Monday, July 02, 2007

Lunchtime read: Scoop

It is difficult finding examples of books that are written about your profession that are an enjoyable read. There are various reasons for this including the most obvious that it makes you feel like a failure reading them; then there can be the feeling that what you should avoid doing is having a busman’s holiday; but the most concerning point is that far too often the only good professions to write about are police, private detectives and murderers (not sure that’s a profession – more a vocation).

Being a journalist by day and a tired journalist by night I’m hoping that the reputation of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop will mean it can be added to Michael Frayn’s Towards the End of the Morning as a good example of using a newspaper as a setting.

Highlights from the first two chapters

Chapter One
John Boot, an author who has travelled the world a bit, asks a well-connected friend Lady Stitch to get him a job abroad so he can get away from some female trouble for a while. She convinces a friend who is editor of a national newspaper that Boot would be the ideal person to cover a war that has broken out in Ishmaelia. The foreign editor is charged with hiring Boot and scans down the staff list and comes across William Boot who does a column about the country.

Chapter two
William Boot is waiting for the worst because a column he produced on badgers was changed by his sister to be about the Crested-Glebe so when he receives the telegram he heads off to London with a heavy heart. After the confusion about why he is there has been cleared up he is threatened with the sack unless he goes on the trip to Ishmaelia.

More tomorrow…

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