July 23, 2015 by libroshombre
So tell me: Who wrote the book of love? You might say the 1950s doo-wop group, the Monotones, the “one-hit wonders” who did indeed write a song by that title, but you’d be mistaken. They were inspired by the Pepsodent commercial jingle that ended with “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.” And the “boom” in the line, “Tell me, tell me who-doo-doo-doo-doo, (boom): who wrote the book of love,” originated with a neighbor kid who kept rhythmically kicking a ball against the wall of the garage the band was rehearsing in.
Some might claim that the courtier Andreas Capellanus, AKA Andrew the Chaplin, wrote the book of love when around 1185 he penned “De Arte Honesti Amandi,” or “The Art of Honorable Loving,” for the Countess Marie de Champagne. They’d be mistaken, too. According to Andrea Hopkins’ “The Book of Courtly Love: the Passionate Code of the Troubadours,” Capellanus listed many rules governing proper love, such as “Love that is made public rarely lasts” and “A small supposition compels a lover to suspect his beloved of doing wrong.”
The Roman poet Ovid wrote the first book of love, or at least, the first best-seller on the topic. His “Ars Amatoria,” of “The Art of Love,” written in 2 A.D., contains three books. Where the Monotones suggested “In chapter one you love her; you love her with all your heart,” Ovid’s first book focused on how men can find the right woman. The Monotones’ second chapter, “you tell her, you’re never-never-never-never-never gonna part,” was countered by Ovid’s book two: how to keep her. For example, he suggested things like “not forgetting her birthday” and “letting her miss you, but not for too long.” And while the Monotones recommend breaking up, but then giving her one more chance, Ovid’s third book is aimed at advising women how to keep their men, including “making up in private” after tiffs.
No one’s above making occasional mistakes. Experience,” as Oscar Wilde pointed out, “is simply the name we give our mistakes.” I garnered more experience last week by submitting an old draft of last week’s column to the News Miner instead of the corrected and improved version. Perhaps you didn’t notice, but to me it seemed glaringly disjointed and error-ridden, thanks to me. You can see the intended version at HillofBooks.org, my blog-o-columns where articles previously published in the News Miner live forever, along with explanatory illustrations.
Librarians and journalists make mistakes, too. Washington Post correspondent Michael Rosenwald’s recent article in our local newspaper, “Libraries Check Out the Future of Less Paper, More Pixels,” looked at how shrinking library budgets are forcing them to buy fewer print books and more digital books. “Libraries have to evolve or die,” said the director of a large Maryland public library system. “We’re probably the classic example of Darwinism.” I don’t believe libraries equate with blacksmiths. What about the enduing popularity of print, and how reading print and digital books are very different experiences?
Deloitte, the international financial consulting firm, predicted earlier this year, “that in 2015 print will represent more than 80 percent of all book sales in dollars worldwide. In the US, the world’s largest book market, the figure is lower at just under 80 percent, but the percentage of print is higher in other developed world countries, and even more so in the developing world. A decade on from the launch of the eReader, print still dominates book sales even in markets with high digital device penetration – and print will likely generate the majority of books sales for the foreseeable future. Sales of eBooks have hit a plateau, or seen decelerating growth, in major markets including the US, UK and Canada.”
A little more research and less fear-mongering seems applicable. My self-inflicted setbacks certainly pain me, but librarians saying print’s on the way out is short-sighted and ill-informed. I’m sure to screw up again, but as Marilyn Monroe said, “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”