Anne Fernald, an English professor at Fordham, has spent 10 years — that’s right, a full decade — working on a scholarly edition of the Virginia Woolf novel “Mrs. Dalloway” … and she’s not even done yet.
Mind you, she’s not writing a novel. Virginia Wolf wrote it in 1925. All she is doing is annotating it with footnotes.
When I read about this in the 3/31/14 issue of The Christian Science Monitor, I had 2 immediate reactions.
First, 10 years to annotate an already written book? Seriously?
And second, who on the planet aside from a few scholars and Woolfaholics would read what sounds to be a really boring book like that?
I ask because there is a broader question: With so many books on just about every conceivable topic under the sun already out, should you and I even bother to write yet another book on one of these subjects?
For instance, it almost causes me physical pain when someone sends me a new marketing book with a request to review … because I know without looking that, with rare exception, it’s just the same old thing already done to the death in hundreds of other books.