The Ruin of Books and Sarcasm

Cover generator: https://nullk.github.io/penguin.html

Alex, who blogs on fantasy and science fiction at Spells and Spaceships and tweets as (at)BlogSpells, posted this fun tweet recently:

Create your YA novel title:

The _______ of ________ and _______

1) type of place you like travelling to most — forest, church, castle etc.
2) Last thing you held in your hand other than your phone
3) thing you’re most scared of

Mine, as you can see, came out as The Ruin of Books and Sarcasm which I fondly thought had the enigmatic feel of titles like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance.

I also used this cover generator to produce a suitably official-looking Penguin Classics title using a photo of part of a mural I saw in Bristol.

Here is a summary of the imagined blurb on the back cover, which may or may not encourage you to go out and buy it — virtually of course!


In 1984, the author took a sabbatical from his job as an indexer to research a famous biographer and historian who’d recently died. In the archive of her notebooks and papers he was astonished to discover she was preparing his own biography. Up till then he’d had no illusions that his life was anything but humdrum, ordinary and unworthy of note.

As he shifted through her clippings and jottings he found she’d painted a word portrait of him as an individual whose every word and deed had unimaginably far-reaching effects. This was the life-story of a man who’d inadvertently caused murders to be committed, injudicious political decisions to be made, markets to tumble — in other words, he’d been someone starting to change the course of world history, and he’d had absolutely no idea.

As he compares his ordinary life (as he sees it) with the biographer’s inexhaustible documentation and her critique of his actions he wonders at her obsessive chronicling and stockpiling of material — letters, emails, certificates, news clippings, photographs — and starts to think he’s noticed a note of derision and sarcasm creeping in.

There’s only one thing to do to get to the root of the matter — he has to start writing a biography of his would-be biographer and be as obsessive about her as she was about him. And she turns out to have even more secrets than he apparently had.


The Ruin of Books and Sarcasm is not published today, nor is it available from your nearest bookshop or the usual online retailers. It is not downloadable as an ebook nor read by a talented star of stage, screen or radio in audiobook format.

The author cannot be contacted via his agent for he has none, nor would any want to represent him. He also fails to maintain a Twitter or Facebook presence, and doesn’t have an author website or a dedicated page on a publisher’s site.

31 thoughts on “The Ruin of Books and Sarcasm

    1. Oh no, that was never on my mind, Alicia — but you’re right, what’s happening now one wouldn’t find credible if one read it in a novel, it’d be impossible to suspend disbelief!

      Like

    1. Perhaps it’s a kind of Sargasso Sea where all those yet-to-be-pulped unsold books end up, with birds hovering around looking for bookworms to hoover up? Or perhaps a ornithologists’ book fair on board a cruise liner?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I absolutely love this post! Was the blurb generated as well? I would totally read that book. Lovely cover as well. Me title would be “The Ship of Water and Lies” and the First Mate’s was “The Museum of Groceries and Needles.” Arrrr!
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, the blurb was generated in the twisted labyrinth of my brain, Captain, so I take full responsibility for that. But glad you’d read the ‘book’! ‘The Ship of Water and Lies’ is suitably enigmatic (a philosophy textbook?) but ‘The Museum of Groceries and Needles’ has all the requisites for a horror bestseller!

      Like

    1. Clearly a novel about social distancing while on vacation at a seaside or lakeside resort! Seriously though, I’m sorry you fear loneliness, Jeanne — the unsettled times we’re living in can only exacerbate such anxieties.

      Like

    1. Hah! That social media disclaimer was down to my alter ego! I use FB sparingly, mainly for family and my immediate community, but a fair bit of tweeting goes on, mostly on book-related matters with some exasperated rants about current affairs (the latter a real time-twizzler about truth-twisters).

      But I suspect Mr Alter Ego let loose a lot of info on social media for his ersatz biographer to plunder, maybe some of it on a notorious social media platform called WordPress…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, wonderful! I hope there will be a sequel…

    Mine would be The Village of Mugs and Daddy-Long-Legs – not sure I could do a blurb but I’m pretty sure it would have to be a horror story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All these suggestions for oddball titles — I can see I shall have to write another post with blurbs and covers, courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics and Penguin Classics! And such a range of genres too: absurdist, philosophy, epicurean, and now horror… 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HA! Okay, are we not allowed to talk about how you’re most afraid of sarcasm? Better not let you anywhere near my relations, then, as that’s all they’ll speak some days. 🙂 (You even got me thinking of this sketch Canadian comedians Kids in the Hall did about sarcasm– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9vunDdxWLA) Honestly, everything about this book sounds brilliant and perfect for these days, and you should just write it! At least an occasional chapter or two to share with us…pretty please? xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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