Judging a book by its cover
Blogging has slowed down recently as I’ve returned to England for my granddad’s funeral (if you have e-mailed me, I will respond when I return to Germany in a few days). And while the reason for my return is a gloomy one, it is at least good to be see my corner of the UK again. Earlier today, I took my nephew to the local park to play on the swings. The area stands opposite my old secondary school (The Beacon) which was a sight that stirred many dubious memories.
But before I try to get poetic about my comings and goings in Ol’ Blighty, a bit of self-realisation: I popped in to a local Christian bookshop in the afternoon, and, as is my custom, piled up some ‘potential buy’ books before filtering them down to the one I eventually purchased (a half price copy of Celebrating Common Prayer).
Now apart from the fact that many of the books being sold in the shop caused me some consternation, as I whittled my books down I noticed something else rather alarming, namely I noticed how influenced I was by who was recommending the books with the blurb on the back cover. If Bauckham had his name on it, for example, I took notice. Or, if it was a scholar I generally disagree with, yet is more liberal, I kept the book for a second look - hungry to find out more. But if other big scholarly names were on the back, the book hardly stood a chance. More significantly, if the ‘big names’ were of the conservative variety, I really struggled to consider the book at all - even if I was attracted to the book itself. Why do I react like this, I wonder, especially as I am pretty conservative in some ways? One name in particular, one I think almost all my readers will know ... well he tends to just get me irritated, even though his work is of the highest academic quality. Yet I just can’t read his stuff anymore with wincing (go on, guess the name if you can!). Ergo, put his name on the back: bye-bye book. Cranky revisionist and foaming mouthed blathering Liberal mash I don't always agree with, I get. Conservative stuff I may have more in common with in terms of conclusions, wind me up. Figure that!