Showing posts with label EH Gombrich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EH Gombrich. Show all posts

Friday 21 April 2017

Read A Book .... You Never Know What You Might Find Out

Groucho Marx once remarked on the educational value of television. "Every time someone turns on the TV, I go into another room and read a book". The quote is not exact but you get the idea.

While I like reading books, my mum taught me to read before I went to primary school aged 4, and I remember something about a dog and some kids and the word "pretty" which I pronounced wrongly when I first read it, there were two instances that caused me to be disappointed related to books.

One was when my mum gave away two sets of vintage encyclopedias because she decided she "didn't like books anymore", but one of those sets was a vintage set from my grandma on my dad's side and the other was one that my mum had worked hard to buy after being sold them by an Australian door to door salesman who she mistakenly believed was a friend of my uncle (her brother) who had gone out to Australia on an assisted passage in the sixties. Those sets of encyclopedias were my internet in the sixties and early seventies and I am thankful to my mum and dad for making sure I had access to lots of reading material. It was really because it was so unexpected which is why I was disappointed.

A couple of years ago for World Book Night (which for the first time I am not taking part in because it's become very corporate and they now expect you to give away books you have or be a recognised "organisation" to take part and that's a third disappointment), I gave away "A Little History Of The World" by EH Gombrich , a great book for parents and children, and one person who had two children said "That's going straight in the dustbin", I asked for it back but he said "You gave it to ME, it's mine now".

Anyway that's about book disappointments in among positives , but I'm reading "The Age Of Bowie" by Tony Morley, and I was well aware of Anthony Newley's influence on David Bowie, usually as sub Dick Van Dyke cockney on "Laughing Gnome" and I was aware of Newley's entertainment, middle England compartmentalisation, and always found him a little annoying. Reading Morley's book I today found out that Newley along with Leslie Bricusse composed "Feelin' Good", covered by Nina Simone, Muse and many others. The song is from the 1964 musical, "The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd.". The two also collaborated with John Barry for Shirley Bassey's theme for the James Bond film "Goldfinger.

So basically reading a book has raised Anthony Newley in my estimation and his version of "Feelin' Good" as not bad at all. I thought it would be mannered and rubbish, especially being from a musical (I'm generally not a fan of musicals), but it's not, it is very good, listen to it.

Anyway it's Friday, the sun is shining and it's World Record Store Day tomorrow, so have a great day everyone.

Monday 15 April 2013

The Books Are Here

This is it for 2013
Just picked up my books for distribution on World Book Night 2013 next week. A slightly different documentation / tracking idea this year means I have to physically sign each one , though luckily there are only 20.

This is the first book I hadn't read before choosing it , but bought myself a copy and read it cover to cover. It's very easy to read an I learned some Chinese charaters as well as quite a bit of other  historical titbits.

It's a wonderful book for parents to read with children to pique their interest in history from the biginiing of the world to modern times.

It's generally jargon free and is very good in pointing people towards other sources for extra detail.

Anyway I need to now get my pen out and start signing the things ready for next weeks distribution.

Saturday 30 March 2013

A Little History Of The World

Every Home Should Have One
I've started reading this book by Ernst Gombrich and four chapters in I've convinced that any family that has children under ten should have a copy of this. It's written in a simple, generally jargon free manner and is likely to spark interest and questins from inquisitive minds.

It's nice to come across something positive for young children and also to able to promote it as I shall be doing on April 28th.

Books stimulate the mind whether on paper or in ebook format and all children should be encouraged to read from as early an age as possible even if teachers don't like it .

Both my daughters knew their alphabet and the use of upper and lower case by the time they started school and amazingly some teachers said this was wrong. Luckily their primary school in Sunderland encouraged their reading and both had finished the Lord of The Rings by the age onf 10. I only started on the Hobbit at that age!

Friday 29 March 2013

Books and Records and Ali G

Well I've jusst finished the excellent Tony Benn biography by Jad Adams , discovering lots of things about someone who must be close on the most respected politician ever. The book is surprising readable obviously helped by it's subject mater or an caring idealist , a stunning orator who had the intelligence outspeak opponents without ever getting flustered. His encounter with Ali G / Sacha Baron Cohen  showed him taking matters seriously rather than pandering to sreotypes resulting in Sacha Baron Cohen writing to Benn thanking him for being the only person to react with skill and integrity to Ali G's inane stereotypical questioning.

Anyway this means I've started "A Little History Of The |World" by Ernst Gombrich which is the book I've chosen to distribute on World Book Night on Tuesday April 23rd 2013 on my train back from work between Darlington and Newcastle. The preface tells of the genesis of the book which is entertaining in itself , I was going to tell you about it but the copy on the Amazon page does that very well , so I'll include that here:

"In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks, and Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser was published in Vienna to immediate success, and is now available in twenty-five languages across the world. Toward the end of his long life, Gombrich embarked upon a revision and, at last, an English translation. A Little History of the World presents his lively and involving history to English-language readers for the first time. Superbly designed and freshly illustrated, this is a book to be savoured and collected. In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colourful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind's experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity's achievements and an acute witness to its frailties. The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history."

I've said it previous posts why I chose the book and have started reading it , and finding it well written , in terms a child could understand, really a book that should be in every household especially if there are young children. It is the sorting of book theat stimulates interest and inquisitiveness and will inevetibly have them asking "Why?" in a good way.

Three days before that it's National Record Shop Day which will mean long queues out of RPM , Reflex and Beatdown in Newcastle and bands playing and street entertainment and chasing limited editions onf vinyl artefacts worldwide.Every year it's getting bigger and better , and as for the demise of record shops , don't believe a word of it , the best ones are still with us . I was recently surprised to find excellent record shops in York and Bakewell , and as long as a shop is welcoming and able to adapt they will attract customers. Often people complain about the cost of music and I point outthis fact:

In 1975 Pink Floyd released Wish You Were Here in an unfeasible shrink wrapped plastic bag, containing postcards etc (maybe that was Dark Side of The Moon which did contain posters and stickers). Anyway I'd just left school and was geeting job seekers allowance which was £3.25 .... the same price of the new Pink Floyd album. Needless to say I didnt go out that week.

So if albums had kept pace with Job Seekers Allowance the cost of an album would now be around £60 !! I recently took deliver of The Blue Oyser Cult's Columbia Album box set (17 discs) which cost me £46 and that was funded by a MyVoice voucher and Hilton Honors voucher so I didnt rwally even pay for it. So music today is better value than ever.