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Pet peeve

Posted by David Mehegan  March 19, 2008 12:04 PM

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Since time out of mind, biographical sketches of authors have appeared on the inside back flap of book jackets: what they have written, what they have done, marital status and number of kids, where they live. In recent years, I have noticed the exceedingly odd custom of including, and enumerating, pets and animals.

This week, for example, Germaine Greer's new book about Ann Hathaway Shakespeare, "Shakespeare's Wife," has arrived. With no prejudice against author or book, which I have not read, I nonetheless register my puzzlement at the last sentence of the flap copy: "She lives in northwest Essex [England] with two dogs, thirteen geese, and a fluctuating number of doves." Rummaging through the book pile this morning, I also find a novel called "Ellington Boulevard," by Adam Langer, who, we are told, "lives on Manhattan's Duke Ellington Boulevard with his wife, daughter, dog, and a pair of pigeons who roost on his air conditioner."

If I ever publish a novel, I think I will write on the flap copy, "He lives near Boston with his wife, several grudges, various demons, six mice in the wall behind the cupboard, and an undetermined number of eyelash mites."

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1 comments so far...
  1. The inclusion, and enumeration, of pets in authors' book-flap bios is an attempt to make authors seem like just nice lovable folks. Publicists want not only likable characters in novels but also likable authors. I'm glad to see that you've resisted. Eyebrow mites! We all have them--unless we shave our eyebrows. A possibility for an author bio: so and so has shaved her eyebrows to rid herself of eyebrow mites.

    Posted by Miriam Levine March 22, 08 08:57 AM
 
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