Friday, July 20, 2007

CONF 473: END OF TERM

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Over-did it a bit on the work again last week and have been making myself take it a bit easier.

The journalist's submission of Jane Austen's work to literary agents and editors threw up this article about the real reason publishers miss good books. I must confess I didn't think 'not quite right for our list' meant 'clearly unpublishable'.

Sebastian Shakespeare's piece about titles in the Evening Standard talks about the current trend for long narratives that need have little to do with the content:

The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon, has shot to the top of the Evening Standard bestseller list. The novel may well deserve to succeed on its own merits, but how many of its sales can be attributed to its arresting title? The title bears little relation to the story - there is just one fleeting reference to the Policeman's Union in its 430 pages. But in that respect Chabon is following a well-established convention. The titles of Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye and Bonfire of the Vanities all have a tenuous relationship to the novels in question. ... There was a fashion for one-word titles in the 1980s (Money, Ambition) and two-word titles in the early Noughties (White Teeth, Brick Lane and Small Island) but now the pendulum has swung again in the opposite direction. With newcomers, the long title is a good way of drawing attention to yourself. Recent examples include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian. .. So, does a title matter? Take the following: The Great Gatsby; Gone With the Wind; Treasure Island; Catch-22. If their authors had had their way, they would have been called Trimalchio in West Egg; Baa Baa Black Sheep; Sea Cook; Catch 18. In the end a good title is a mystery, like a book's sales.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

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