If it’s good enough for Paine…

Throughout my bookish life, I have tried and failed several times to read various non-fiction books. It turns out I just don’t have the stamina for it.

Here’s the issue: they just don’t need to be book length. For example, I am currently sweating through Guns, Germs, and Steel, which claims to explain differences in the technological development in various societies throughout history. I just read a whole damn chapter on wild almonds. Sorry, but the sentence “some wild plants lent themselves to cultivation better than others” would have suited me just fine. I have a feeling that when I reach the final page I will wonder why the author didn’t just write a five paragraph essay.

I move we bring back the pamphlet. Go ahead and spend your adult life proving something — just boil it down to the essentials for me. Thirty pages tops. And I know you think you have already, that you’ve tearfully stripped untold pages of vastly important details on the mating habits of horseshoe crabs which your editor told you the unwashed plebs just wouldn’t be able to handle. Your editor is right. Trim that puppy down, no matter how a good thick book looks on a library shelf.

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