To rip an old reflection from the willy old Bard himself: what is in a name? Plenty as it turns out. Plenty indeed.
Now that the news has broken that Robert Galbraith is not actually Robert Galbraith but actually J.K. Rowling using a pseudonym I suspect that this book will shoot up the bestseller lists. Simply because it's a 'Rowling' book with all the hype and connotations that go with that.
Now I understand that this might me sound like a cynic. And to a degree I am. Yet at the same time I fully understand the appeal of names and buying a book based on a certain author. How many books have I accepted and rejected purely on the understanding of who wrote the book? I've read every Brandon Sanderson or J.R.R. Tolkien work I could get my hand to. Oscar Wilde decorates my booklist alongside other classic authors. So why do I single this book out then?
Well, maybe it's the nature of how the pseudonym broke with the public. Something doesn't smell right in general. Maybe it's my reluctance to read J.K. Rowling books in general. And maybe it's because some part of me wonders if in reading this book I'd just be further adding to the hype. You see, one thing that's come to my attention is that while sadly the reality is that we don't buy products as much as we buy into names (you buy a Martin or a Sanderson or a Gaiman - or in this case a Rowling) we really should be judging our books by quality first and foremost. Which means if possible we should be ignoring that this is a Rowling work and accepting that it's a book and possibly or possibly not a good one.