Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Two NonFiction

Finished September 26
Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization by W. Hodding Carter
This very engaging book intersperses the author's experiences with plumbing with historical information on the development of plumbing worldwide. He also talks about the future with examples of new technologies, some already in place in certain areas of the world. I found the history very interesting and the most interesting new technology to me was that of biogas systems in India. The systems are used in commercial applications with the organically cleaned wastewater used for gardens and the biogas used to run stoves, waterheaters and other such equipment. Biogas can be used to make electricity as well. Carter's personal experiences are amusing and educating. I have long been a fan of the microhistory and this is a winner.

Finished September 25
Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself by Alan Alda, read by Alan Alda
This book is a collection of sorts. Alda has brought together some of the public addresses that he has given over his life (commencement addresses, memorial talks, etc.) and looked at what drew him to say the things he did, how successful he felt he was at conveying the meaning he wanted to convey, and what he thinks of them in hindsight. He also talks about the philosophical questions he has asked himself over his life, and how many of these talks relate in some way to those questions. Throughout the book he keeps coming back to the question of what makes a life meaningful and comes to answer that works for him. Perhaps it came across more because he is reading this audiobook himself, but I felt the sincerity of what he was saying and his struggle with the questions strongly, and I will definitely be recommending this book. I will also be buying some people I know copies for Christmas!

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