I need to clear out some books and so offer these samples of my eclectic tastes to any takers. Please contact this or any department if you would like it sent gratis, or contact me if you would like it sent to you.
An Incomplete History Of The Cold War, by Daniel “D D” Davison “Hall”, accepts that any history of a complicated event will be incomplete, and so for this popularization it includes only the years 1947, 1953-55, 1964-67, 1978, 1980, then goes back to 1972 because of some stuff it thought about, and 1980 again; and it omits completely all reference to “Poland” or “Belize”, the latter of which the author insists was merely coincidence. 325 pages.
Something Like It In The World After All, by Milton Ambrose. This attempt to ape his older brother Stephen’s book chronicles the building of the eighth transcontinental railroad, which ended in heartbreak when the team building due west from Quincy, Illinois Or Maybe Arkansas, found themselves clearing trails on the west back of the Suez Canal.
Course Catalogue, Hazen S Pingree University, 1997-98. I have no idea how I got this. I’ve never been to the school, never known anyone who’s been to it, and don’t expect I’ll ever have reason to take a course in the 1997-98 academic year again except to comply with ransom demands. It’s in mint condition and is of extreme sentimental value. Includes map of the new West Clump campus and the updated code of student conduct in which students are allowed to protest any administrative action provided it is done without an audience. 310 pages.
100 Years Of The 20th Century, by the editors of Obscure Computer Ports Monthly, attempts something new in the curation of time periods by selecting not the greatest, or loudest, or most gaudily dressed years and instead simply picks a hundred such without obvious pattern. Fredrick Lewis Allen provides the foreword, praising July 16, 1970-July 15, 1971 and defying everyone who thought he must’ve died sometime before 2000, right? 238 pages.
An Infestation of Ants, Anonymous. Provided courtesy the colony in my parents’ bathroom. Well-suited to add a little movement out of the corner of the eye when one’s showering or just staring at a new bottle of mouthwash wondering how to open it when it’s 6:15 in the morning and isn’t that an impossible time? 12 at any moment.
Words That Don’t Actually Exist, 2nd Edition, Andrea Santelle, is a splendid recreational dictionary-type book identifying words that just plain don’t exist however much pedants and Scrabble dictionaries try to pretend otherwise. Obelus, aglet, and octothorp come in for special dissection and debunking. A new section of three chapters is included in this edition in which the pushers of the interrobang come in for special scorn. Santelle’s thesis is, it’s not happening so they should stop pretending it’s a thing, which could be said about many of the things we like. Great for driving any pedants you know crazy. 166 pages.
Artificial Mud, Henry Petroski. This book starts with the never-thought-about-before problem of how to simulate mud for purposes of training umpires in smearing a little on baseballs so they aren’t quite so shiny, and to the further applications of training engineers in how to build stuff on mud so it doesn’t sink quite so badly, and then turns into every other book Henry Petroski ever wrote about forty pages in. The book itself gets confused and about midway through turns into a history of paper cups before finally getting back around to why candles are, or are not. 682 pages.
The Great Computer Strikes, by Jerry Saviuk. This neglected mid-70s science fiction novel from the “Isaac Asimov of Plumed Smoke, Nebraska”, forecasts a day when the world’s computer strikes, to the consternation of the world which counted on it to simulate all known or expected baseball games. The resulting lightly comic tale tells of the rediscovery of human-played baseball, although because they misunderstood something they try playing by skating on frozen ponds, allowing the Century City Astros to beat the Burbank Phillies, winning the World Series and the Stanley Cup at once. 192 pages.