Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What I’m reading

Oh dear. Abbie Jury, the Waikato Times’s gardening writer, has been alerted by a reader of her blog to another case of plagiarism in a Penguin book. The offender is Sally Cameron, who has form: Jury exposed her Tui NZ Fruit Garden in May 2010, then had a real good go at the revised version published in May 2011. Today Jury turns her attention to Tui NZ Vegetable Garden. Her informant  had a copy of The New Vegetable and Herb Expert by English horticulturist David Hessayon, and wondered whether it and Cameron’s book could by any chance be related:
Not only has Dr D G Hessayon ripped off Sally Cameron’s Tui NZ Vegetable Garden, chapter and verse, but, he also had the temerity to do it four years prior to Sally being published.
Is it OK to lift entire chapters of books if you include a reference to that book at the end? Hope so, ’cos I’m just finishing my book “Great Expectations” with a small reference at the back to Mr C Dickens.
Jury notes:
My informant was working from a more recent copy [. . .] Dr Hessayon actually published his book a good ten years before Sally Cameron produced hers. It took me mere minutes to track down a copy on Trade Me. I think I paid $12 for it plus P&P and it arrived in the mail this week.
And then she lets rip with compare-and-contrast passages from both books. It’s a little unfair to blame the publisher because this vegetable book was published in 2009, before the fruit one, so at the time Cameron had not been outed as a plagiarist. But still... 

The Glasgow-based composer James MacMillan, who abandoned socialism in despair at the anti-Catholicism of the left, writes in despair about anti-English sentiment in Scotland. Money quote:
All I can remember about Ms McAlpine was her whiney Glaswegian accent, de riguer for parish-pump envy-and-grievance politics in these parts, and so beloved by the rest of the country. Not.
On a more cheerful note, Chris Bell reviews the BBC TV series The Trip which stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. I haven’t seen the series but Michael Winterbottom’s film adapted from it is a hoot. Money quote (apart from this from Coogan on the phone: “I can’t really enjoy it. I’m with a short Welsh man who does impressions”):
One of the most telling scenes is almost halfway through the final episode, when Coogan playfully attempts to ford a wide river on stepping stones. It’s almost the happiest we’ve seen him, until Brydon warns him from a bridge overhead, “Don’t run, there’ll be moss.” In a moment of genius that was quite possibly one of the few overt plot points in whatever script Winterbottom was given, Brydon calls down, “You’ve got stuck halfway towards your destination! You’re stuck in a metaphor!”


Ngaire BookieMonster said...

A revised version of the Tui Vegetable Garden Book was released in September last year - so I'm in the camp of "this shouldn't have happened".

Stephen Stratford said...

Golly, September 2011. Publishers do have to trust their authors, and authors do sign a contract that promises that the manuscript is all their own work, but yes one would think that some checking would have been in order in light of the subsequent Fruit Garden debacle. It's embarrassing for Penguin but also whoever is in the comms role at Tui should have thought about this.