Cemetery for not so forgotten Textbooks

In a rather unconvincing tale “Shadow of the wind” by an equally unconvincing Catalan author,  Carlos Ruiz Zafon, we are introduced to the idea of a cemetery for forgotten books. Unconvincing because cemeteries are not generally for forgetting but for remembering (big gravestones, flowers, family visits),  and corpses are generally for rotting rather than ” living forever….”

Yet Daniel, the protagonist, takes such a book from such a cemetery and a tale of love, betrayal and truth slowly unfolds. Indeed, there is even a mysterious character intent on burning the last remaining copy of the book. Not the greatest of books, it has nevertheless become a best seller and even inspired guided tours around Barcelona, following the trails of the book through the very city in which it was set.

Clearly the editor of English File at Oxford University Press (OUP) Spain has read and been inspired by this very same book. When they re-launched English File as New English File they had to re-write and edit new material for their new books. OUP had to approach Clive Oxenden and Christina Latham-Koening and ask them to write new material (expensive business). In 2008, New English File Upper-Intermediate rolled off the presses to join other illustrious titles such as New English File pre-Intermediate and New English File Intermediate.

The problem for the editor is that he or she was obviously fond of the former, plain English File Upper-Intermediate, first published in 2001 and wanted to save it from evil book burners. They could have chosen to store it in a secret warehouse or continue publishing it in opposition to the new book (promoting it as the “outdated edition”) but instead they chose to give it a new cover, and sell it as………..New English File Intermediate PLUS.

A beautiful story, I’m sure you will agree, and currently retailing to Spanish students for around 40 Euros.


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