The last post tried not only to identify what it was that had so impressed me about the “Defending Politics” book but also to generalise possible lessons for the hundreds of thousands of writers whose titles and marketing blurbs shout at us from the bookshops and internet.
I have always loved Oscar Wilde’s aphorism – “I always pass on good advice; it’s the only thing to do with it”. But, on this rare occasion, I actually took on board the advice – in an effort to try to reduce the 200 plus pages of a draft I’ve had for some years - Dispatches to the (post-capitalist?) future generation - to more manageable proportions.
It’s a book which takes the form of a series of posts which I sensed at the time were more like letters to my children (and their generation) who were very much in my mind as drafted them. Perhaps that’s why this “giving of account” (with all the religious overtones that term carries!) has been so difficult to write in a satisfactory way…….
I’m quite proud of the shortened version which has emerged this week - Dispatches to the next generation – the small version
I’m experimenting with the following marketing blurb -
I‘ve always kept notes on the books which impressed me…and the arrival of electronic files and hyperlinks have made the task of collecting and retrieving these lists a positive pleasure. I still find it amazing that my blog can find and present within seconds my ruminations about a book I read almost a decade ago.
Academics are good at throwing bibliographical references at us. Indeed they overwhelm us with them – whether in footnotes, brackets or end-pages. It’s almost a virility test with them. I get very frustrated with this – since all these lists do is to flaunt their superiority at us – they don’t actually tell us anything interesting about each book.
The Annexes include a little section on some of the great books of the past century and also a favourite of mine – “Just Words – a Sceptic’s Glossary”