Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Table of contents

I am basically congenitally incapable of writing either graceful transitions or satisfying endings - I prefer to switch topics abruptly or just stop, as the case may be! I also prefer - see my post titling approach (not this one) - obliquity to articulating the obvious. But at the suggestion of my editor, I have given the chapters of the style book individual titles at the intersection between utility and personal taste....


I. The glimmer factor
Anthony Burgess’s 99 Novels

II. Lord Leighton, Liberace and the advantages of bad writing
Helen DeWitt, Harry Stephen Keeler, Lionel Shriver, George Eliot

III. Mouthy pleasures and the problem of momentum
Gary Lutz, Lolita, Lydia Davis, Jonathan Lethem

IV. The acoustical elegance of aphorism
Kafka, Fielding, Austen, Flaubert

V. Tempo, repetition and a taxonomy of pacing
Peter Temple, Neil Gaiman, A. L. Kennedy, Edward P. Jones

VI. Late style
The Golden Bowl and Swann’s Way

VII. Disordered sentences
Georges Perec, Roland Barthes, Wayne Koestenbaum, Luc Sante

VIII. Details that linger and the charm of voluntary reading
George Pelecanos, Stephen King, Thomas Pynchon

IX. The ideal bookshelf
The Rings of Saturn and The Line of Beauty

X. The bind of literature and the bind of life
Voices from Chernobyl, Bernhard, Knausgaard


  1. "Mouthy pleasures"! (I know of an ice-cream cone picture that would go wonderfully with this...)

    1. Yes! And really IMO the ideal cover for this book would be a very lovely photo or drawing of a perfect little pink glazed petit four on a bright blue background - but the tiny ice-cream would do very well too....