Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Bea Arthur: A Novel

Don't you want to slap authors who add " : A Novel" after their titles? Hearts: A Novel. Orchard: A Novel. Who are you helping here? The guy who restocks the shelves? It's sitting next to six hundred other novels. It's not my fault your horribly unoriginal cover doesn't convey what kind of book it is (it's probably a picture of a building, a road, an empty beach or a photo of you, isn't it?). It's a book in the Fiction section! Picking the thing up and flipping through it, which I'll have to do anyway if I'm going to buy it, will tell me if it's an anthology or a picaresque. If you shaped the book, say, like the Himalayas, disguising the pages as 1,000 meter-tall sheets of ice and rock, then, then I might need you to label it " : A Novel." I'd be quite surprised. I'd probably buy two, for stocking stuffers. But not your 250-page paperback of My Doves: A Novel in the middle of the Fiction section. It doesn't even say, "Checkpoint: A Good Novel," or, "Company: A Novel That Has Some Shortcomings, But There's a Really Clever Ending." Even culinary anti-artists like candy companies put more on their bags than, "Oreos: A Cookie." Given, they do have a more compelling product than most literary authors, but still. It's the principle of the thing, and novels are about the principle of the thing. How am I supposed to trust you with the English language for hundreds of pages when you're wasting words right on the cover? Strunk and White frown, madame. You know what I'd like to do someday? Drive past one of those capital offenders' houses and huck a stone with a note on it through her window. The note would read " : A Rock. "

1 comment:

  1. This has always been one of my favorites. I think it's a classic.


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