…Books are a load of crap. So said Philip Larkin in his poem, A Study of Reading Habits. And he made his living – as a librarian – curating them.
But he’d have probably used an even more offensive expletive if he’d been subjected to the ever increasing pile of celebrity, ghost-written tat that arrives in time for Christmas and sells by the bucket load. While some Booker-nominated tomes sell as little as a couple of hundred copies, these heavy, tree-hungry volumes sell by the tonne.
Do people read them? Clearly most are bought as Christmas presents by people struggling for inspiration and given to those who probably need nothing. Just like the majority of Christmas presents then. George Monbiot writes a very pointed article about present buying in yesterday’s Guardian. Read it before doing any more Christmas shopping. It could save you a fortune as well as help save the planet.
But don’t read it before you’ve finished reading this, please. I’ve just a couple more things I want to say. The first is – please don’t buy this book:
‘You won’t believe that’s in this book’ writes Jeremy Clarkson on the cover: ‘I know I don’t.’ And I know I’m not on the ‘A’ list of book reviewers, but being sent the sleb memoirs of a fictional TV character is probably about as far down the list as it’s possible to get.
Second, buy one of these instead. This one raises money for SANE:
Proceeds from this book go to Young Minds:
This one is still trying to raise a bit of cash for BBC Children in Need:
And these, dear reader, these raise a tiny weeny fraction of a penny for me…