austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

No day, no night, and always the sound

I didn't mention which book-on-CD I did get for the drive. You may not have wondered, but I spent over an hour looking so I'm going to talk about it. After my first couple guesses about something that would satisfy us all turned out to not exist or not be in that library, I guessed if I got a few things I'd hit at least one successfully. So the first was Erik Larson's Devil in the White City, about the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and its resident known serial killer. I thought she'd have liked the serial killer side of things (she loves watching murder-mystery shows). This my mother looked at briefly and sniffed, ``Nah.'' It would run about twice the length of our expected total drive time anyway. She similarly dismissed E M Forster's A Passage to India, which I was interested in reading (I liked ``The Machine Stops'', after all), and would come in at just about the length of our total drive. My father was interested, though.

Accepted was Race To The Pole, by Ranulph Fiennes, about Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen's journey to the south pole. It turns out Dad had listened to it only recently. It also turns out that Fiennes, who's run multiple polar expeditions himself, is very eager to disprove the idea that Scott may have possibly made the slightest misjudgement in his Antarctic expedition as maintained by the people who point out that he and his entire crew died. The result is he very carefully goes over all the evidence and all the reasoning behind every step of everything. On the one hand, it's very reassuring that the book has been carefully researched. On the other hand, I fell asleep at the start of one disc when Fiennes was going over Scott's decision of whether or not to use sled dogs. When I got up at the start of the next disc he was still going over this point. I think he spent more time on Scott's decision than Scott did. It's informative, but it's also like being trapped in an argument with a guy on Usenet who will not let any discussion of (say) United States politics proceed until he has made people impressed with the fact that technically, Horace Greeley was not the Democratic party candidate for President in 1872, even before he died.

Trivia: Alfred Ely Beach's secretly-built pneumatic subway under Manhattan began digging from the basement of Devlin's clothing store at Murray Street on Broadway. Source: Gotham, Edwin G Burrows, Mike Wallace.

Currently Reading: 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and how they Transformed New York, Clifton Hood. And just as New York City resumes pretending that they're building the Second Avenue Subway, the little darlings.


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