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Saturday, April 5, 2014


Reading consumes a large part of our spare time. There is just so much out there to uncover. Beside the bed we both have piles of books many have book marks indicating they are a work in progress. Reading is not always a linear process as much as we try to make it work that way. Moods and information needs drive the sequencing.

Take for example The Revenge of Geography by Robert D Kaplan, barely 300 pages of fascinating history and insight. But then a trip to the library yesterday yielded a few more books that had been put on hold. One was 299 Days by Glen Tate. The first in a series of fiction books on Preparation and Survivalism.  Just too good to ignore and it was devoured overnight. A good read, some writing style improvement required but that should come as there are half a dozen in the series. A good story is hard to put down. So now back to Kaplan for the moment.

Jean's choice of relaxation before sleep is Enid Blyton's Famous Five. A rollicking good time in 20th century English country side by five children. Designed entirely for the mind to escape reality. We collected the entire series second hand and Jean is working her way through them. I'd read these as a child and when cleaning up my mother's estate found a couple of old red hard covered copies which we kept as a memento of a childhood. Jean discovered them and now moves there every night.

In between there are the Gardening Australia and Winemaker magazines. A friend passed on a large pile of earlier editions Grass Roots and Earth Gardens. Another friend subscribes to New Scientist and loaned us a mound of copies. These are an excellent read over morning tea and generate lots of ideas.

In the office beside me on the floor is a pile of books collected from the disposal table when the Raymond Terrace Library relocated last year. Gradually between other library loans we work our way through these piles.

Then of course there is our own library at HHF. Many decades of accumulation from times of formal education and casual reading. Quite a few metres of shelving covering a number of walls.  Every couple years we try to thin down the collection but it's difficult. There are so many reference books and works that just need to be read again and again.

And one library system is never enough. As well as the Newcastle Regional library which consists of Newcastle, Port Stephens, Gloucester and Dungog we are also members of Lake Macquarie Library. This is to have access to some books our own library system doesn't stock.

And of course being a former University of Newcastle employee of many years there is Jean's access card to their collection of reference material and generous loan periods. I'm guilty of borrowing a truck load of material on a particular topic when interest becomes intense. There is even a signed note from Jean in my wallet confirming her approval for me collect books on her behalf.

Just looking on the desk beside me I see a piece of paper listing other books by Kaplan and some texts by authors referenced in The Revenge of Geography. Attached to the paper is Jean's Uni library card.  The trouble with reading a good book is that it generates an enthusiasm that  launches you down a path that leads in many directions.

Just as well there are plenty of inclement days each year to provide scope to manage the demands of reading.

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