Friday, May 02, 2008

Do Travel Writers Go to Hell

A fascinating and funny read, even if (or maybe because) Thomas proves himself to be the self-involved and self-indulgent twat that he describes other people saying he is in the first chapters of the book.

And it raised all sorts of interesting issues for a publisher. What's fair return? Emma at our local bookshop made the point that eveybody wants the job of travel writer so you get paid peanuts - and that's just the deal. LP says they pay better than most. But if that is less than needed to get the job properly (as Thomas says) is that smart?

Thomas is perceptive an interesting about the evolutionary cycle of a company, especially a publishing company. He sees it an inevitability the growth from the "raw growing" " "clumsy teenager" of a company "not yet in full command of its newfound size and bulk" that still held it alternative and gutsy persona of its early years"when he wrote a Costa Rican guidebook to them in 2000 to what it has become today.

Maybe LP is now the perfect example of the industrialization of publishing described by Alberto Manguel in the City of Words, this year's CBC (that's Canadian) lectures.

His point about LP's influence on developing parts of the world maybe too much of a good thing echoes what Manguel is saying - the machine is more powerful than the intention of any of the parts.

Anyhow a recommended read from me (adults only).

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