Friday, November 21, 2008

Buy a book for Christmas

Just don't buy me this one ...

One of the perks of being a journalist who loves reading (you know, there are journalists who don’t read, odd as it sounds) is that publishers send you titles to review. Sometimes though, I’d rather they didn’t, as in the case of this new release, The Girlfriend's Guide to Rugby.

It’s a bit like those idiot’s guides you get, and tries to lure unsuspecting girlfriends into learning more about the manly game so they can spend happy times watching the chaps play with odd-shaped balls.

“We've squeezed in a final title for the year, we couldn't resist it, it is the perfect stocking filler” blurbled the Johannesburg pee-ar in her e-mail from the publishing house.

I know they sell all sorts of absurd titles at Christmas to those who don’t have a clue what to buy their loved ones but this is just so patronising. Just as you never hear of a guy being asked how he juggles fatherhood and a career, I don’t think we’re likely to get a matching series of Boyfriend’s Guide to ... titles.

Here are a few the opposite sex could do with though: The Boyfriend’s Guide to Ballet, The Boyfriend’s Guide to Baking and The Boyfriend’s Guide to Leg Waxing. Let’s add in a couple that might even conceivably be useful: The Boyfriend’s Guide to Shopping, The Boyfriend’s Guide to TV Remote Etiquette and The Boyfriend’s Guide to Chocolate.

What can we expect next? If this stupid title sells, we may be bombarded with flurries of PR bumf on titles such as Girlfriend's Guide to Cricket or Girlfriend's Guide to Soccer – especially with World Cup fever starting to rise. Heaven forbid, there are so many formerly obscure sports on TV all the time that the list could go on and on.

Even if Girlfriend's Guide to Rugby had heaps of pics of a sweaty Schalk Burger without his shirt on, and lovingly framed close-ups of Bryan Habana’s lips, it would still have limited appeal to womankind.

And if my beloved dares to try and slip this under the Christmas tree with my name attached, it’s not a stocking that will get stuffed.

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