Nick Page

Now with 45% actual reading matter

I’m just reading a dauntingly large book on the historical Jesus. Although, when I picked it up it proved to be not quite as daunting as it first appeared. Of the 868 pages in the book, only 393 are the actual narrative: the rest is the other apparatus- indices, notes, bibliography, etc.

It’s very good, so I’m not going to name it, but this struck me as quite a low percentage of actual book, even by academic standards and I started to wonder if books shouldn’t have some indications of the ingredients on the cover. Something like those corn flake packets have on the side. (Incidentally, what is Riboflavin?) For this book, it would look like this.

I think this could really catch on for other books as well. Much more informative than a blurb. You could even start listing other things.

  • Ernest Hemingway – only 3% Adverbs.
  • Thomas Hardy – now with 95% gloominess!
  • Dan Brown – 0.01% intellectual fibre.

And you could clearly identify which books will make you intellectually fat and which books will improve your mental health.

All nominations welcomed.