Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery
dr_pretentious

A Book Not To Buy

So there I was at Barnes & Noble, doing some research for the new Rugosa story: horological astrology, obsessive compulsive disorder, and the Jersey Devil. And I found a book on OCD that promised to be a complete guide to getting well and staying well. Up to the minute! shouted the jacket copy. Cutting edge! All the latest websites! The copyright date? Why, that would be 2000. Who, I wondered, spends $35 on a hardback that's eight years out of date? And then, flipping through the pages, I found the punch line.

About a third of the chapters were upside down and in reverse numerical order. No matter what the content of the book might have been, the physical object was like a warning about the hazards of recovering from OCD. Well people, non-obsessive people, let books go out into the world upside down, backward, piebald, and in dire need of a new edition. If that major university press only employed a proper complement of OCD sufferers, one of them would have been sufficiently fretful about what-ifs to think, The blurbs need to praise at least one thing about the book that will age well, if we're not planning to do a revised edition within the next few years. One of them would have caught the printing and binding problem before the books were shipped.
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