Ah, dear readers, when last I posted I was a poor, poor graduate student, but now I am a rich member of the new media revolution. For you see, bumping around in the Yale mail system over the holidays was a present for me from one of you, the first wages that I’ve earned doing this blogger thing. It is a book with a fan letter attached. According to the back cover, it cost $14.00. And according to the letter, the fan wanted to express his appreciation for my review of Kingdom of Heaven from some months back, which means that I made about $30 an hour for writing it. This is a pay scale I highly approve of.*
But I’m afraid to say, dear readers who did not write the book The Last Duel, that the largesse of the reader who did write that book really makes you look bad. You haven’t sent me anything in the mail. And you may not have written a book, either. So you look twice as bad.
My wife suspects that the man who wrote the book sent it to me so that I would plug it on my blog. And if that is the case, then all of you look thrice as bad. Not only have you fallen down on the book-writing and (much more important) gift-giving jobs, you also haven’t come up with any good guerrilla marketing campaigns lately, either. Really, the longer I write this, the worse things go for you. I should stop.
But I feel compelled to at least write a few kind words about the book. I will not write lots of kind words, because the author did not send me the hardback copy or autograph it, so I have to keep the fan letter inside it so that when I leave it lying around casually on my coffee table it will fall out and reveal to my friends how I get fan letters.
Begin kind words now: The book is 242 pages long, including index, and has a map of Paris in 1380 on the eighty-fifth of those pages–but there are twelve un-numbered pages up front, so adjust your page totals accordingly. ** If you are planning a trip to Paris, you may find that some things have changed, so it’s probably best to buy a separate map. I recommend the popout variety. According to the back cover, which is about all I read of any book anyway, the book is “a gripping, atmospheric true story,” so I expect that the troposphere plays some role at some point. Or maybe ozone. You never can tell. The hardback edition of The Last Duel will look very nice on your shelf next to The Last Knight, The Last Templar, and The Last Templar. And whatever book I decide to write to cash in on The Last trend. Possibly, it will be called, The Last Trend. I will definitely send the author of The Last Duel a hardback copy of whatever it is.
According to the fan letter, the book has been turned into a BBC documentary which will be airing soon. Check your local listings. This fact actually makes me burn with jealousy of the author, as the last thing I wrote was a chapter of my thesis, and I’m pretty sure that the BBC isn’t going to turn that into a documentary any time soon.
End kind comments. Now, readers, let me close by offering you a shot at redemption. It’s not too late to feel the holiday spirit. And it’s never too early to start shopping for Christmas 2006. All gifts should be sent to:
That Guy What Has That Blog***
Center for Medieval Studies
New Haven, CT 06520
*Of which I highly approve, for you grammar snobs out there.*
**Oh, and while counting up the pages to make that smartass joke, I just discovered that he did autograph it, just not where I autograph books. So don’t I look like a jackass now? Too bad this is the Internet and I can’t go back and edit my pages. For the record, the inscription says: “With many thanks and all best wishes! –Eric Jager 11/05.”
***Actually, you probably should disguise the to: line by using my real name, which I’ve cleverly hidden at the top of this page. I live in fear of the day my DGS discovers I’ve got a blog. He’s Swedish, and more like the Swedish Chef**** than a Viking, but you never know when he’s going to grab a pointy hat and an axe and just lose it.
****Fun fact: In Sweden, the Swedish Chef is called the Norwegian Chef. And if you mention the Swedish Chef to your Swedish DGS, he will stare down at you witheringly. He is very tall, your Swedish DGS.