I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
Published by Little, Brown on Apr. 14, 2015
Genres: Biography/Memoir, Inspiration, Nonfiction
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
“In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?
Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.”
I saw Very Good Lives in the library, knew it was J.K. Rowling’s commencement address and just had to pick it up. Maybe it’s Fate, Destiny or simply Magic that I am able to read this book on the day my oldest son completes middle school. The same son who I was pregnant with when the Twin Towers came crashing down and whose aunt read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to us while I was pregnant with him and on bedrest. The same son who started “reading” flashcards when he was an hour old and has an even more insatiable appetite for books than I.
I love J.K. Rowling’s writing as much as the next and after 7 spectacular Harry Potter books, I expect to be awed every time I pick up her books. Honestly, Silkworm disappointed me, but Very Good Lives was every bit as amazing as Harry Potter in a concise and inpsiring way. Think the wisdom of Albus Dumbledore + sweet illustrations and you get Very Good Lives.
We learn about Rowling’s college career, her failures and how “rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” When there’s nowhere to go but up, Rowling pursued the only job she ever wanted and the rest is history. How can we succeed without failure? I will remember more of J.K. Rowling’s commencement address than I do of my own, seriously I can’t remember the guy’s name. Very Good Lives makes a PERFECT graduation present and one I will buy for our house and reread every time I need a pick me up.
Do I have to pick just one? I think I spent more time writing down the quotes I love than the time it took me to read this book!
“Failure means a stripping away of the inessential.”
“You will never know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.”
“We do not need magic to transform our world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.”
What books do you think make great graduation gifts? What do you remember from commencement addresses you’ve seen? What failures have inspired you the most. Let me know and join the conversation. As always, happy reading!