Friday, October 07, 2005

One of the books I found last week at home was a delightful ‘Penguin Special’ on ’Aircraft Recognition’ published in 1941. I did suggest to Penguin that they use this ad as part of their 70th birthday celebrations but they seem to have ignored me! The text from the ad is as follows:

Many of us are finding more time on our hands now that travel is difficult and amusements are restricted. We suggest that some of this spare time might be devoted usefully to more serious reading.

If you care to write to us mentioning your interests, we will be only too pleased to send you our complete list and a suggested reading course.

It has these wonderful illustrations of airplanes and I have scanned them and they make excellent bookmarks! It might be a novel idea to publish one in this blog each week. Inever realised they had special clubs during the war to learn aircraft recognition - they called them ‘the Hearkers’.

I bought two books of interest last week - Selected readings from Thomas Carlyle and ‘The Private memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner’ by James Hogg.

Carlyle is fascinating, someone I have been interested in for a great while. In the 19th Century he was adored and then all of a sudden he just went out of favour. Here is something that could easily be applied to today (originally intended for the industrial revolution):

“Men are grown mechanical in head and in heart, as well as in hand. They have lost faith in individual endeavour, and in natural force, of any kind. Not for internal perfection, but for external combinations and arrangements, for institutions, constitutions - for Mechanisms of one sort or another, do they hope and struggle. Their whole efforts, attachments, opinions turn on mechanisms, and are of a mechanical nature.”

The James Hogg book was first published in 1824, it is basically a satire against Calvinism, a boy strongly indoctrinated as a Calvinist believes he can do no wrong and starts to kill people. I am really enjoying it. Here is one quote particularly applicable to Belfast at this moment in time:

“A mob is like a spring-tide in an eastern storm, that retires only to return with more overwhelming fury”

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