Friday, 23 July 2010


Books were relatively expensive when I was a child in the 50s and I had to satisfy my avid reading habit with frequent trips to the public library. Books can now be obtained cheaply from charity shops and online and I am easily tempted to buy them. I have to admit that I would like a library like the ones found in most stately homes. However, books now have to compete with magazines, ezines and floods of other sources of information and entertainment; so holidays are a rare opportunity for me to devote time to ‘proper reading’ of something in paper form that takes more than a few minutes to scan. I like to read books that both educate and entertain and that is the case with two recent holiday reads.

A book about scurvy may sound an unlikely subject for a holiday book but ‘Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail’ is a gripping story about how it took so long to overcome a terrible illness that could claim the lives of half the crew of a sailing ship. We learn that the problem could have been solved hundreds of years earlier had the medical establishment been more open to the evidence placed before them – a lesson that has been learnt more than once. An ideal book to take on your next cruise!

The End of Mr Y has attracted a lot of rave reviews - so does it live up to the hype? The answer for me was yes and it is some years since I have read a book that kept me glued to the page right to the end – do not be tempted to read the last page out of sequence! The book uses some concepts from particle physics and from modern philosophers such as Heidegger to come up with an adventure in which thought and matter are related in a way that is analogous to Einstein’s E=mc*2. The supposition that thinking about something can make it a reality is one that will appeal to many TN people. A well crafted story that leaves you thinking about it for days afterwards.

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