One of the things I most miss in Italy is being able to browse around a book store. It’s just no joy when you can’t read lingua italia. So when we’re back here I’m forever killing the odd hour down at Waterstones or some local book shop. It’s sad I know but I could have worse (and probably more interesting) vices.
I’ve explained before that I’m not big into fiction – I’m a sucker for the books down the art/design/architecture section and unusual reference books. But last week I couldn’t help notice an alarming new trend that’s crept into the top 20 bestsellers section. Normally it contains a John Grisham and at least one Bill Bryson and…… at least 16 chick-lit titles which is a no-go area for me (I mistakenly had a browse through Wetlands recently and nearly passed out). But I couldn’t believe it when I noticed half the chick-lit had been replaced by something even worse DOG-lit!! Books and books about cute little dogs/cats and their sad owners.
I blame John Grogan the dufus who wrote Marley and Me – a charming and heart-rending tale about life with a pet labrador – the world’s worst dog (so my daughter tells me). It’s only sold 6 million copies to date and been turned into movie with uber chick Jennifer Aniston and that cute blond mop Owen Wilson. So now every half-assed writer in the western world has jumped onto bonzo bandwagon and produced copy-cat/dog versions like Dewey (‘the small town library cat who touched the world’ – umm sounds great) and Endal (‘how one extraordinary dog brought a family back from the brink’ – can’t wait) and then My Life with George ( ‘the inspirational story of how a wilful dog brought joy to a bereaved family’- where’s that knife?).
There are more but I can’t bear to go on to be honest. One of the simple pleasures in my life has been mired by a swathe of pet memoirs. I might just have to find another vice now…. of the two-legged variety.