Warning - This post may appear to contain gratuitous swearing (foul language, cursing, call it what you will). However - on this occassion I hope you will forgive me as I have a legitimate excuse. As in the words are not originally mine. All will become clear.
I have recently had to apologise to someone behind a till and tell them that the words on the cover of one of the books I wished to purchase were not directed at him.
Apparently the author (a Matt Potter) had even more fun trying to publicise it on Radio 4 (cannot say the full title - just asterisks) and on the Andrew Neil programme on TV - he couldn't say the full title but had the title on full display).
I must admit - the title is what hooked me originally. You could say it was direct and to the point. However, the title didn't tell you what the book was about - you had to read the subtitle for that.
"F**k you and goodbye" may not be everybody's idea of a nice title for a book but at least it got my attention enough to make me pick it up and browse through it. (I admit the larger title kind of swamped the subtitle of "The dark and hilarious history of the Resignation Letter" until I actually picked the book up.)
If you want to interest me in something which I may find difficult to understand or may not be interested in to start with - go for a strange title. I am just sad that the people who design the curriculums for schools haven't quite grasped that idea yet. Jazz the subjects up by giving them interesting names and you would be halfway to success.
What you have to do next (which Mr Potter managed easily) is make me feel like I am living the book as I read it. As well as make me want to read it non-stop from cover to cover.
He covered a wide variety of resignation letters - ranging from wordy ones from ex-politicians (as well as giving a juicy peice of information about George W Bush's earlier career), through one Native American Chief, to some other people who would not have been interesting had it not been for their resignation letter. In fact, the main title from the book is actually copied from a resignation letter.
His explanations managed to avoid the "Art Historian" way of explaining things (ie, trying to put the early resignation letters into modern contexts and tell us what we are supposed to think about them). Instead he let us think for ourselves.
The book was written in a conversational style (which I like most of all in a non-fiction book) and easy to read.
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