A Bone of Contention with Mr. Clive James

I have a bone to pick with a Mr Clive James. Could someone give Mr James a hoy and let him know he needs to get back out there and promote his books. I have a whole row of them on my literary fiction shelf and am loath to give him away. Was it really the 1980s when he was all the rage on television and his books were all best sellers? I know I read and enjoyed his autobiographical books but something lurking inside me says I hated his fiction and only read the first few pages of one I was given one Christmas. (I willingly admit to having a pedestrian taste in books.)

Anyhow it’s now or never. I know I had his books second rowing behind the Johanna Lindsey historical romances but it is no excuse. If anyone had shown the slightest interest I would have had them on display like a shot. The one time someone asked for the only one they wanted it was the only one I didn’t have.

I do recall reading that Mr James was christened Vivien and because of the Vivian Leigh controversy, and I mean controversy in that Vivien all of a sudden was a girl’s name, Mr James had the choice of Tyrone or Clive for a more suitable first name. I also recall Mr James recounted how he did the going to England to make his fortune thing as a young man, actually despite the 20 odd years since I read that book (and I didn’t peek I promise) I remember quite a bit of that book so it must have had a certain something. I’m not going to spoil if for anyone else here who might decide they need to know more about Mr Clive James.

A regular customer of mine just popped in and said that Mr James is now famous for doing the tango, I have a bad is Mr James now Dancing with the Stars kind of feeling. I am not going to Google and find out. Does doing the tango mean that no-one will ever want to read Clive James again or do I need a Dancing with the Stars section in the shop. It could go next to the Oprah Winfrey book club sections, so I can keep that general television related theme happening.

In reality I will put some of Mr James’s books more prominently in the real literary fiction section and a couple in my Australian authors section and list some on line. You have three months Mr James or it is the $1 trolley for you.

I also have eight as new copies of A Guide to Australian Cheese. This book was published in 1971, did Jock (the previous owner) have a penchant for Australian Cheese or were they cunningly hidden at the bottom of a box at a book auction? I think at one stage I had nine copies but my cousin who has a wine shop in Tampa Florida was over and I palmed about 10kgs of Australian wine and cheese books off to him (gratis, of course) . Actually I did a runner from a family wake and cleaned off a shelf of books and took them back to him. It was sincere condolences and here, have some wine and cheese books.

The conclusion here is that, just like the hula hoop and the yoyo, books go in and out of fashion. I do recall having fifteen copies of Catcher in the Rye I thought I would never sell so am living in hope.

Perhaps I could do a buy one get one free promotion, Cheese and Clives, so to speak.

Therese Holland
McLeods Books