My recent article on Active Reading and pineapples (aka ‘The Doors of Pineappleception’) was welcomed by the online community with an empty cheer; a wave of fierce indifference; a wall of deafening silence. No matter. I trust the world will come around to my way of thinking eventually. We trail-blazers are often misunderstood at first. One day my pioneering efforts will be recognised for what they really are.
Meantime, I notice that other writers have been treading, albeit in inferior footwear, on the same sort of track. Wagtail Books – a small publishing firm, unknown to me before last week – have just annouced a ‘series of short books examining the relationship between eating and reading’. First up, Casimir Edridge’s Proust and Parsnips, to be followed, shortly, by Katherine Alstrep’s Chekhov and Chocolate.
It is left to us to ponder precisely how these two books (and those that come later) will examine the relationship between eating and reading. Inclined as I am to moody cynicism, I can only imagine them skirting the surface of this ocean of possibilities. Perhaps I am wrong; perhaps these aren’t just quirkily titled, soulless scribblings, primed for the Christmas market. Perhaps Edridge really does explore the vast potential that lies in the subject of eating parsnips whilst reading Proust. We’ll have to wait and see.
There is, of course, one telling detail that might lead a reader to the belief that these books won’t be worth their while. And this is the fact that alliteration seems to have been the controlling factor when it comes to partnering the foodstuff with the relevant literature. Proust and Carrots simply would not do. It had to be Proust and Parsnips.
Should this make us suspicious? I am tempted to say ‘yes’ – but then, I too have a history of letting the boat of my work be steered by the rudder of silly rules. My first book, you may recall, was a comparison of novelists whose surname began with the letter ‘G’. Why the letter ‘G’? Why not? Sometimes it takes arbitary structures for us to see things afresh.