Monday, January 03, 2011

A Place To Read Books I’ve Never Read

For the most part, with a few exceptions, I’ve been lucky enough to have read many of the book I’ve always wanted to read.

There are old mathematics book from France about infinitesimals that I’ve never been able to find translated into English so I’ve never read those books. There are some others.

And I haven’t read this book:

This book is not too hard to find, both at bookstores and libraries, but I am kind of saving it.

When writer/director Wes Craven made his remarkable film-and-sequel combination of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” he used earthquakes as a metaphor. He wanted to convey the notion that just as we take the solid ground under our feet for granted and that presumption is stripped away with terrifying results in earthquakes, possibly our understanding of reality itself is a presumption which is sometimes stripped away with equally terrifying results.

“The Myth of Solid Ground” is a non-fiction discussion of earthquakes, from the point-of-view not just of scientific understanding, but also of cultural acceptance and beliefs.

I have no particular attachment to or affection for solid ground and I am kind of saving this book because someday I hope to read it when I have abandoned solid ground entirely and am sitting on something like this:

Normally when I indulge in thoughts of going off to blue water I imagine myself in a small sailboat. And, at the other end of the spectrum, I’ve sometimes thought about an expedition yacht. This boat—this kind of boat—is something in the middle. It is called, generally, a motor-sailer or a pilothouse yacht. It has a larger engine than a normal sailboat, but not as large as a power boat. And it has a workable sail area, but not as large as a proper sailing yacht. And the bridge is enclosed. That’s the “pilothouse” part. You can steer the boat if it’s raining without getting blasted by sheets of water.

A yacht like this, of course, is more expensive than a simple sailboat. And there is much more that can break.

But it would be fun to read a book about earthquakes while sitting in the pilothouse of a boat a few hundred miles away from any earth that can quake.

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