I have really enjoyed the Cormoran Strike series written by J.K. Rowling under the pen name of Robert Galbraith. J.K. Rowling became internationally famous with her Harry Potter series, and when she began writing crime fiction, she decided to keep her authorship a secret. She was interested to see how her books might be judged as the work of an ‘unknown’ author. The first book in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, appeared in 2013, but her authorship was revealed that same year by the Sunday Times, to whom the secret had been leaked by the wife of a lawyer who represented her. Troubled Blood is the 5th novel in the series and, in my view, they have all been excellent. I found this last one hard to put down and very much hope that it will be filmed as the earlier books have been.
J.K. Rowling has also been in the media for her views on transgender people. I was interested to hear that a bookshop in Perth had banned her latest book from their stock because of these views. As I read Troubled Blood, I kept an eye out for what it was that could make a bookshop ban a book certain to sell well.
In its 927 pages, there is one small reference to a man who disguises himself in a woman’s coat and hat in order to approach a victim. Hardly a criticism of transgender people! That Perth bookshop should hang its head in shame! The shop owners have clearly NOT read the book. They should also sit down and have a very good think about their decision.
Do you ban a book just because you may not like the views of the author on a particular subject? Does that bookshop remove Dickens’ novels from its shelves because he treated his wife so horribly? Do you push out the door the Diary of Samuel Pepys because Pepys was a serial groper of women (the #MeToo movement would have had a field day with him!), should Villette go because it is anti-Catholic, or should The Merchant of Venice never be staged again because of its portrayal of a Jewish character? It’s absurd to try and ban books because you disagree with the author on something. Jane Austen and I would not have agreed on the subject of religion, but would I ever in 100 million years ever dream of banning Jane Austen? Well, I’ll leave you to work that one out.
J.K. Rowling has done more than probably any other human being on this planet to encourage children to love books. Every book shop in the world should be proud to stock her works, under whichever name she chooses to use, and should put them in the front window. So this is my message – “Thanks, J.K. Rowling, for a fantastic read and all you have done for reading on this planet, from your very grateful and admiring fan.”
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