Following a most eloquent review of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein on Squib's page I sullied the comments section venting my annoyance that the monster of said novel is often mistakenly referred to as 'Frankenstein'. Frankenstein is of course the nut-bar doctor who creates the monster, and the monster is the monster, neck bolts, murderous intent, poetry and all.
This widespread monster/Frankenstein confusion has led to many hours blathering on to people who have much better things to do than listen to me blather on about the monster/Frankenstein confusion, so for the good of the human race (or the small part of it forced by social convention to share a table with me at the pub) I thought I'd vent, once and for all, my Top Five Book Related Irritations. I promise from now on I'll only talk about these with my imaginary friends using my internal voice.
Book Related Irritation Number 1 As above - The Frankmeister and the monster: Sometime in the nineteenth century a clever clogs called Mary Shelley went on holidays to Switzerland with a bunch of chums including Byron and Shelley (her squeeze). They hung out at a delightful mansion-type place, and spent the evenings telling ghost stories, drinking mead and playing Truth or Dare. Over the hols this clever clogs Mary Shelley wrote a novel starring a doctor, a Dr Frankenstein, who pilfers graves and sticks all sorts of body parts together to make a 'monster'. This story is called Frankenstein; Frankenstein is the doctor, the monster is the monster.
You (as I) have a moral obligation to hit anyone who gets them confused over the head with a wheel of cheese.
Book Related Irritation Number 2 Quotations in other languages: I'm fully aware that I am linguistically impoverished and am ashamed that I can only speak English, but to all those multi-lingual academics out there, it's not very nice to rub your gargantuan language stores in my ashamedly uni-lingual face with quotations in other languages.
Let's say we're all happily reading a journal article about the cultural significance of intersections between Jane Austen and twentieth century views on cultural materialism. Is it really necessary to break into:
A closer semiotic analysis will show, as Foucault states, that: "Le Francais yibbity yibbity croissant yabbity yabbity en baguette yappity yappity Je suis ici pour."This is almost always followed by something along the lines of: "Now that we understand Foucault's argument, let us move on". Screw you, snobby multi-lingual writerly types.
Book Related Irritation Number 3 Pages of praise at the start of books: I love a good book as much as the next kettle and I'd be stoked if, say, Graham Greene were to endorse any book I penned ("An intricate and delightful novel," say), but did Louise Erdrich's Tracks have to have 10 pages of praise? The guy who discovered penicillin didn't get 10 pages of praise.
Book Related Irritation Number 4 Series: Series should be banned, or else there should be a universal rule that says the first book in a series cannot be published until the author of the series has finished every book intended to be in the series. Has Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series even reached the half way point yet? Bah, reading series is like joining the army: an unnecessarily painful and drawn out experience.
Book Related Irritation Number 5 The magic bean: Every book-type festival or launch I've ever been to has inevitably led to a Q and A session which is fine until we get to The Question, which is always some variation of: "How do you, [insert celebrity author here], write?"
Sometimes the question focuses on the weight and grain of the paper the writer uses, or type of pen, or the angle of the sun that comes into the writer's writing room in winter, or whether the writer drinks tea while writing, and if the writer feels the position of the handle of his or her tea cup has any bearing on whether he or she writes comedy or tragedy, and whether the time the mail is delivered or the whether the writer grows vegetables or decorative plants in his or her garden makes any difference to the likelihood of getting published, and etc.
If you ever hear anyone asking one or all of these questions at a book event, please pour your drink in their lap then hit them on the head with your wheel of cheese. You have a moral obligation to do so.
Ah, that feels much better. I invite you to share any book related irritations you've been harbouring; it's very therapeutic. I've got my wheel of cheese ready to whack who or whatever irks you.