Went to a wedding. Bought a lot of books (not actually at the wedding, of course. But between our hotel and the church there were 3 charity shops. What’s a Dwight to do?)
Po: Beyond Yes and No by Edward De Bono
Have now read this, and will blog it. De Bono is held in terrifically low-esteem by academics, but that’s ok, he doesn’t think much of them either-
“The universities used to be the centres of thinking, but they are now dropping out of the scene. To many people they have become irrelevant centres of mental masturbation. The old-style intellectual habits have no relevance to the modern world. For instance, ‘scholarship’ has become litle more than the triumph of form over content. You take some tiny part of the field of knowledge and examine it with immense detail and concentration. In the end it is your workmanship which is praiced and not the importance of the subject….” (page 16)
My view of the man is probably coloured by my liking for the headmaster at my old school, who introduced this guy and his ideas to us when we were about 14 or 15. Later I read a bunch of Thomas Kuhn (Structure of Scientific Revolutions) and saw “Mindwalk”, so the whole ‘paradigms lost’ thing is no biggie. My favourite take on this is by the wonderful Marc Roberts and his “Imagine My Surprise”
Five Miles from Outer Hope by Nicola Barker
How can you say no to a book with the blurb that goes
“It’s the summer of 1981. You’re stuck in a semi-derelict art-deco hotel on a tiny island off the South coast of Devon. Your sixteen years old and six foot three inches tall. You have a clitoris the size of a Jersey Royal. There’s nothing to do but paint Margaret Thatcher mugs to supplement the meagre family income and dream of literary murderer Jack Henry Abbot. Until a ginger stranger arrives, stinking of antiseptic…”
Politics by Adam Thirlwell
Looks good. More later.
Passing Time: Memoir of a Vietnam Veteran against the Wall by W.D. Ehrhart
I do like my 60s memoirs. Haven’t read enough from the ‘South’ yet. This looks good, adn the praise on the back is pretty full on
Three I got from a fete at the Church where we got our photos took.
The Control of the Tropics by Benjamin Kidd
This is a first edition, and probably worth something. Published in 1898 [the year the Americans ‘liberated’ Cuba and the Philippines from the evil yoke of the Spanish empire], it starts with this corking paragraph-
“At the present time the two leading sections of the English-speaking world, and particularly the American people, are , in their relations to the tropical regions of the earth, passing through a period which, in the result, is likely to profoundly influence the history of the world in the twentieth century.”
Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier
Chap next to me at the stall assured me this was a major influence on all them pesky soixante-huitards. Gotta be worth a look. Makes me think I should re-read Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.
Seen dimly before Dawn by Nigel Balchin
Balchin was hugely successful in his day and is now almost entirely forgotten, even more so than his contemporary Nevil Shute. Both were cracking good story tellers, and mixed in plenty to think about within that. Balchin’s “Darkness falls from the air” was almost banned during WW2, for its bleak-and-accurate portrayal of life in the Blitz and the uselessness of British bureaucracy. Balchin’s other World War 2 books are ‘the Small Back Room‘ and Mine Own Executioner. Both are also bloody good. (Shute’s Landfall and Requiem for a Wren are both stonkingly good, IMHO)
SDBF is about a 15 year old boy being in love/heat with a 27 year old woman.
So, better review ’em all. But still haven’t quite finished “Guilty and Proud of It” and “Climate Capitalism” Not always one of life’s finishers, me.