J K Rowling: the Mystery of Fiction by Lindsey Fraser
|J K Rowling: the Mystery of Fiction by Lindsey Fraser|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam|
|Summary: Written with sincerity, this biography is concise but informative. It is well put together, but could do with a more engaging and sophisticated writing style as well as more immersive content.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: June 2011|
|Publisher: Argyll Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Easily one of the most renowned authors of the 21st century, J.K. Rowling's incredibly successful Harry Potter series shook the core of the literary world. It provoked a reaction, the likes of which have never been seen before, and likely never will. A unique set of factors combined in order for the Harry Potter books to reach the level of success they enjoyed, and these factors are explored in this biography of Rowling. It is difficult not to be fascinated by the person who is responsible for the phenomenon that is Harry Potter, and although writing is a profession that doesn't have a typical path by which it can be reached, Rowling's story is anything but orthodox, and her personal 'rags to riches' story only enhances the Harry Potter legacy.
I've always known that the Harry Potter series has been huge and influential, but through the unique position in the book industry that the author of this biography has, she is able to convey just how much Harry Potter shaped the world of not only children's books, but all books in general. Harry Potter played a significant part in the resurgence of reading for leisure as well as the development of the children's book market. The intense anticipation for the next books in the series manifested itself in the form of various dedicated fan-sites, something that has now become relatively common, but was at the time extraordinary. The biography also describes how Rowling's publishers innovated the idea of releasing the newest book in the series at a precise time of the day, which led to various events being planned around the release.
The biography is particularly informative about the publication process behind the books, as well as the children's book market at various points of time during the saga; the author risks discouraging those readers who are looking for a more personal tale about the author herself and her books, but I personally enjoyed the presence of a more formal analysis into just what provoked the unanticipated level of success earned by the series. I also enjoyed the references to some of the other authors developing popular series at the time, including Anthony Horowitz and Eoin Colfer. However, at times it does feel like the author is resorting to publishing and sales statistics due to a lack of original details about Rowling herself.
Although the book is relatively short, there are lengthy passages that feel rather monotonous, not because they go into unnecessary detail – in fact, I would've liked more detail, especially about J K Rowling as a person, and her personal approach to writing – but because they feel too much like lists. The author's tone is one that is difficult to connect to, feeling too reserved and leading to the book turning into a bland chronological fact file at times; however, there are also moments of flair where the author infuses the text with a bit of dry humour.
Potters fans would probably enjoy the book, although it doesn't contain much that cannot be found during a good trawl through the Internet, but it is also open to those who want to know more about publishing, as well as the development of the children's book market over the last two decades.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
You probably saw this coming, but in terms of recommendations, there is nothing better than J.K. Rowling's stories themselves – they alone speak volumes about her as a person, and are self-explanatory in terms of why they are so successful. TheBookbag has got reviews of all seven books in the series starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
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You can read more book reviews or buy J K Rowling: the Mystery of Fiction by Lindsey Fraser at Amazon.com.
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