Friday, 13 June 2014

A Bit of Friday Bookspotting

After a couple of days off, I'm back again for some more bookspotting. Only one book spotted this morning. It was 'Free at Last' by Tony Benn. It spent the whole 20 minutes I was on the train on the table not being read, the woman whose book it was seemed more interested in chatting than reading. Maybe it is the sort of book she wants to be seen reading but isn't enjoying. Or maybe not.


Tony was a career politician, and served as a Labour MP for 47 years between 1950 and 2001. He was very left wing, all for the working man which was very interesting as his father was a hereditary peer. On his father's death Tony Benn was due to inherit his father's title, but this would have prevented him continuing as an MP. He fought for and successfully won the right to renounce his title. He was a great writer, diarist and public speaker (I once went to one of his courses at an economics conference in London). I've always respected Tony Benn as being one of the few conviction politicians - he would do anything as long as it was right, sticking up for his constituents.

He was a real serial political diarist, nine volumes in all spanning thousands of pages. I am sure it would be an amazing experience to read through all of the diaries,you'd learn an awful lot of history and politics as well as find out about a great man. The only problem for me is that I wouldn't want to just read one, I'd want to read them all and that's a hell of a lot of reading.

The train was slightly delayed again this afternoon, so I was hanging around the station waiting for a while. It was literally packed on the platforms, there must have been a couple of hundred people. Literally at least a hundred people must have been on their mobile phones but only one person was reading a book. It took a couple of passes for me to get a clear view. It was 'Scott's Last Expedition' by Robert Falcon Scott. Basically, these again are diaries (it was obviously a diaries day), but in this case, these were Scott's diaries of his expedition to reach the South Pole between 1910 and 1912. He achieved this, but he wasn't the first as Norway's Roald Amundsen got there first. Scott's expedition hit misfortune, and he and his team died of cold and starvation only 11 miles from base camp. The journals were discovered with his body, several months after he died.

I then got on the train, but that was a complete blank, no reading (other than me that is - I was reading of course). It's the weekend now, so I doubt I'll spot anyone reading until next week, but I'll keep my eyes peeled!