Wednesday, February 28, 2007

what we have in our window


we have a number of desirable titles currently on display to passers by but the one that pushes the most buttons for me is 'City of Laughter- Sex and Satire in eighteenth century London' by Vic Gatrell. Who is Vic Gatrell? - I've no idea, well not until I read the flyleaf of this book. Have I read this book? - no. How then can I recommend it?? - here's how

'The most sumptuous and beautiful history book in years' Stella Tillyard, Sunday Times

'Rarely has a book matched its subject better than ''City of Laughter: sex and Satire in Eighteenth Century London'' Those times were gargantuan and teeming with life, and so is Vic Gatrell's 695-page, richly illustrated work' George Walden, Bloomberg.com

'City of Laughter is an overfowing cornucopia of a book, stuffed with illustrations, rippling with stories, packed with characters, ripe with quotations, rich with insights and arguments..magnificent.' Jenny Uglow, Financial times

etc etc

If Jenny Uglow says that, and as the author of 'Hogarth, a Life and a World' she can do no wrong, it's more than good enough for me.

If you think this rings a bell but can't place why perhaps it's because 'City of Laughter..' came out last October but, I think, the first print run sold out almost instantly, just after these reviews came out. Sadly our- and probably most shops, initial order was way too small (ours was: for some unknown reason we only ordered one copy!!!) hence a small print run.
I am told the reprint was done in China and so did not arrive until after Christmas. The publishers saved, I guess, around 50% in publishing costs but must have lost more than that in Christmas sales- equally there may have been no nearer press that could do such a heavily illustrated book in such short notice. (This doesn't explain why the one I am holding still claims to be a first edition)

Anyway credit where it is due Atlantic have produced a wonderful but pricey book (£35) and had the guts to reprint it after Christmas. I think it looks great and, still feeling pangs of guilt for our crappy first order, have done what we should have done all along- taken 30 copies and put it in our window.

p.s we are asked why we don't have pictures in our blogs- mostly because I and computers are a bit of an oxymoron but this time it's to make anyone reading this to leave their desks and go to a shop, hopefully ours but any will do, and have a proper look at this book.
we don't put just anything in our window you know- well not this time

julian

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