Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

A blog about words, wordplay, and etymology, with slightly more than occasional political rants.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The book and its cover

In her book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl talks about her method of finding the true nature of the place she's reviewing - showing up disguised as someone else. Knowing that critics get all kinds of special treatment, Reichl developed several characters - each with her own clothing, hair, accessories, and personality - so she could get an idea of what her readers can realistically expect to experience.
Reichl says she was surprised to discover that each of her personae was treated a different way, and not just at restaurants. Her loud, gregarious redhead got lots of attention and made friends wherever she went. Her quiet, little old lady was often ignored and usually got poor service.
What's in appearances? Why do we put our resumes on resume paper? How does the use of slightly more expensive paper make us seem like more qualified candidates? Why do people respond better to bullet points? What's the point of watermarks?

1 comment:

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I am now 71 years old, and I haven't become stupid. However, I'm treated more and more as someone who is mindless and simple, or at least as someone who isn't worthy of interest. I'm old, granted, but I am neither little nor quiet. Apparently "wait staff" (as they are now called) assume "old lady" equals low tips, but I always leave twenty percent, except for the time I left TWO PENNIES very prominently placed on the table. That was over 30 years ago, when we two working women were the first to be seated, but the last to be waited on and the last to be served in a roomful of workers (ever other table had at least one man), even though we needed to eat quickly and get back to work, too.

I need to read Ruth Reichl's book. I hope my library has a copy. Yes, they do! And I've put it on hold. Thanks.