Monday, 27 August 2007

Greenbelt I

Found the book tent. Enough said?

I couldn't possibly carry away all the interesting things I found there, but I came out with a list of ISBNs scrawled in the back of my schedule. More book-buying is now imminent, and the almost interminable list of Books I Must Read will become even longer, no thanks to Keith Ward, John Henson, Pete Rollins, et al.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Is Nature immoral? or Should pet cats be banned?

We found a baby mouse on the path. I guess it was dropped there by the neighbour's cat. I looked up "rearing orphan mice" on the Web, and decided that I was not going to be a workable substitute for a mummy mouse, given the immense labor involved in attempting to feed the thing, keep it warm, and possibly (according to one site) help it do its own poo.

(Boy, it would be good if baby humans only evacuated in response to parental stimulation, though! A whole swathe of problems would vanish in an instant!)

So poor baby mouse was gently abandoned in the hedgerow across the road. The Gospels assure us that God sees a sparrow fall, but they don't say that he actually does anything about it: which is why many people of a religious disposition find themselves unable to take traditional Christian doctrine at face value, and move towards deism (there is a God but he's not bothered), pantheism (God and the world are aspects of the same thing), or various nuanced forms of non-theistic faith.

Pet cats are a moral conundrum rather like holiday flights: dispassionately considered, they do such evil to the environment, and yet in human terms they have such apparent benefits in terms of well-being and fulfilment that it seems hard to campaign wholeheartedly against them.

Do I want to be associated with these people?

One of the disconcerting effects that emerges from LibraryThing is that my library occasionally groups me with some folks who hold political or religious opinions radically different from mine. I suppose this is inevitable, really. I keep quite a number of G. K. Chesterton's books because I like reading them, not because I actually agree with Chesterton's views or beliefs. His patriotic nostalgia and eccentric heroes ring an emotional bell with me, even though I can't align myself with the positions they take him to.

On the other hand, perhaps my osmotic theory of knowledge will also work with beliefs: if I have shelves full of books by opinionated conservative Catholics, will I wake up one day to find myself signed up to the U.S. Republican Party or the Society of St Pius the Nth? I hope not: but maybe I need to get out to the bookshop and buy some books by Bishop Spong to balance out all that C. S. Lewis!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Friday, 17 August 2007

A small milestone

Today we reached (and passed) 2,400 books on LibraryThing, and have made it to No. 565 on the 1000 largest libraries list.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

The borrowed book

For the first time since joining LibraryThing, I have read a book that I do not own, and am confronted with the decision about whether to add to my catalog/ue a book that I have never owned. The reasons for doing so would be (a) to remind me that I have read it and (b) to record any comment or review. In principle, I have an 'association' with the book sufficient to qualify it for addition. But I am a hoarder, a jackdaw, a book-collector, dammit, and I love the idea of having a list of all the books actually on my shelves (all mine, my preciousss). Of course, I have already compromised this by listing books, reviewing them, and then putting on the 'out' pile and tagging them "export"; but at least I did once own them. Maybe I could start a new LibraryThing catalog for books I do not own, and copy the details across...; but then, the reviews would not count towards my total, and my narcissistic aim of getting on to the Reviewers Zeitgeist page would be set back. Aargh!

The book in question is The Fencing Master, which I found in a bookcase while on holiday in Somerset and read over the course of the week. It was very enjoyable. Maybe I'll add it and tag it "unowned" or "borrowed" or something. I'm going to run into the same problem with Riddley Walker...

Monday, 13 August 2007

Here we go!

Welcome to my blog! Actually, I prefer living my life to documenting it, so I won't be a very active presence on the Blogosphere, but I like the idea of splurging my half-formed thoughts, opinions, and prejudices across the interweb. You can watch this space if you like, but don't hold your breath - you'll asphyxiate!