Thin Genius

Reading & Writing

Behold the above book.

It is the size and weight of a paving stone.

It is also unreadably bad, and all those involved in its publishing should all be shot.

It is not a particularly long book, but being badly written it feels very long indeed.

It has lots of fat white pages to pad it out, and will probably sell at WH Smith near the departure lounge. When you’re going on holiday what you really need is a jumbo book-type object filled with barely readable words that don’t join up into anything resembling literature or entertainment.

It’s about a serial killer and is as much fun as watching a baby eat.

Books like this make me think about buying a Kindle, even though the Kindle’s 1950s Moscow design aesthetic makes me ill.

But there’s another solution. Behold these books!

Three of them together are still smaller than the one big bad book at the top!

The three books are;

‘A Bullet In The Ballet’ by Caryl Brahms & S J Simon
‘The Magic Christian’ by Terry Southern
‘The Drowned World’ by J G Ballard

They are entertaining. They are literature. They are filled with succinct burnished prose.

Only one of the three is available at the Kindle store.

Oh, and the cost of buying all three (from lovely Skoob Books in Bloomsbury) was less than the cost of the book at the top.

So, publishers, if you want to drive all your customers to Amazon, keep publishing the big fat books.

And readers, if you really have to read the big fat books, please shoplift them, but given their size you’d better be wearing a kaftan.

11 comments on “Thin Genius”

  1. Martha says:

    My arthritic hands can’t handle big fat books. My brain – at any stage of its life – wont tolerate stupid, self-indulgent, badly edited books. Don’t own a Kindle.

    Publishers take note, please.

  2. Adam says:

    Go on – give us a clue as to the identity of the bad book!

    Another trend seems to be ‘…with (insert name of another random author)’. James Patterson buddies up with at least half a dozen writers to produce pretty pedestrian stories. How does this work? Does he just donate his name and a few plot points? Just interested….

  3. Porl says:

    I have to confess for some reason I have a big fat (bookclub?) version of Red Bride in the collection as well as the standard addition 🙁

    But I did buy it from a charity shop (it was o.o.p. elsewhere) so I did some good in the process! 🙂

  4. Alan Morgan says:

    I just got The Drowned World out of the library the other day, only-a-little-oddly. Our local having been flooded, destroyed, rebuilt and restocked it’ll doubtless be closed in the weary future.

    Are the photos secretly tagged ‘Hey geek – got little book problem? Do what Fowler do, he got big book – big book! Send money, you get big book too. Yeah! This book bigger. Bigger!’

  5. Helen Martin says:

    I haven’t read James Patterson before but someone brought The Murder of King Tut to our Bookcrossing meeting. His co-author (name disappearing in bottom of cover decor) is Martin or Marty, as Patterson calls him, Dugard. In his author’s note Patterson says that Dugard’s “legwork” involved trips to London and Tut’s tomb in Egypt while Patterson did book and on line research. They then combined their work. He claims he made nothing up. I picked up the book because I have been interested in archaeology since I was 12 and Mother and I were reading everything archaeological we could lay our hands on. I read The Osiris Eye during that time and still have a weakness for books set then and there, even the Mrs. Peabody mysteries. I have never heard of Mr. Patterson’s Alex Cross mysteries, let alone read them.

  6. Steve says:

    The iPad is much prettier than the Kindle, and the books are more expensive. I believe that’s due to the fact that they tend to actually resemble real books. So…

    I Kindle.
    I iPad.
    I read real books.

    But I don’t haul around big honking tomes.

  7. Evelyn Sawyer says:

    Skoob Books is a wonderful find, great for a lunchtime browse. I am reading/re-reading older books now as very few new books do it for me, other than Squire Fowler. Currently re-reading John Le Carre’s Karla trilogy having overdosed on the wonderful Simon Russell Beale Radio 4 adaptations while having radiotherapy last year. Next: Iris Murdoch.

  8. sap bpc says:

    Be like James! I love reading the books of James Patterson. Very much fun to read. 🙂

  9. Anne Fernie says:

    You never used to get monster paperbacks like that but they are everywhere now. It’s almost as though publishers think the ‘consumer’ will get the satisfaction of a hardback via the ‘bulk’ but pay paperback prices. Please tell me it ain’t so……..

  10. Donna H says:

    Given how pricey Kindle ebooks and iBooks are, I wonder how many people are discovering literature through the availability of free classics. It’ll be nice to think advances in technology increasing a love of reading and an appreciation of writing.

  11. Helen Martin says:

    When choosing a book to read on the bus, weight is a large factor. Gormenghast is not a choice, nor is, well, anything over 8 ounces, umm .25 kilo. Of course, if I were reading Gormenghast on an e device weight wouldn’t come into it.

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