Friday, 27 April 2012

In the matter of books

Most of this post will be about stuff I acquired at the Lifeline Bookfair on Friday.  Some of it will be nature related and other bits.not.

Before getting there however I will talk about "Green Philosophy" by Roger Scruton.  I became aware of this guy when he talked on Counterpoint on ABC Radio National.   He is a philosopher currently located at the American Enterprise Institute - which made me think of him as Paul Wolfowitz's new best friend forever.  Not so: while he wears the label conservative he doesn't like neocons as much as he doesn't like controlling statists from the Left.  His view is that local activity is what should drive policy and particularly preserving local beauty, which encourages conservation.  Seems good to me.  I have started reading the book, but it requires more attention than can be given to a library book so one is heading towards me via The Book Depository.

The Lifeline Book fair is a huge event in Canberra where people donate books to the organisation.  The books are sold ridiculously cheaply and the resulting funds used to fund the 'phone counselling service.  The difficulty is in not buying back the books one has donated through the year.  I got a good haul this year as did Frances, but I am not going to cover her selection.

Actually that isn't quite true, as she did find the first one, but I decided to buy it.  This is the biography of "P D Q Bach" by Peter Shiekele.  He is a true academic and a very funny guy.  We heard him speak to a large audience in St Barts on Park Avenue NYC during a Mozart series in 2006.  The book is hilarious as it pokes fun at music and academia.

The second choice is "Birdwatching with Bill Oddie" by Bill Oddie.  This is intended to be a book assisting birders - especially those in the UK - to develop their skills rather than a bundle of funny tales such as "Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book".  However still a very good read.

The major disappointment was one titled something like the "Psychoanalysis of Monty Python" (I seem to have stored it somewhere, and hope I can find it to re-donate to Lifeline).  It was promising as amusement since the editor had sought a contribution from Betty Windsor, but she had declined.  I should have read his letter on invitation more closely since he said that if she could fit the composition into her schedule he'd boot out an associate professor.  Unfortunately I think all the stuff was by Associate Professors and thus very average humour (but possibly good Jungian stuff)!

A couple of 1:25k topographic maps covering parts of the local area for $1 each were definitely good value.

A set of 7 books by Anne McAffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough are proving to be most entertaining.  (The only dud I have read by the former lady included her son as co-author.  It was tedious in the extreme.)  This set are full of innovative ideas - hybrid unicorns and telepathic cats included - and the stories keep moving right along.

No comments: