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#199197 - Fri Oct 31 2003 01:12 PM November Book Club - The Map...
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The November Book Club Choice is "The Map that changed the World" by Simon Winchester. Published under the Viking label by Penguin Press ISBN is 0-670-88407-3

This recently published (2001) book is the story of the son of an English Blacksmith called William Smith.
It is what I would call "Faction" a story with a fair bit of truth told as a story of what "actually" happened intermixed with hindsight by the author.
I hope you enjoy the tale. (and learn a little about life in Britain in the 1750-1850 period)

John
Fosse4

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#199198 - Fri Oct 31 2003 07:36 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
MotherGoose Offline
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Dear Fosse,

When you've read it, let me know what you think. I haven't read it although the topic sounds fascinating. The thing that puts me off, however, is the fact that Simon Winchester wrote it. I read his "The Surgeon of Crowthorne" - in my opinion, a great story badly told. As my grandfather would say, Winchester could make a long story out of urinating in the wind (I cleaned that up - Grandfather would have been a lot more blunt!). Talk about verbose!

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#199199 - Sat Nov 01 2003 11:37 AM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
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Mothergoose, I have read it, that's why I recommended it for the book club. I accept what your saying about Faction books but I found this to be a fascinating read. I havn't read any of the authors other books so I couldn't comment on them.
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#199200 - Sat Nov 01 2003 09:30 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
MotherGoose Offline
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Fosse, I love "faction" books. I just found I didn't like Simon Winchester's verbose style and it put me off reading anything more of his. I will probably read "The Map" eventually. In the meantime, I have a huge stack of books on my bedside table awaiting my attention. I am currently reading "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" which I am enjoying immensely. I have not seen the movie so I have no preconceived ideas about it. When I have read the book, I check out the movie as I like Nicholas Cage.

If you liked "The Map", you'd probably enjoy "The Surgeon of Crowthorne". Its subtitle is "A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary". It's the story of the conception and development of the Oxford English Dictionary. Sounds dull but it's really a fascinating history.
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#199201 - Tue Nov 04 2003 12:57 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
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Is this the same guy that wrote "The Proffessor and the Madman"? I enjoyed that, though I thought the author had some problems with good use of the device of foreshadowing...but I found it an easy, interesting read. I'll check this weekend to see if my library has this one. I'm curbing my book buying...
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#199202 - Wed Nov 05 2003 01:59 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
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Skylarb - yes it's the same author.
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#199203 - Fri Nov 14 2003 07:04 AM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
sebastiancat Offline
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I'm about a 1/3 of the way thru this book and find I am really enjoying it. I encountered the author reading the "Professor and the Madman". While his writing style may not be to everyone's taste I personally enjoy it. He makes a subject that may not necessarily appeal to a large populace pop out of the book.
I enjoy faction books, but there are times when an author can make even a subject i enjoy greatly a chore to plod along with.
I've never been outside of the United States(other than a few forays into Canada) so reading passages where the author describes where the debtor's prisons are situated, the coal mines in the rural lands just completely impresses me, and inspires the desire to see for myself where this all played out. So i must get started on that time machine.
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#199204 - Thu Nov 27 2003 05:25 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
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Nearing the end of the month so can I ask you what you thought of the book, I did choose it because it was "different" to the normal book choices and not wanting to influence any judgements only gave a broad outline of the story. I found it to be a "good read" and did do a bit more research on the subject after reading it, it's basically true with a fair bit of embellishment of the extremes that William Smith, the title character faced during his life.
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#199205 - Sun Nov 30 2003 06:51 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
izzi Offline
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Registered: Sat Jun 15 2002
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It's been almost a year now since I read this one and, as I have passed my copy on to a friend, I no longer have it to refer to. I thoroughly enjoyed it, Fosse, but much preferred "The Floating Egg - Episodes in the Making of Geology" by Roger Osborne, which I have read more recently. Winchester actually refers to it in his book.

One of the chapters had been devoted entirely to the meeting in York between Perkins, Palmer and Smith where he explained his theory of stratigraphy. Others depict events, in less detail, and also some of Smith's diary entries (written by his nephew, John Phillips) on his long and weary path towards gaining the fame he justly deserved.

The rest of the book is a fascinating history of Geology, taking the reader on a whirlwind trip back in time by interspersing relevant, important moments in history with separate chapters, highlighting the various notable fossil finds in and around the Whitby area.

Going back to the book of the month, "The Map That Changed the World" by Simon Winchester, I've found an excellent copy of the actual map online at

www.ethicalathiest.com

I hope that no-one is offended by the choice of site, but this is by far the clearest I could find.

I mentioned earlier in the main Book of the Month thread that Winchester's book had been published under a variety of subtitles. In Britain it's "The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of a Science", elseswhere listed as " the Birth of Modern Geology". I found an explanation for this in an interview with Dave Weich for www.powells.com
Quote:



Dave: The Professor and the Madman - both tell the story of a forgotten scholar. But in terms of how you approached this book, I'd imagine that trying to captivate a reader would present a greater challenge because you're not talking about words, which seems like a likely topic of interest among readers; instead, the subject is geology.

Simon Winchester: I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, in England the subtitle of the book is "The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of a Science" because they were worried that the word geology would comprehensively turn readers off.




The alternative title wouldn't have put me off, how about the rest of you?

(Edited to fix link)


Edited by izzi (Sun Nov 30 2003 06:56 PM)
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#199206 - Tue Dec 02 2003 07:12 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
Chris1013 Offline
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I quite enjoyed reading this book. I'm usually not too much into faction books, but this one was nice to read... well, most of the time. There were a few parts where it was a bit dry and I couldn't really follow. But like I said, over all I enjoyed it and it was educational too
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#199207 - Fri Dec 05 2003 03:33 PM Re: November Book Club - The Map...
TabbyTom Offline
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Like Chris1013, I found this book rather dry at times, maybe just because I canít personally get very interested in geology.

I would agree with Mother Goose that Winchester is rather long-winded: I would think that Smithís story could probably be told in a book no more than half this size. However, I suppose that the scene-setting introductions to many chapters, which struck me as a bit tedious, are more interesting to non-British readers.

But whatever his faults, Simon Winchester should certainly be congratulated for introducing us to a man whom I, for one, had never heard of till now, but who obviously deserves a place in the annals of science.

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