In the Middle Ages, ‘one’s books’ was the esteem in which one was held by others. To be ‘out of someone’s books’ meant you were no longer part of their life. To be ‘in someone’s black books’ seems to have started with Robert Greene in 1592, who intended to publish his Blacke Booke, which was to list the misdemeanors of various classes of criminal. The University of Oxford kept a register recording any person who affronted the university – who would then not be awarded their degree. Even Hitler had a black book!
Black Book is an online arty-farty magazine aimed at hipsters, people with more money than sense and anyone I would try to avoid at a party.
A Little Black Book is a book that a ladies’ man keeps, listing all his actual and hopeful sexual conquests.
Black Books is one of the best TV shows ever. Dylan Moran stars as Bernard Black, a cynical alcoholic who loves his books and hates his customers. His friend Fran (Tamsin Greg), and his ‘assistant’ Manny (Bill Bailey) help in making his life as difficult as he thinks it is.
And here is a list of books I’ve read recently that are in my black books:
Ian Rankin Even Dogs in The Wild – I like the character of Rebus but I find the stories too slow moving.
Paula Hawkins Girl on the Train – disappointing ending.
BA Paris Behind Closed Doors – unsympathetic characters and totally unbelievable situation.
Nick Hornby Funny Girl – easy to read, fairly amusing romp through the TV industry in the 1960s, but I was disappointed by the ending (a common problem, I find!)
Linwood Barclay Final Assignment – a short story in the style of Harlan Coben. Disappointing from start to finish. But inspiring for a newbie writer as I thought, ‘Bloody hell, I could easily do better than that!’
Jodi Picoult Picture Perfect – 436 pages where I waited for something interesting to happen or a plot twist to arrive. It didn’t.
Anyone in your black books lately?