Caveat Emptor

[Amazon Link] I happened upon the Amazon page for a 2002 book titled The Best American Novels of the Twentieth Century: Still Readable Today by Eleanor Gehres. (Ms. Gehres passed away in 2000.) The "new" pricing is a bit high ($26.90 hardback, $14.95 paperback) but the third-party sellers are quite a bit more reasonable.

I'm intrigued by the "Still Readable Today" subtitle. That strongly implies that there's a subclass of Best American Novels of the Twentieth Century that are No Longer Readable. Why not? Is it a matter of language: too many unfamiliar words, like "flivver" or "keen" or "horse"? Or did the books drop out of print and existing copies were eaten by moths?

That quibble aside: If you're looking for Ms. Gehres's take on good reads, I'd say it might be just the thing.

That is, if you believe the title. If you're the kind of shallow person who judges a book by its cover. From Amazon's "Editorial Reviews" section:

Describes nearly 300 dog-friendly trails and parks. -- Portland Oregonian


Maybe you should only buy this if you have a dog and you like to read. Either way, you'll find something useful in the book. Although it might turn out to be about some third subject, who knows? Keen flivvers, perhaps.

But in any case, it brings to mind this famous quote from Groucho Marx:

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

But was that Groucho, or was it Boy Scout Jim Brewer of Cleveland, Ohio? Experts differ.