("Adult" in scare quotes because most of the adults I know—I choose my friends carefully—have in fact read the Harry Potter novels.)

I finally made it through Mugglemarch, the New Yorker's ten-page profile of J.K. Rowling, for which Gawker wrote the bitchy headline "The New Yorker’s 9,000 Word Profile of J. K. Rowling Will Not Make You Want to Hang Out with J. K. Rowling." I wouldn't go that far, at all—Rowling just comes across as a private woman, slightly fixated on the impossible ideal of a "normal life," who hasn't done a particularly good job cultivating a public persona. Overall, it's a well-rounded profile, incorporating critiques of the Potter series and Rowling's own self-mythologizing (her early years were "hard to classify as abject poverty," Parker writes, though Rowling has indeed classified them as such) alongside a fairly in-depth look at Rowling's background.

Of the new book itself, set in a small English town with deep class issues, Parker writes, "Rowling's empathy can feel like condescension," and "The Casual Vacancy will certainly sell, and it may also be liked," which quite a backhanded way of saying he doesn't think it's particularly good.

I'm going to read it anyway, though. Are you?