The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Books, books, books

It's been a very literate few days. On Thursday I was at the Victoria College book sale at the university. Picked up about a dozen assorted paperback, and made two finds: What Remains to be Discovered by John Maddox, the editor of Science magazine, on the biggest puzzles facing us today, and Lo! by Charles Fort, one of the books that kicked off the whole Fortean movement. The sale was good and crowded, which is always nice to see.

That same evening there was a reading at the Hart House Library. I love going to readings there because I love that room. High ceiling, comfy seats, surrounded by bookshelves, it's great. The first author up was Michael Bliss with Plague: How Smallpox Devastated Montreal which was quite good, even though it's a re-issue of the book. The second author up was Kirsty E. Duncan with Hunting the 1918 Flu: One Scientist's Search for a Killer Virus about how she lead a team digging up some frozen bodies in Norway in hopes of finding preserved virus from the 1918 influenza epidemic. The science here may have been interesting, but My God it was one of the most dreadful readings I've ever had to sit through. Ever single sentence was spoken as dramatically as humanly possible. Every details was milked for all it was worth. I don't know if the author was completely full of herself or what, but it was a very long 40 minutes.

It turns out my brother was also there, way in the nook in the back out of sight. He told me that two minutes into the talk, he found a copy of The Stars My Destination on the shelf (he was sitting next to the Science Fiction), and read that the whole time. Lucky guy.

And today was Word on the Street. I think I enjoyed this more in the early years when it wasn't so completely crowded, but I shouldn't complain about people wanting books. I picked up several Oh My Goddess manga collections and a book about Stanley Kubrick's films, with several other odds and ends. I also put in an hour at the Friends of the Merril Collection table, or rather the 1/3 of the table we were sharing with the Arthur Conan Doyle Society and the Friends of the Osbourne Collection. It was quite crowded at that table. We ended up giving out about 400 brochures by Lorna's estimate, which is really great.

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Proof I need to keep my calendar updated: I have managed to miss Word on the Street every single year, and not intentionally. I never seem to notice it's about to happen until it has already.

Sounds like you've had a good few days!

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