Tuesday 24 November 2009

Go, little book

Another cheapskate publisher who’s too mean to fork out for flimflam on the cover. (Photo courtesy of ‘a friend’: thank you.)

‘Never judge a book by its cover’ – on the other hand, most browsers in bookshops have nothing but the cover to judge by. On the third hand, it’s what’s inside the cover that determines whether it’s going to stick around. You do what seems right for the book and then say, with Chaucer, ‘Go, litel bok . . . And red whereso thow be, or elles songe,/ That thow be understood, God I biseche!’

Or, with Robert Louis Stevenson:

‘Go, little book - the ancient phrase
And still the daintiest - go your ways,
My Otto, over sea and land,
Till you shall come to Nelly's hand.

How shall I your Nelly know?
By her blue eyes and her black brow,
By her fierce and slender look,
And by her goodness, little book!’

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