In a Word . . . Book

Young people are not the only ones reading oddly titled books these days

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

The young couple sat across from each other, both absorbed in books. “Books! Young people reading books!” I said to myself, in silent shock.

Both appeared to be in their early 20s and seemed quite normal in other ways.

“Phones? Where are their phones?” I wondered, noticing a certain anxiety in my silent tones. Then I saw a phone on the table between them, face down in lonely abandonment.

Presumably another lay in a pocket somewhere. For it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single young person in possession of a phone must, if accompanied, be with a partner possessing another.

Once recovered I had to find out the titles of such compelling books. These were every bit as remarkable. His was How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog. Well, I never. But then, why would you?

I checked it on my, er, phone. “Will Kant [philosopher] convince Monty [dog] to stop stealing cheesecake? How long will they put up with Socrates [philosopher. Or dog?] poking holes in every argument,” read the blurb.

It continued, “Monty is not well ... And so towards the end the biggest questions raise their heads: is there a God?”

Or is that just dog spelled backwards?

Truly amazing. But, if it gets young people reading books (and newspapers) again, I’m all for it.

She was reading Wendy, who, Google told me, “is not the perfect girl her parents would like her to be”. Dear, oh dear. “One evening, confined to the nursery by her horrible nanny, she sneaks out to spy on one of her parents’ glamorous parties ... ” Uh, oh. Trouble ahead.

Young people are not the only ones reading oddly titled books these days. Distinguished professors do so too, as highlighted last month by UCD’s professor of archaeology, Aidan O’Sullivan, on Twitter.

He noted: “My UCD colleague David Farrell’s use of books to elevate laptop for Skype interviews is making them cult classics.”

The books included Why Does My Rabbit….?,Breaking Bad Habits in Parrots, Dr Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Cat Care, The Body Has its Reasons, Practical Magic, Abs on the Ball, Expand Your Memory, Mind Over Mood, and Commonsense Pilates. Quite the eclectic mix.

Prof Farrell is head of the school of politics and international relations at UCD. I wonder does he talk to the animals?

Book from Old English boc.

inaword@irishtimes.com

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