ladyofastolat: (Default)
[personal profile] ladyofastolat
How can a book be called "The untold story of..." something or other. You have written the book, Mr Author. It has been published and is sitting on my desk. The story is now told. When you first had the idea, you might have been entitled to call it an untold story, but once you'd finished writing it, the title was now a lie. Unless "telling," like communicating, is something that requires an attentive listener? If you recount a story in an empty forest, are you still telling it? I think you are, but I will be charitable to Mr Author and allow him to argue that his story remains untold even after he has typed the final full stop... but only as long as nobody has beta-read it, proof-read it, edited it, helped him with the index or listened to him expounding on the subject while gesticulating with a wine glass at dinner parties. Well, unless these people are only allowed to glimpse snippets of the completed book and are kept by force from even glimpsing the rest of it. But, even so, the minute it's published and somebody reads it, the title is now a LIE!

(Which reminds me of the award Pellinor recently received for being an unsung hero. I argue that the second he accepted said reward, he became sung, so was duty bound to hand it back. Whereupon, of course, he became unsung again, and the award-giver was bound to give it back to him, and so on and so on, for a never-ending eternal loop of politeness and pedantry. Although at least somebody would probably give in eventually and say, "Just take the damn thing!" so we wouldn't be stuck in a true never-ending loop like the case of the buttered toast strapped (butter side up) to the back of a falling cat, which, logically, can never, ever land. This is known.)

But, anyway, back to books, I always smile when I see "unnumbered pages" on the catalogue record, although it's always in the context of "24 unnumbered pages," or the like, which just seems wrong.

I might have mentioned this before, but books called things like "A practical guide to keeping chickens" always make me chuckle, since I invariably imagine the companion book, and sometimes spend a happy few minutes imagining chapter titles and diagrams and suggestions. Impractical chicken-keeping. Impractical bike maintenance. Impractical yachting. Sometimes I want to draw the pictures, which, for some reason, often end up involving balloons, and, occasionally, bananas.

"...of the world" books, on the other hand, always cause me to declaim them out loud, as a rallying cry, often adding "unite!" to the end. "Frogs of the world," unite! There's a section in Sainsbury's called "Breads of the world," where I always want to rally the ciabattas and pitta breads and urge them to throw off the chains of the Chorleywood overlords.
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