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BIG bad books

March 13, 2020

“I’m sorry,” but not “really sorry” about the decline of print media. In fact, when occasionally I hold a daily edition of the Washington Post, I’m quite happy to comprehend that this “rag” is diminished in size.

Same with broadcast television.

I seldom watch the local affiliates of ABC, NBC or CBS, nor am I saddened by the passing of Walter Cronkite or the world of “acceptable,” i.e. Liberal news he promulgated and called “objective.”

I read because I’m trained in political philosophy and, thus, I’m a writer of books and commentary in my field, and what I write about requires knowledge that I acquire by reading books. But the books I write–four thus far–are slim volumes.

Unfortunately, many of the books I read are BIG books consisting of 500-plus pages. Try holding any of those BIG books for any length of time and, well, you can’t.

Recently I read an economic political history of the United States from the New Deal to the Great Society of some 700 pages. I read an entire book titled “Great Society” (500-plus pages) and another on landscape and the environment.  That one was 670 pages long! And I read two enormous books about Henry Clay and the Whigs.

Come on. Is that necessary?  Aristotle created our concept of what is “right by nature” in a few paragraphs.

Now, I realize that theory is more compact than narrative history but surely these fellas can write more compactly, say, in 300 pages or even less?

Actually, this is problem with their “enablers,” editors and publishers. Most “editors” don’t understand what their authors are saying, so they permit them to ramble on and on and on.

Do publishers really think that a book priced at $49 that sells 3,000 copies is better than one that is 100 pages long priced at $12.95 that sells 20,000 copies? How many books do we need about gender, race or environmentalism?  Go to “Literary Marketplace” looking for an agent and you realize how stupid is the publishing profession.  From literary agents to editors to publishers, they are all mindful of the same things: gender, race and the environment.

How boring, especially when published in BIG books.

 

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