« | Home | »

A Journey from Memoir to Wet Wipes

Tags: |

I’ve always had trouble with cataloguing books. In Ireland I came across a bookshop that had a wall of fiction divided into two. They were labelled: Novels by Men and Novels by Women. I left weeping. I’m in two minds about Daunt Books’ method of geographic cataloguing. Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad all over the shop, though Dostoevsky safely under Russia.

I have no ambivalence at all about a new movement to re-categorise one particular book, on a national, and ideally international scale. Act now and sign up for the Facebook Group not-so-snappily entitled Subversively Move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in book shops. There are coming up for 10,000 members so far. For this alone the internet and Facebook must be considered a good thing. There are other creative options. Fiction, obviously, Fantasy and Fairy Tales. But you are not just confined to book sections. Someone moved A Journey in Tesco to the Wet Wipes section. In Asda it’s to be found among the Cat Litter. And there’s a suggestion that perhaps the meat counter is the most appropriate place. Go to it.

Comments on “A Journey from Memoir to Wet Wipes”

  1. Phil says:

    Act now and sign up for the Facebook Group not-so-snappily entitled Subversively Move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in book shops

    How would signing up to a Facebook group enhance the act of actually moving Blair’s memoirs, etc, or for that matter the failure to do so?

    (I’m not on Facebook, so bear with me.)

  2. Geoff Roberts says:

    Don’t worry too much about the ones you miss, though. My guess is that very few will actually read the book.

  3. Joe Morison says:

    I can’t quite explain it, but some sort of sick humour in me would like to see it in Self Help. Given the title, Travel is also a possibility.

  4. A.J.P. Crown says:

    What’s wrong with reading Blair’s memoirs? It doesn’t mean you supported his actions. There’s nothing wrong with reading.

    • Joe Morison says:

      It’s not the reading, it’s the buying. Imagine how he’d have felt if it had hardly sold. I might feel sorry for him but until he faces and owns up to his crimes, anything that helps reinforce his self-delusion (and i think lots of people reading his book will do that) is a bad thing.

    • Geoff Roberts says:

      It’s buying and then deciding to plough through the 500 pages, making notes and marginal comments and getting annoyed and generally becoming in a partial way, an accessory after the fact – that is why I wouldn’t even consider buying the book. There is nothing wrong with reading as such – you are right on that A.J., but surely the bigger issue is, what do I read and why.
      There is a very German debate going on at the moment in Germany about a book written by an SPD member and Bundesbank director, his name is Thilo Sarrazin. There is a huge debate going on, in which many people who have not read his book are bashing his views in the relationship between religion and intelligence (whatever that is). I wouldn’t read the book if you gave me one as a present – his views are all over the newspapers and TV channels. He’ll make a lot of money which he doesn’t need. The issue for me is, do you becaome a passive participant in the overhyped world of fast commnunication? Franzen’s new one has been translated into German in a matter of weeks, ready for the big Frankfurt Book Fair. I would like to think that buying and reading a book is a slow organic process – not a blast of hot pr air.

      • A.J.P. Crown says:

        You don’t become partial if you don’t want to be. I disapprove of Blair and all he stands for. What he’s got to say is important because of the Iraq war & Afghanistan and to find out what lessons can be learned about that time in British politics. If I want to know what that is, I’d rather read his memoir than get it second-hand from the internet. Newspaper reports are, most of the time, just unbelievably distorted; so when there’s a chance to hear it from the horse’s mouth, why not? I like this moving-his-book-around action, it’s just my cup of tea, and the cancellation of his London appearances shows he got the message about his lack of popularity. If nobody were to buy his book, it would send the message that nobody’s interested in the issues — that’s the wrong message.

  5. outofdate says:

    The Kinokuniya Bookstore chain round Asia has one wall for non-genre novels called Literature and another called General Fiction, and it’s anyone’s guess what’s what. Rupert Thomson is General Fiction, but Danielle Steele is Literature, as are the Apocalypse Tuesday novels or whatever they’re called by Jenkins and LaHaye. Instructions seem to come from Tokyo headquarters, so there’s method in the madness. Having long been in the habit of punishing books I find wanting by putting them on my thriller shelf, I do get the occasional rich satisfaction from a placement in General Fiction, but sadly the rate’s about 5:1 the other way, so there’s no point even trying to make a difference.

  6. Greenarkle says:

    In Tesco, I put it in with the nuts. Oh, and I bought some pistachios too.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.

  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • andymartinink on Reacher v. Parker: Slayground definitely next on my agenda. But to be fair to Lee Child, as per the Forbes analysis, there is clearly a massive collective reader-writer ...
    • Robert Hanks on Reacher v. Parker: And in Breakout, Parker, in prison, teams up with a black guy to escape; another white con dislikes it but accepts the necessity; Parker is absolutely...
    • Robert Hanks on Reacher v. Parker: Parker may not have the integrity and honesty of Marlowe, but I'd argue that Richard Stark writes with far more of both than Raymond Chandler does: Ch...
    • Christopher Tayler on Reacher v. Parker: Good to see someone holding up standards. The explanation is that I had thoughts - or words - left over from writing about Lee Child. (For Chandler se...
    • Geoff Roberts on Reacher v. Parker: ..."praised in the London Review of Books" Just read the article on Lee Child in a certain literary review and was surprised to find this rave notice...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Chris Lehmann: The Candidates
    18 June 2015

    ‘Every one of the Republican candidates can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.’

    Hugh Pennington:
    The Problem with Biodiversity
    10 May 2007

    ‘As a medical microbiologist, for example, I have spent my career fighting biodiversity: my ultimate aim has been to cause the extinction of harmful microbes, an objective shared by veterinary and plant pathologists. But despite more than a hundred years of concentrated effort, supported by solid science, smallpox has been the only success.’

    Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border
    20 October 2011

    ‘The battle against illegal migration is a domestic version of America’s interventions overseas, with many of the same trappings: big manpower commitments, militarisation, pursuit, detection, rendition, loss of life. The Mexican border was already the focus of attention before 9/11; it is now a fixation that shows no signs of abating.’

    James Meek: When the Floods Came
    31 July 2008

    ‘Last July, a few days after the floods arrived, with 350,000 people still cut off from the first necessity of life, Severn Trent held its annual general meeting. It announced profits of £325 million, and confirmed a dividend for shareholders of £143 million. Not long afterwards the company, with the consent of the water regulator Ofwat, announced that it wouldn’t be compensating customers: all would be charged as if they had had running water, even when they hadn’t.’

Advertisement Advertisement