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Thread: Recent Additions to Your Library

  1. #1 Recent Additions to Your Library 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I am something of a Bibliophile. (They can’t touch you for it.) I thought a thread in which fellow book lovers could describe recent purchases might be interesting in sparking interest in a particular topic and in revealing something about the buyer.

    Here are some recent purchases of my own.
    The first three were acquired two weeks ago in the River Kwai bookshop in Kachanaburi, Thailand, less than a mile from the famous bridge. My daughter, who currently teaches in Thailand, very kindly bought them for me as a Christmas present while I was visiting. The proprietor was a rather interesting expat who had worked in publishing in the UK. Through that work he knew Sir Patrick Moore well and confirmed that he was indeed a great lover of curries.

    Alan Cutler 'The Seashell on the Mountaintop' Penguin Books 2003 ISBN:0-525-94708-6
    Arthur C. Clarke 'Greetings Carbon-Based Bipeds' Harper Collins 1999 ISBN:0-00-224697-X
    Charles Esdaile 'The Peninsular War' Penguin Books 2002 ISBN:0-71399-239-5

    The first book is a biography of Stenno, the Dane who established the three fundamental principles of stratigraphy and set in motion the birth of the science of geology. The Clarke book is a selection of his non-fiction writings-with commentary, including a version of the remarkable 1947 piece in which he proposed the concept of geostationary communication satellites. What’s not to like?The third book is an attempt to break away from my obsession with World War II and the events leading up to it. It details the ravishing of the Iberian peninsula during the Napoleonic period. Among other things this led to the development of an unstoppable British military machine, laid the groundwork for the downfall of Napoleon and the seeds for the Spanish civil war a century and a half later.

    Back in the rigours of Scotland with high wind warnings on the Tay Bridge I got these volumes in Dundee’s Wellgate shopping Centre.

    David Turner 'Last Dawn' Argyll Publishing 2004 ISBN:978-1-906134-13-6
    David Torrance 'Salmond Against the Odds' Berlinn 2009 ISBN:978-1-84158-914-5
    David Torrance 'We in Scotland'' Berlinn 2009 ISBN:978-1-84158-816-2
    Michael McManus 'Jo Grimond – Towards the Sound of Gunfire' Berlinn 2001 ISBN:1-84341-006-0
    Bill Mackie 'The Klondykers' Berlinn 2006 ISBN:978-1-84158-359-4

    The ‘Last Dawn’ tells the story of the sinking of the battleship Royal Oak in Scapa Flow in the early days of WWII by a German U-boat. Written by an amateur historian whose uncle died (along with over 800 others) on the ship, it lacks the structure of a professional work, but nevertheless sheds light on a tragic episode for the British and a brilliant achievement by the Kriegsmarine.

    Alex Salmond is First Minister of the Scottish Parliament and arguably the most intelligent politician to come out of Scotland since John Smith. The referendum for full Scottish Independence is less than two years away: time to begin some basic research.

    If Salmond is the Scottish Politician of this generation then Jo Grimond was arguably the fifties and sixties equivalent. (We’ll assume Harold McMillan, despite his ancestry, saw himself as primarily English.) Remarkably this is the first ever biography written of Grimond. When one compares Nick Clegg, current leader of the Liberal Democrats, with Grimond one can begin to understand why political assassination may not always be a bad thing.

    ‘We in Scotland’ is a study of the impact of Thatcherism on Scotland. Thatcher is, I understand, much admired in the USA. She is also much admired by certain portions of British society. This does not include miners, industrial workers, Scots in general and (opinion warning!) anyone with compassion.

    Bill Mackie’s book, The Klondykers, is a well researched look at the impact of the oil industry on the Scots onshore, from the various sites where the vast production platforms were built, to the battles between cities to determine which would become ‘The Oil Capital of Europe’.

    And I just had to buy this one, for obvious reasons.
    John Galt 'The Member' and ‘The Radical’ Cannongate 1832 ISBN:0-86241-642-6

    The book contains two novels, the first of which was arguably the first ever political novel. Galt lived most of his life a few miles across The Water (as the Firth of Clyde is known in those parts) from where I was born. I confess I had never heard of him until seeing this book. (I chose my forum name for other reasons.)

    I suggested at the outset that the book choice might reveal something about the buyer. Here is a revealing fact. List price of the above books - £87; purchase price paid - £12. I am a canny Scot. Finally, a few miles from Dundee in the hills overlooking the Carse of Gowrie is the Scottish Antiques and Art Centre there are some obscure and overpriced second hand books. Diligent searching while the wife is left to examine Georgian sideboards and £3000 diamond rings can turn up the occasional gem.

    Xu Dao Yi et al 'Astrogeological Events in China' Scottish Academic Press 1989 ISBN:0-7073-0567-5

    This is the work of a team of Chinese researchers who examined the boundaries between major Phanerozoic stratigraphic divisions for evidence of impact events. This work was begun in response to the proposal by Alvarez (father and son), almost a decade earlier, that the KT extinction event was the consequence of a large bolide striking the Earth. (And only £6.00)


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    OK. These 2 are sitting on the dining table.

    Jeremy Black 'A Brief History of SLAVERY - A new global history' Robinson 2011 UK ISBN:978-1-84901-689-6

    Don Watson 'Bendable Learnings - The Wisdom of Modern Management ' Knopf 2009 ISBN:978-1-74166-904-6

    Jeremy Black is Professor of History at Exeter University and an apparently prolific writer. I don't think we've got any of his previous 100 books. Now that this particular military historian has been identified, I expect to see my husband acquire more of his work. This is a really brief history - only 322 pages including the index.

    Don Watson is Australia's great debunker of gobble-de-gook in policy and business writing. (A couple of decades ago he was Paul Keating's speechwriter - and very good at it.) It's largely a collection of point-and-laugh examples of execrable writing in management and in education policy among others. Good fun.

    Both prizes collected from remainder tables. Original prices $55, bought for $12.


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    My Amazon account tells me I have purchased the following in the last six months:

    A Monk And Two Peas: The Story of Gregor Mendel and the Discovery of Genetics by Robin Marantz Henig
    The Particle at the End of the Universe: The Hunt for the Higgs and the Discovery of a New World by Sean Carroll
    This is Biology: Science of the Living World by Ernst Mayr
    Darwin's Lost World: The hidden history of animal life by Martin Brasier
    The Knife Man. The Extraordinary Life and Times of John Hunter, Father of Modern Surgery by Wendy Moore
    The Mould In Dr Florey's Coat: The Remarkable True Story of the Penicillin Miracle by Eric Lax
    The Life of a Virus: Tobacco Mosaic Virus as an Experimental Model 1930-1965 by Angela Creager
    Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox by Gareth Williams
    Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics by Ruth Lewin Sime
    Meselson, Stahl and the Replication of DNA: A History of the Most Beautiful Experiment in Biology by Frederic Holmes

    Only read the last one the list so far. Debating with myself whether to carry on plowing through my old time science-fiction collection or take one of the above.
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  5. #4  
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    Remember bookstores,typewriters & record stores?
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