Since William Buckley died, I have been sporadically reading all of his output I can get my hands on. And there’s plenty of it: over 50 books, and almost 50 years of columns that would fill another 45 volumes. Particulalry, I found Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription to be one of the most entertaining reads I’ve had in a very long time.
It was with great anticipation, then, that I opened Christopher Buckley’s memoir, Losing Mum and Pup. My eagerness had been stoked by a wonderful if slightly rose-tinted Vanity Fair profile of the Buckleys’ relationship, and by an excerpt of the book that ran in the Times Magazine last weekend.
But here’s the problem: the Times Mag piece wasn’t an exceprt (e.g. a chapter) as we usually think of it. Instead, it was a very tight condensation of the entire book. Think Reader’s Digest on a diet. My wife caught this in the moment, I didn’t. But as a result, reading the book is an act of terrific anti-climax. It also leaves me to ponder how many books actually want to be magazine articles.