you’re like me, you love picking up non-fiction bargains among the
remaindered miseries in your local bookshop. But what a motley
collection you find.
Doug’s Daring Diet next to Sally Simpson’s Sneaky Snacks
beside Greasy Grahame’s Fatsafe Feasts for Passionate Portly People
on Opulent Occasions.
Age Thinking for Readers of a Certain Age rubbing worn shoulders
with Create Your Own Religion for the Very Young.
Windows 3.1 Exposed nestling on top of Secrets of Typewriter
Maintenance for Non-Technicians, in turn challenged by Shorthand
the list goes on, but you don’t need telling: you know the sort of
wretched tome I mean.
being non-fiction they’re way out-of-date, and for my part I always
hesitate when tempted, wondering if I’m doing the prudent thing buying
something ostensibly based on fact but patently from the shadowy past
and that no one else wants.
it doesn’t matter a lot, of course. Some subjects have an eternal
quality that transcends mere up-to-the-minute state-of-the-art-ness.
Take this recent acquisition of mine: The Past in Perspective: An
Introduction to Human Prehistory, by Kenneth L. Feder. Five hundred
luscious pages of fascinating text with photos, charts and graphs.
Marked down to $15. A good deal not to be merrily passed up under any
circumstances. Ancient history for university students like your
granddaughter and white-haired armchair paleo-anthropologists like me.
looking at the photo of Canyonlands National Park in Utah on the front
cover and reading the persuasive back-cover praise by the author’s
academic peers made my mouth water. Irresistible. All I needed to know,
and then some, on “why we walk upright, the meaning of toolmaking, the
implications of food production (sorry, Doug, Sally and Graham), the
impacts of social complexity . . .”
want now are some stolen hours of social simplicity to read the bloody