J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997 - 2013 by Philip W Errington
|J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997 - 2013 by Philip W Errington|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Scholarly and not aimed at the casual reader, but Rowling's books are covered in exquisite detail.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: February 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Just occasionally it's necessary to begin by saying what a book isn't: J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997 - 2013 isn't the latest book by J K Rowling - she had no part in the writing of the book and doesn't profit from it financially. It isn't, actually, about J K Rowling other than indirectly. It is a book about her writings, bibliographic details of each edition of ALL her books, pamphlets, and contributions to published works. It is not a book for the reader who loved the Harry Potter books and wishes that Rowling had written many more, but rather the definitive text about the books which will be consulted by scholars, book dealers and collectors, auction houses and researchers. The most obvious comparison for me is Stamps of the World by Stanley Gibbons. It is of that class.
J K Rowling describes the bibliography as mind-boggling and it's difficult to disagree or to believe that it can ever be bettered other than to add any later works. The obvious books - the Harry Potter series - are there along with Rowling's adult fiction published under her own name and also under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. Each English language edition, published in the UK and the US between the given dates is included, with a comprehensive publishing history. The books are presented chronologically and taken together illustrate the development of an author and the J K Rowling brand. There's even a flowchart to enable you to establish if your copy of one of the Harry Potters is a first edition.
The language is scholarly and precise and when I read that the idea for Harry Potter slid into Rowling's mind on a train journey from Manchester to London I was almost tempted to believe that it was Rowling who had misremembered (I'm sure that she had other things on her mind at the time) when she said that she was on a train to Manchester. What the notes to the books do do is to debunk some of the myths which have grown up around the Potter stories and replace them with words from the people who were there at the time. Many of the notes read like good stories in themselves and there are some fascinating snippets of information to be had, even if you're not a Harry Potter fan.
Talking of myths being debunked, I was fascinated to read that the initial sales of The Cuckoo's Calling (the crime novel published pseudonymously under the name Robert Galbraith) were not as low before the true authorship was revealed as had previously been believed. A report in the Evening Standard said that until the weekend of 13/14 July 2013 total sales were in the region of 1500, but the accurate sales were recorded in The Bookseller on 17 July and totalled more than 8000 over all formats - suggesting that sales of the book were reasonable even before Rowling was outed as the author.
I was initially disappointed that the covers of the finished books were not presented in full colour, but rationalised this on the grounds that it would have added substantially to the cost of an already pricey book but was delighted to find groupings of full colour plates which covered the main editions. They added a great deal to a very enjoyable and informative book and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
Any child wanting to know more about J K Rowling might enjoy J K Rowling: the Mystery of Fiction by Lindsey Fraser.
You can read more book reviews or buy J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997 - 2013 by Philip W Errington at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997 - 2013 by Philip W Errington at Amazon.com.
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