Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Books Written for Strictly Private Consumption

Just back from a week-long editorial meeting in the mountains of Tuscany with a distinguished international investment banker, who is now a resident of Monte Carlo.

The banker is writing his memoirs but, unlike most memoirists, he has no desire whatsoever to see his book on the bestseller lists. This is a strictly private affair, just a few copies to be produced for his grandson and other descendants to stumble across and pore over in the future. It is the literary equivalent of having a portrait painted for posterity.

With so many of us currently obsessed with tracing our family histories I’m guessing this is a trend which will grow. I have an Ancestry Addict in the family and I can imagine just how excited she would be to stumble across a privately published book of this nature commissioned by one of her ancestors a century or two ago. A full length book can go into a far greater level of detail than virtually any other accessible medium, while providing a thing of beauty to look at and hold in the future.

The grandson in question was also in the mountains with us and, unsurprisingly at eighteen months of age, showed no interest whatsoever in tales of his illustrious ancestors. In forty or fifty years time, however, the book will still be in his library and available to enlighten him on his colourful family past.

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