Saturday, 22 December 2007

A Christmas present

Oh, this is nice.

Last Saturday I stood in the cold from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. behind a stall at the Christmas bazaar in my local park, foolishly trying to sell books to punters who were more interested in hand-knitted dog blankets. And over the week I’ve been developing a convincing strain of cynicism, just in time for Christmas. I’ve been moaning about book-folk especially – the ones who work in publishing and newspapers, and who expect to pick books off shelves, or trees. (If you worked in a chocolate factory, you wouldn’t go out to BUY chocolates.)

And then today, in the Guardian, the estimable Nicholas Lezard, a man of most excellent taste, takes notice of one of the CB editions. More than that, he describes the moment when he ‘fell in love with it’. He goes on: ‘24 for 3 contains some of the tightest, cleanest writing I have seen in a long time. Both serious and playful, this is the best example of style revealing the contours of the interior that I have seen all year.’ And on: ‘This is a little marvel of a novella. It’s funny, clever, illuminating, deeply kind-hearted, and doesn’t outstay its welcome. It’s not self-indulgent: things happen in it, surprising things, like in an old-fashioned novel, yet it’s perfectly contemporary; and every word has been chosen with subtle care. It is, on its own terms, just right. I wonder if it’s too late for it to go on the Orange prize shortlist.’

And in case anyone’s wondering about the other books, he mentions that ‘the other CB books are, I have discovered, well worth checking out (it would appear to cater for works which might otherwise fall through the cracks between the big publishers).’

I have nothing to add.

Except the the Guardian has a readership of 1.29 million (although I doubt that all of them get as far as page 15 of the Review section). And according to the newspaper's own Reader Profile, 'our readers spend more time in pubs, bars or restaurants than readers of any other quality daily title'.

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