Friday, December 14, 2007

J.K. Rowling's Newest Book

In case you haven't heard, J.K. Rowling has released a new book, a companion of sorts to Harry Potter. It's called "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" and it is a real-life version of the book seen in the last Harry Potter book. It is also handwritten, done up in a style with leather and semi-precious stones and a locking clasp, and, oh yeah, there are only seven of them in existence.

Six of them were given to those that Rowling calls "those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books during the last 17 years." The last was auctioned off for almost 2 million pounds (around 4 million dollars) and purchased through a proxy by, who are making reviews and pictures available to the public.

In some respects, it seems like a really cruel trick to play on us Potter fans, presenting a wholly new book that is clearly very good (at least if the words of the reviewer are to be believed, and the description of the two tales up as of this writing certainly sound pretty good) and then saying "Oops, sorry, you can't have it."

However, she's raised almost four million dollars for a children's charity in Europe. And Amazon, who purchased the book, have found a way to share it with the public. For free. Hard to get too upset about that. It's a remarkably cool use of the fame and well-earned critical acclaim that Rowling has earned, and just goes to show that in addition to creating one of the most enduring new fantasy series, she just seems like a really smart, really nice lady.

I'm holding out hope that at some point in the future, a mass-produced version of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" will be published. I have a hard time imagining that it won't. But even if it isn't, this is just a really cool story.

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