J.K. Rowling Is Releasing a New Book—But Is It Worth Reading?

Find out all about Very Good Lives

By Seija Rankin Apr 14, 2015 7:26 PMTags
Very Good Lives, J.K. RowlingLittle, Brown and Company

The rumors are true: According to her publisher, J.K. Rowling is releasing a new book!

Before you go getting too excited, we should preface this with a warning that the new tome isn't the eighth Harry Potter installment. Instead, it's an entirely different book called Very Good Lives. We say entirely different because Very Good Lives isn't even fiction—in fact, it's a print version of the author's famous 2008 Harvard commencement speech.

Are you a little disappointed? Us, too.

We should take this opportunity to point out that Rowling's speech was not only inspiring, but the most-watched of all the Harvard commencement speeches. It offered all kinds of humble and useful pieces of advice.

Sentiments like a reminder that compromising your own hopes and dreams for something more "practical" won't make anyone happy. Or that failure can be a good thing: "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all—in which case, you fail by default."

But all those good vibes don't take away from the fact that this is still a 3,000 word book that costs $15. Oh, and you can watch the original commencement speech in its entirety on YouTube. Sure, there are pictures added to enhance the text of the speech and the fact that you can use the book as coffee table decoration to make you look smart, but it's still a bit anti-climactic.

Of course, if you're such a huge J.K. Rowling fan that you can't refrain from scooping up every last release of hers, you can take comfort in the fact that all the book's proceeds benefit Lumos, a non-profit that the author founded to end the institutionalization of children around the world. There's always at least some silver lining.