One of my more obscure books, Interdisciplinarity, has just been published in a second edition. Since it’s currently 732,853 in the Amazon rankings, I don’t suppose it will trouble their movers and shakers list. Still, it’s nice to get a second go at something and it made me think of John Clare’s cri-de-coeur – ‘If life had a second edition, how I would correct the proofs!’ - and these words from Wislawa Symborska:
I’m working on the world,
Revised, improved edition,
Featuring fun for fools,
Blues for brooders,
Combs for bald pates,
Tricks for old dogs.
It’s a common cry of children: I did that wrong, that go didn’t count, could we start again please? No, you can’t. On this blog, we’re naturally suspicious of the notion that you can go through your life with a blue pencil and take out the typos. There are no second acts in everyday lives. But if you’re really good they might ask you to write a new conclusion to a book you wrote 8 years ago and stick a new cover on it.
Talking of Amazon, this has to be the strangest piece of data mining ever, received in my inbox last week:
Greetings from Amazon.co.uk. We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated The Damned Utd by David Peace have also purchased The Cambridge Companion to J.M. Synge by P. J. Mathews. For this reason, you might like to know that The Cambridge Companion to J.M. Synge is now available.
Note the plural of ‘customers’. This isn’t just a random person out there who happens to be interested in a novel about Brian Clough and an Irish playwright. Quite independently of each other, customers (plural) are buying this strange combination of books. Who are these people and why are they doing this?
Mundane quote for the day: ‘I went to the suburbs because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what they had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted the order that other people seemed to have, the non-apophenic order of a normal life … Surbiton. Shorthand for a place that almost existed, a simplified world of autumn leaves and buses and a house in a side street where a man could live clean and true.’ – John Burnside, Waking Up in Toytown