J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

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The woman, the legend… the creator (or mother, if you will) of Harry Potter.

J.K. Rowling is UK’s best-selling living author and on the Forbe’s list of the World’s Top-Earning Authors. It’s been 21 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, hit British bookshops with an initial print run of 500 copies. This series has since grown into a $25bn cultural empire (including theme parks, tours, theatre shows, toys, etc.) and amassed millions of fans world-wide.

It’s hard to imagine that 21 years ago, this goliath of a book series was being written in a café with Rowling’s daughter, Jessica, sleeping in the stroller next to her. At that time, Rowling couldn’t have fathomed the success she has achieved today- she was living in a cramped apartment, jobless, penniless, and depressed. “By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew,” Rowling says of that time during a 2008 Harvard University commencement speech.

To make matters worse, she received rejection after rejection from book publishers when she first sent out the manuscript. That is until Bloomsbury, then a young independent firm, took a bet on Rowling and paid just GBP 2,500 to buy the book. What drove Bloomsbury to sign this deal when others wouldn’t? Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury recalls that the tale of the orphaned boy wizard reminded him of Roald Dahl. “I loved the friendship and the fact it was funny. Fantasy wasn’t normally funny.”

Which books shaped Rowling into the author she is today? See below.

Biography sources https://www.businessinsider.com/the-rags-to-riches-story-of-jk-rowling-2015-5, https://www.ft.com/content/a24a70a6-55a9-11e7-9fed-c19e2700005f

J.K. Rowling's Favourite Books

Sources https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/books/review/j-k-rowling-by-the-book.html, http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/jk-rowlings-favorite-books/all

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Goudge was the only one whose influence I was conscious of. She always described exactly what the children were eating, and I really liked knowing what they had in their sandwiches. (Rowling's Notes, Oprah)

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When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she's entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort--a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it--and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?

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I've never found anything to match [Colette's] descriptive passages, ever. She was a very sensual writer, and way beyond her time. Chéri is a love story between a very spoiled young man and his mistress who has 'been there, done that.' He's self-centered and vicious, and she ultimately turns out to be very noble...

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The final scene is incredibly moving; it makes me cry. I absolutely bow to Colette, but I think if she could hear me, she would probably tell me where to get lost, because she was that kind of woman. (Rowling's Notes, Oprah) This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare s finesse to Oscar Wilde s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.

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I lived in it the way that you do with truly great books; putting it down with glazed eyes and feeling disconcerted to find yourself in the 21st century. (Rowling's Notes, NY Times)

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This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare s finesse to Oscar Wilde s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.

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