Amazon may not listen to all of its customers, but it listens to me, dadgummit. For several years, I’ve told them I wanted to see The Greatest Benefit To Mankind, Roy Porter’s one-volume history of medicine, in a Kindle edition, because I want to be able to read it and take notes at night. I looked for the book again over the weekend, and there it was, all spiffy in said format and ready for downloading.
This, from Saint-Beuve: “Nothing is more painful to me than the disdain with which people treat second-rate authors, as if there were room only for the first-raters.” Yes, indeed. Excellence is often best measured by that which approaches excellence but does not quite reach it. We would not know what excellence is at all if we had not seen first the failures it was built upon.