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Ben Tymens

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Munro Map
Munro Map
by Juliet (ed) Gregor
Edition: Map

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what it says on the tin..., 17 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Munro Map (Map)
Well, it's a map. With Munros on it. And, er, that'll be it then.
Personally I find the block colouring off putting, but then that'd be years of staring at OS maps rubbing off on me. This actually made it feel a little cartoonish, which put me off a bit.
Questions I'd have liked to ask before buying it were how much area does it cover (whole of west coast, as far east as Dundee, north as Cape Wrath and south as Edinburgh), does it contain rail lines and roads (yup) and does it have any other hills marked (yup, but as for the reasons why I'm left guessing - there seems to be little explanation for the smattering of other tops marked).
Worth getting for a quick overview of the whole area, and the tables are handy, I suppose, but slightly less inspiring than I'd hoped.


Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
by Anne Fadiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book lover's treasure., 17 Feb. 2003
There is a certain type of person who will fill their house with books. A certain type of person who knows the smell of old, dusty books in a second-hand bookshop - the smell of old hardbacks, a slightly acid, starchy smell with a jint of dust and leather. There is a certain type of person who will read junk mail, catalogues or even the writing on a pack of candy rather than be left wordless. There is a type of person who loves the feel of words in the mouth. Anne Fadiman is one of those people, and everyone who loves books will feel a flicker of recognition with every one of the essays contained in this volume.
I bought my copy in the British Library, and read it in the cafe there, facing a wall of books that I was itching to be allowed to feel and finger. Her reminisces of the colour of books (Roald Dahl was always mauve, for instance) made me feel suddenly more aware of how books stir many more senses than you'd expect. Another essay on combining libraries with a lover is more like a poem on the nature of long-term love than an account of a dry process.
This volume is indeed slim, but every sentence is precious and every essay revealing. This book will inspire your own reading and make you realise things that you always knew about books and words ina beautiful way. Essential for all bibliophiles.


The Song Of The Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
The Song Of The Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
by David Quammen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big, bouncy and buoyant., 24 Jan. 2003
As Quammen notes early on, imagine yourself as an 18th Century naturalist. You believe that modern science has identified, classified and named every animal going. Then some bugger goes and shows you a kangaroo. The scientific effort to explain the pattern and distribution of species has continued for centuries, and Quammen maps his way through this tangled thread with remarkable skill, and not a little wit.
This book is nominally about biogeography - the science of what species are found where, and why. However there is so much more than this - for instance the tale of Alfred Russel Wallace (the largely forgotten co-describer of natural selection) and his abortive trips to collect new species in the Amazon. Other diversions include the tale of eponymous dodo, the swimming ability of elephants and Darwin's half-baked experiments into the natural world; all told with a dry humour and keen eye for detail.
If this book was just about biogeography it would be a must-buy for geographers and ecologists. As it is, it combines history, ecology, geography and anecdote, providing a haunting anthem to the lost species, and, remarkably, a song of hope for the future. I have a personal reason to rate this book - it switched me on to the topic I am now working towards my PhD in. Read this book and change the way you see the world.


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