steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Why Only Children's Books?

Fresh from the furore about age-banding on children's books, I want to take this opportunity to register my protest at the proposals to put Guidance Symbols on books for adults. Ostensibly this is to help those customers purchasing books as gifts – for Father’s Day, for example – who may need help in finding a suitable title. However, I can’t help feeling that, laudable as the intention is, it’s bound to backfire.

For those of you who haven’t heard about this yet, I’ve managed to obtain part of the draft press release from the Publishers Association, so you can see the kind of thing they have in mind. I’m afraid I used the bottom half as a shopping list, but this should give you the idea.

The Dripping Scimitar. Do you enjoy reading about war and violence? Mayhem is guaranteed in books with the Dripping Scimitar symbol. So go on... indulge your bloodlust! Maybe it's not PC, but it’s better than bottling it all up and then going out and doing something really terrible, isn’t it?
Present - arms! Are you a Dripping Scimitar? Then you may enjoy: Homer, Jack Higgins, Leo Tolstoy, Kate Adie.

The Teapot. This will indicate a realist novel, mostly about women and womeny things. Lots of chat, and little action. Well, maybe some slightly traumatic incident right at the beginning, but that’s your lot. The other 300 pages will be spent working out the emotional consequences.
Shall I be mother? Are you a Teapot? Then you may enjoy: Jane Austen, Joanna Trollope, Virginia Woolf, Germaine Greer.

The Blackberry. This is for people who like to read about money, politics and big business. Welcome to a world where lunch is for wimps, red braces are for snapping, bear markets are for baiting, and the devil take the hindmost!
Don’t put them on hold! Are you a Blackberry? Then you may enjoy: Jeffrey Archer, Machiavelli, David Mamet, Anthony Trollope.

The Question Mark. Books with the Question Mark symbol appeal to those of us who like a mystery. Is there something they’re not telling us? Something they’d stop at nothing to prevent us from finding out? Want to know what? For under a tenner? From a dump bin at your local Borders? You’ve come to the right place!
The truth is out there... Are you a Question Mark? Then you may enjoy: Nostrodamus, Agatha Christie, Dan Brown, Martin Handford.

Desunt Caetera
Tags: books
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