A late-comer to the annual book of the year awards was announced earlier this week. The (long) shortlist has 12 books on it, so I’m taking a very quick peak inside of each to look at the index (or lack thereof) in each. Why am I bothering? Because, as a member of the Society of Indexers, I believe that every non-fiction book needs an index – unless the book is likely to be read once and then discarded, an index is essential and a non-fiction book without an index causes its readers considerable frustration. So, sadly, some of the publishers of these books think they are as disposable as a tissue, which is a shame given the effort that must have gone into writing them.
On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation’s Cycling Soul. Ned Boulting. Yellow Jersey. No look inside for the printed version available on Amazon, but I suspect it probably doesn’t have an index. Which is a shame. I have read this book on Kindle and it contains information about a wide range of unknown or forgotten people who have been the backbone of grassroots cycling in the UK.
Racing Hard, 20 Tumultuous Years in Cycling. William Fotheringham. Faber and Faber. Replete with index, lots of names and races mentioned, but suffers a bit from undifferentiated strings of locators for some of the key characters – Lance Armstrong, Dave Brailsford etc. who appear throughout the book.
Cycling Anthology II, Tour de France centenary edition. Lionel Birnie and Ellis Bacon. Peloton Publishing. Doesn’t have an index, which was a conscious decision on the part of the editors. You can take a look at my free index for volume III and see the kind of thing it is missing.
Easy Rider: My Life on a Bike. Rob Hayles. Bantam Press. No look inside for the printed version available on Amazon.
Domestique. The True life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro. Charlie Wegelius. Ebury Press. No trace of an index. But was the eventual award winner, gaining the highest number of public votes http://www.tourseries.co.uk/news/9047.php
Hunger. Sean Kelly. Peloton Publishing. Not much sign of an index.
Mountain Higher: Europe’s Extreme, Undiscovered and Unforgettable Cycling Climbs. Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding. Quercus. No look inside for the printed version available on Amazon. However an earlier volume on the same topic did have an index, so just maybe there is an index.
Sean Yates: It’s All About the Bike. Sean Yates. Bantam Press. No look inside for the printed version available on Amazon. Other Bantam publications have indexes so maybe there is one.
The Race Against Time: Obree, Boardman and the Quest to be the Fastest Man on Two Wheels. Edward Pickering. Bantam Press. Got an index, with a lot of subheadings for each of Boardman and Obree, but some of the other people mentioned suffer from undifferentiated locators, i.e. the entries for Indurain and LeMond.
Project Rainbow: How British Cycling Reached the Top of the World. Rod Ellingworth. Faber and Faber. No look inside available for the printed version.
Mapping Le Tour de France. Ellis Bacon. Collins. Long index of entries covering each time a place was in the Tour de France with a separate subheading. However, lots of undifferentiated locators for the participants, so you can’t cross reference by using the index to find out for example, when a particular rider went through a particular place. That might have made the index a lot longer but chapeau to whoever compiled it anyway.
Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team. Tim Lewis. Yellow Jersey. No index in this book I’m afraid.
The public voted for Domestique, so congratulations to Charlie, but shame it didn’t have an index.
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