Monday, January 31, 2011
A friend gave me a book a few days ago called Seriously Funny, by Adrian Plass and Jeff Lucas. I'm a Plass fan from way back, and think he's done the Christian community a great deal of good over the years in terms of getting them to laugh at themselves and not take themselves so seriously.
When I ran the bookshop I met him a couple of times - he's toured New Zealand with his wife at least twice - and he's very down to earth, quite shy in a way and, of course, not especially funny in conversation - as humorous writers/speakers often aren't.
Anyway, I began to read this book and discovered it consists of a series of letters between Plass and Lucas, and I thought: I'm sure I've read this before, except it had a different title. And I got niggled that the publishers should put out the book as though it was brand new, and had never been published before, and that Lucas should be appearing in a promo on You Tube saying that they'd just come up with this idea.
Checked the Internet. No sign of a previous book by Plass and Lucas. Felt quite irritated. Said to my wife that it really bugs when publishers pretend they haven't published something before, especially under a different title. (It has happened: we once ordered in a stock of books by a well-known author, thinking that it was a new title, and would be very popular with his readers, only to find out that they English publishers had given it a different title to the American publishers, and carefully not told anyone.)
Got home tonight, was reading the book again, and it suddenly clicked that I had a copy of the earlier version on my shelves. Searched, and there it was!
Except it wasn't. The earlier book is called You Say Tomato; it's by Adrian Plass and Paul McCusker; it's fictional, and, apart from being a series of letters, is nothing like the new book.
Oh, dear. The lights were on but no one was home, as they say.