Christmas for me is a season for marking. Lots of it: WHIP research proposals, dissertation proposals, essays for Comparative Legislatures, Approaches to Presidential Power in the USA, and The Contemporary House of Commons. As soon as that lot is complete, exams begin and a batch of BPLS research proposals come in. I have drafts of PhD dissertations to read as well. This Christmas, I am also having to complete the proofs and compile the index for the new edition of Parliament in British Politics.
I have to be brutally frank (you know me) and admit that compiling a book index is not the most exciting task in life. No, it’s true. I have prepared the indexes for a good many of my books, so I know what it entails. It has certain advantages in that I understand what should be indexed and it is a means of checking for consistency throughout the text (ensuring it doesn’t vary, say between, cabinet and Cabinet). It is, though, rather demanding and I am always conscious that there is an opportunity cost. (I could have finished the essay marking!) It is important for readers, though, to get it right. I despair of books that lack indexes.
Anyway, everything is on schedule and the book is scheduled for publication in April. It is a substantial volume – 321 pages, without the index that is. I shall probably be organising an event to mark its launch.
P.S. Still time to enter the caption competition. I shall be announcing the winner and the runner-up in the next day or so. So far, I have narrowed it down to two front-runners.