Imatge de l'autor
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Sobre l'autor

Simon Garfield is the author of several acclaimed books, including "The End of the Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS", winner of the Somerset Maugham Award. He lives in London. (Publisher Provided)
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Obres de Simon Garfield

Es mi tipo: un libro sobre fuentes tipográficas (2012) — Autor — 2,309 exemplars
The Wrestling (1996) 50 exemplars

Obres associades

Granta 91: Wish You Were Here (2005) — Col·laborador — 134 exemplars
A Notable Woman (2015) — Editor; Editor — 82 exemplars
My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letters (2015) — Editor — 30 exemplars


Coneixement comú



On the Map a Maps and Atlases (febrer 2013)


This seemed more a biography of Perkins than an exploration of the discovery of mauve and what it led to. Many interesting developments in medicine and other areas all because of this accidental discovery, though. Fascinating
cspiwak | Hi ha 22 ressenyes més | Mar 6, 2024 |
If you've read his histories of cartography and typography, you'll know what you're in for here. A good popular overview, with interesting examples and some humorous banter. Decent.
JBD1 | Hi ha 18 ressenyes més | Feb 17, 2024 |
And to think it all began with a bike wreck...quite the unusual origin story for a book about time. However, for Garfield, the way in which those very few moments dilated into a perceived eternity became an instant reminder that the concept of "time" is fluid.

I think the work is mistitled: this is not a book about "how" the world became obsessed with fact, it works on the principle that time obsession is part of the fabric of human reality (in different ways and to different degrees, of course). Instead, it reads more like a series of meditations on the nature and expression of a time-obsession that is somehow innate to human nature.

As meditations, each chapter is a stand-alone unit covering a whole range of tangentially time-related topics such as the coming of the railroad, the invention of the metronome, and the origin of the British Museum (among others). If anything, Garfield successfully demonstrates how every conceivable aspect of human existence has a fundamental time-related component.

Garfield's light touch and wit keep the book moving (it feels like a "fast read"); however, I always had the sense that we were "skimming the surface" of a topic worthy of deeper reflection. Yet I couldn't imagine reading with enjoyment a book that delved into the philosophical (yea verily, theological) aspects of humanity's relation to the reality of time (i.e., a book that really delved into the "how" of our time obsession). That was largely (and ironically) so because I didn't have the time.

Was it enjoyable? Yes. Was it worthwhile? Yes, but more for the questions it raised than the answers it gave. Better, I think the answers to those questions necessarily lie outside a cultural history that links the pursuit of the "4 minute mile" to the development of the Swatch.

Perhaps the key to my dissatisfaction here is found in Garfield's choice to conclude the final chapter with a quote from Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot": "Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light," this "mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

While I'm all for greater humility, I couldn't help but think, as I read, of how different the Genesis creation story puts it. In that ancient Hebrew cosmology, humans ARE incredibly important and occupy the MOST privileged place in the and co-rulers of the Creator. If we follow Sagan (and Garfield), it's really difficult to gin up anything in the way of true self-worth or larger purpose ("mote of dust"???).

That's probably the missing piece for me: Garfield treats time as if it's eternal (philosophically speaking, that might very well be a confusion of categories) and humans as if they are innately temporal. In reality (at least, the way the Bible describes it), it's the other way around: humans are eternal entities existing in a time-bound reality. (Is there a better explanation for why our relationship with time is so fraught? Why are dreams and plans and ambitions always seem to outrun the clock?)

But it wouldn't be right to say I'm disappointed because Garfield "missed" this. In fact, I don't think I've ever formulated the distinction between a "secular" and a "religious" worldview in quite that way. And I couldn't have done so without taking the time to ponder with Garfield the wondrous reality of time.
… (més)
Jared_Runck | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Jan 6, 2024 |
I read this because one of the 4 writers is my husband's great-uncle, and initially I planned to just kind of read his parts and skip over everyone else's, but I found myself getting pulled into all of the stories and ended up reading the entire book. It was surprisingly interesting - I kept reading excerpts out loud to my family. Not a book I would ever have picked up on my own, but I really ended up enjoying it.
karenhmoore | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Jan 1, 2024 |



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