OK, it wasn’t ten years, but it sure feels like ten years. I had to pester and prod 40+ contributors and — despite having flunked math — that’s a lot of people. Then, of course, I had to try and cram in all human knowledge into 116 pages — no easy task, take my word for it. Not to mention a boatload of illustrations. All this material was piled sky-high on my desk and i had to sort through it all and ALPHABETIZE the entries! Imagine what a chore that was. But that was just the beginning…the goddamn thing had to be placed in the layout and made to look like it all made sense — had an inherent structure, justified typography, and cross references — even freaking footnotes!!
It should all have been proofread, too, but I didn’t have the time for that, thank you very much.
If anybody asks if you’d like to edit an encyclopedia…tell them to go to hell.
Oh, but don’t get me wrong…this is a book you’ll surely want to own and give as a gift. Heck, what better gift than the gift of knowledge, right?
You can order the book as we speak at this LINK … tell ’em Norman sent you.
On second thought, tell them Diderot. (Look him up.)
Already terribly successful in France (emphasis on terrible), a revised and expanded edition has just been rushed into print. Includes my signature, new footnotes, additional illustrations and other goodness. And at under $11 it’s a steal, so please steal it here.
My dear friend Alain Arias-Misson was on hand for a small launch party at the publisher’s home office at 75 Rue Saint Honoré. Alain was accompanied by the lovely writer Karen Moller and their good friend, the Oulipian wizard, Marcel Bénabou. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Alain and Marcel are at work on an oulipian interview which will appear in a future issue of Le Scat Noir)
UPDATE: “…I really feel constrained to say that my esteemed and notorious author-friend is as usual overly modest – it was most certainly not a small launch! Yes, the offices are quite small, so that not every member of the literary Parisian glitterati who wanted to get in – could. Norman Conquest has become something of a byword if not a shibboleth! in Anglo-French intellectual circles and I was daunted at having to say a few brief laudatory words, as much was expected! Well, in the end, all I can say is Bravo! and when is the American lit-establishment going to learn from Paris – as it did in the past with Joyce, Miller, Eliot, Hemingway and so many others.” — Alain Arias-Misson, Paris
I have yet to receive my author’s copies, but I hear it’s quite lovely. It has some nice illustrations by Stephan Evrard; a drawing by the late Georges Perec; and a preface by Derek Pell which, according to my editor Jason Steinholt, contains sufficient praise for a blurb or two. Speaking of blurbs, the publisher has sent a complimentary copy to Betsy DeVos (if that’s her real name)—admittedly it’s a long shot, but it would certainly be helpful to have the backing of the U.S. Secretary of Education. So, fingers crossed.
At the mention of Paris, I’m sure there’s panic among my followers, but don’t sweat it, the chapbook is in English. In fact, there’s only one sentence in French and if you can’t read it, so what? You’re not missing anything.
You can nab a copy for a mere ten bucks on Amazon now. If you want to see the subtitle CLICK HERE.
I can’t say much more about the book because I haven’t read it. Writing and reading are separate activities. Anyhow, the less said the better is my motto. Besides, it’s always wise to leave something to the imagination, assuming you have one, and since you’re reading this blog post it’s unlikely.
I will, however, give you a hint: the book is not about hats, mutants, marmosets, dwarves, ex-wives, Catholicism, meth labs, smartphones, or Donald Trump. Hmm, that rules out nearly everything except maths. Oh well, you’ll just have to take your chances .