I Never Read Anything My Friends Haven't Written

Fresh from mistaking an electorate-wide swing towards John Howard for young people disproportionately swinging towards the Coalition (my critique, Larvartus Prodeo’s, Peter Brent’s), Caroline Overington has begun reviewing books she hasn’t read:

Now it’s happening again, with people such as the obnoxious Ryan Heath. Heath’s new book has an inelegant title: Just F* Off, It’s Our Turn Now. It’s aimed at all Australians and, to summarise the plot, Heath – who is all of 25 – says we’re all dead from the neck up and it’s no wonder that anybody with a brain chooses to leave.

I can’t be bothered to read it. On the other hand, there are books such as Away Game by the much more thoughtful Australian writer and journalist Luke Collins.

Full disclosure: I know Collins. For a while, we lived not far from each other in Manhattan and sometimes, when my husband was out of town, Collins would accompany me to work functions in New York.

This would never get past the editors at a quality newspaper like the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune or the Wall Street Journal, where journalists read books before they write about them, and promoting your friends’ books (with or without disclosure) is considered unprofessional.

Overington has written some good pieces in the past. I’m not sure what’s going on lately.

An aside: This wasn’t the only clanger in the weekend press, with the Sunday Age featuring a liftout colour magazine: "your guide to the games". It must have sent to the printers before Tuesday, since one of the lead articles was a profile of Ian Thorpe and his chances of success (written by Kieren Perkins).

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3 Responses to I Never Read Anything My Friends Haven't Written

  1. The Age had some lousy proofreading at the weekend as well, of which my favourite was ‘avant-guard’.

  2. Another hypothesis is that Ovington only reads what she writes herself.

  3. Sacha Blumen says:

    *laugh* That would make life easier, Mark – and one could develop one’s ideas completely independently of others thoughts – in splendid isolation.

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