Because the books that might possibly be competing with my book have mostly all arrived from Amazon.
One was too short and had the same historical info I've seen in many other rose books; one had a big slant toward interior decoration; one was too old but still a good source; and one ...
... well, one was published in March 2006 and does many of the same things I had planned to do. And he got his MS checked over by Graham Thomas, the rosarian god, before he (Thomas, not the author) died. And he got David Austin, rose hybridizer god, to write the foreword.
*throws self in river*
But on the bright side, this guy is dry as heck and he does cover a lot of stuff I'm not as interested in. And I cover some things he doesn't, including the search for a blue rose.
But I was really dissatisfied with this book, and wondered why. Then I got out Robert Reddell's Rose Bible, which I love love love, and I set these two books down side-by-side, and started thinking about why one book works and one doesn't (for me, that is).
Reddell's writing is lively. The text is broken up on the page with subheads. White space is used to good effect in this book. The pages are large and generous, while the others' pages seem small (and also illustrations had no margins whatsoever, making the other book feel chintzy -- not the author's fault, but just poor design). Also, Reddell's book has these huge, luscious pictures of roses in full bloom, and I keep finding myself wanting to kiss the page. I really love the pics. The pics make me want these roses bad (though I still don't want them bad enough to actually create a rose garden in my yard -- still jaded -- but this resistance to gardening has been fading lately).
So: what if I lean more toward Reddell's model? Let's get pics. And let's get lively text. I was thinking about including many sidebars in my book. Why not small articles? Talk to a rose breeder (I'd like to talk to Carruth about that!) about what rose breeding *really* entails, and tie it to the explosion of rose breeding in France after Josephine got things rolling. Talk to a plant archeologist, or whatever you call them, about roses in ancient cultures. Let's not just pull facts from a book, but let's talk to people, make the information come alive.
But I have my work cut out for me. I'm going to have to restructure my chapter setups. But the sample chapter about the search for the blue rose is something this guy didn't even touch, so that's good.
I'd like to get the danged thing out this week. I can't keep them waiting on me much longer.
On the i-Pod -- "Sentimental Lady" by Bob Welch
Then "Lebanese Blonde" by Thievery Corporation (thanks, Tracy)