let’s go to Twitter now.
Micah: Well, it is the same publisher.
Andrew: Yeah, but… yeah.
Selina: This is nice. They’ll look nice to each other on the shelf, next to each other.
Andrew: Yeah. You know what? I actually put them next to each other; they do look good.
Andrew: They also both kind of have that… the handwriting for each title is kind of flippant. I don’t know if that’s the way to…
Andrew: It looks like it’s handwritten, sort of. Both of them.
Selina: Yeah, it’s like… oh, we should have known.
Eric: That’s got to be… it’s just a regular motif, I think, for new novels. You’re right, though.
Andrew: Maybe. Maybe.
Listener Tweets: Reactions to The Cuckoo’s Calling
Andrew: So, Micah, why don’t you tell us about some tweets that we got? You took to Twitter to ask people what?
Micah: I asked them what their thoughts were on The Cuckoo’s Calling – spoiler-free, of course – so I’ve actually pasted these tweets into our Google Doc, which really amazingly came together in about five minutes prior to our recording.
Selina: That was amazing.
Micah: If we have a time lapse, we need to post that video…
Andrew: [whispers] Don’t tell them.
Selina: Oh, it’s a beautiful thing.
Micah: …of how this all came to be. [laughs] So, quite frankly, I don’t know if there are any spoilers in here…
Andrew: I doubt it. No way.
Micah: …but we’re about to find out. So the first tweet comes from [struggles to pronounce the name] Anne Panne…
Selina: I’ve got this one! Anne Panne P¯ne. She must be Danish.
Micah: Oh. There you go.
Eric: Anne Panne P¯ne.
Selina: Yeah, there you go.
Eric: Did I say that right?
Selina: You got it. No. [laughs] Close.
Micah: She’s the distant niece of Robert Galbraith.
Selina: [laughs] She’s…
Eric: [in a thick accent] Galbraith.
Selina: [in a thick accent] Robert Galbraith.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Micah: [pronounces as “Gale-braith”] Galbraith.
Eric: Thank you.
Micah: And she says:
“Excited to read it and see if it is as good as the reviews say! (And if it engages me more than ‘The Casual Vacancy’ did.)”
Selina: I hear you.
Andrew: That’s an important question because if people get fed up with this book, too…
Selina: That’s it.
Andrew: I mean, how many more books can J.K. Rowling release before they’re just over it?
Micah: She’s going to be forced to go back…
Eric: Before people bomb her…
Micah: …to Harry Potter? [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, exactly.
Micah: Lyndon says:
“A funny/tricky thing for J.K. Rowling to do. This book of hers was a chance for her to stay in the shadows… Surprise!”
Eric: Like a ninja.
Micah: Martin [lightning bolt] says:
“Loving it! Ever since I read CoS in 2001, I’ve been telling myself Jo is a great mystery writer.”
They need to learn how to spell “mystery,” by the way.
“Love that Rob G filled that void.”
Eric: Rob G.
Micah: [laughs] Now he’s Rob G.
Selina: [laughs] Rob G.
Selina: I love it.
Eric: Robbie G.
Micah: Savannah Amy says:
“I’m a few chapters in and really enjoying it. The characters are intriguing and the plot interesting. Can’t wait to finish it!”
“Can’t wait to read it! Bought my copy within minutes of the news but haven’t had a chance to open it – but the synopsis sounds good.”
Andrew: I’ll stop you right there to let you know I went to the Barnes and Noble website, and I reserved [laughs] two more copies of the book.
Andrew: Because apparently they’re in stock, still. So I’m going to get…
Selina: Oh, my God.
Andrew: I have to get a confirmation, though. I have to wait. So…
Selina: What are you going to do with them?
Andrew: Well, like I said earlier, I like this… I like how these… this is a very rare print, without it mentioning J.K. Rowling.
Andrew: So potentially this is worth something. So…
Selina: You can always do a giveaway.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. I may do a giveaway.
Andrew: Go ahead now, Micah.
Eric: Makes sense.
Micah: Cristina Bailey says:
“It’s great! Very similar style to J.K. Rowling. If I didn’t know better, I would have said she wrote it!”
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Selina: Aye, best tweet ever.
Micah: Matty J:
“Love Jo’s decision! Famous writer with no pressure but only within herself to write what she wants at her own pace and time.”
Micah: Lucy says:
“Loving it so far! About halfway through – good murder mystery novel!”
Micah: Next name? [laughs]
Eric: …difficult name. I knew exactly what he was doing. [laughs]
Selina: [pronounces as “Ale-lee”] Ailbhe Redmond.
Eric: The ‘B’ is silent?
Selina: Yeah, I think the ‘B’ is silent. Unless it’s [pronounces as “Ale-bee”] Ailbhe. I was going to say [pronounces as “Ale-lee”] Ailbhe.
Micah: Well, the Twitter name is albuhay.
Selina: Albuhay. [laughs] Okay then. Albuhay.
Micah: Well, they:
“Really respect Jo’s decision to put it out there with no pressure to see what the response would be. Loved TCV so can’t wait!”
So there’s somebody who enjoyed The Casual Vacancy. And finally, Jennifer Harenda says:
“On page 26, very promising so far.”
Selina: Little bit further than me.
“The writing is stronger than in ‘Potter’, and I think I’ll like it better than TCV.”
Eric: Stronger than in Potter.
Selina: Those are fighting words.
Andrew: Yeah, interesting.
Eric: [laughs] No, no, no. I think it’s fair, only because every writer grows, right? So…
Andrew: Yeah, that’s true. I am glad to hear that it is better than The Casual Vacancy so far. I mean, it’s totally different…
Selina: Yeah, we aren’t getting that kind of response that we had after Casual Vacancy when everyone was sort of just tweeting like “…umm.” [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, you know what? And it’s a whole different subject matter. So…
Eric: Yeah. The furthest I’ve heard of anyone being so far is page 131, and that is my good friend Sarah Wilkes – I’ll give a shoutout – just on Twitter, tweeted me and was like, “I’m on 131. It’s good.” So that’s the furthest I’ve seen. But you said 455 pages, wasn’t it? So it’s only a quarter of the way through. That’s the furthest I’ve heard of anyone being. But we got a lot of tweets: 25 pages, 30 pages, 3 pages.
Micah: Yeah. I mean, I see it as something that I’m looking forward to reading. I’m going to take my time with the book. It’s not one of those situations where we’re running to record a podcast and we got to finish it in three hours or we’re trying to race our friends to get to the finish and find out what happens to Harry in Book 7. So…
Micah: I just see it as one of those things where hopefully the bookstore has it tomorrow. I’ll probably order it online anyway, just to be safe. But I want to enjoy the book. I don’t want to feel like I have to rush through to find out what happens at the end.
Andrew: Yeah. I agree.
Eric: Now, maybe we should give a shout… people were telling me yesterday, in terms of methods of how to get it, it’s unlikely… they can’t sell out of a digital copy, right?
Eric: So you can do an ebook?
Eric: And somebody was telling me about the Kindle and Nook apps for iPhone, so… that are apparently free. So even if you don’t have a Kindle or Nook you can still order the book for like thirteen dollars and still read it.
Eric: If you are accustomed to reading on your phone, there is a way where you can get the ebook and that would probably be not only your best money saving option, but to guarantee that you get it. Because it’s digital! They’re not going to run out.
Selina: And don’t forget there is the audiobook, too.
Micah: Yeah, Audible.com.
Eric: I’m definitely going to get the audiobook.
Micah: Use your free audiobook right there.
Micah: Why not?
Andrew: You could.
Selina: Nothing better that I could think of to use it for.
Eric: That’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
Andrew: Funnily enough, I don’t think we have an ad this episode. So…
Andrew: …joke’s on you guys.
Micah: Sorry, I just brought up the picture that Eric sent…
Eric: Well, in that case let’s use Game of Owns’s.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: So there will be a lot more to talk about over the coming weeks. And I would say months, but since we have two more months left it’s almost not worth saying. So we’ll talk more about it in the coming weeks.
Selina: Way to bum everybody out at the end of the show.
Eric: I was going to say, Micah was going on about it. I was like, “Micah, isn’t it nice not to have a podcast to run home and read for?”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: We would love to hear everybody’s reviews, so after… if you plan on reading the book within the next few weeks, after you finish email us: mugglecast at gmail dot com. That’s our email address now, right? Guys?
Micah: That’s the best way to reach us by email.
Andrew: Okay. mugglecast at gmail dot com. We will read some of your reviews. I think we’re all going to try to read it in the next few weeks. And we probably won’t have a review by the end of… by our next episode, which is scheduled for a week or two from now, but maybe for the final episode we will mention it on there. Go through some reviews.
Andrew: Thanks everybody for listening. We will see you in just a couple of weeks for Episode 268. I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
[Show music begins]
Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Selina: And I’m Selina Wilken.
Eric: Get Cuck-in’!
Micah: Oh, wow.
Selina: Get Cuckoo! [laughs]
Micah: How long did you take to think of that?
Andrew: Get cook… get cuckin’.
Eric: Half a second.
[Show music continues]