Tuesday, February 05, 2008

JK Rowling's Tale of the Beedle Bard

For all you Harry Potter fans out there, you will love what Amazon.com, that crazy juggernaut of a website, has done now. They've dipped into their coffers and produced the winning bid at Sotheby's (1.95 million pounds sterling, or about $3.83 million) for one of seven handwritten and illustrated books by JK Rowling-- The Tale of Beedle Bard, which is referenced in Book 7.

On one hand, I wonder about economic systems that support this kind of obsession, such that a book, mere paper and words, could be valued so highly. I wonder about all the hungry kids that could be fed and all the good that could be done with that money.

On the other hand, I love this human tendency to value art so highly, to hold dear those beautiful things that move us and inspire us and make us think. There's part of me that totally delights in the fact that this book exists and that people love it so much.

And then there's the happy fact that sales of the book meant an enormous contribution to Rowling's charity. I'm having my cake, I'm eating my cake.