Nearly 10% of US book sales this year are reported to have been e-books, and this into a market of immature reading devices whose manufacturers are still in the VHS-Beta stage of “how can we monopolize the market” competition. When this is sorted, and all e-books can be read on any reader, even the aged among us are likely to fall prey to the fashion. Meanwhile, I’m still reading real books, among which the latest tranche of Clive James’ autobiography, The Blaze of Obscurity, stands out for its readability, and for the fascinating insights that it delivers into the TV and publishing industry, and, above all, the male psyche – for Clive’s wry observations on the fairer sex are never less than insightful.
Currently at my bedside, however, is the latest volume in Stacey International’s Independent Thinkers series – Chasing Rainbows by economist Tim Worstall. With an arresting first sentence that leaves Jane Austen for dead – “That’s the sort of drivel that produces conniption fits in economists” – this book is an entertaining and deadly analysis of how policy measures prompted by Green activism more often than not end up harming the environment. Other books in the series are similarly excellent, including especially Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion and John Etherington’s The Wind Farm Scam. For those interested in intelligent and penetrating analyses of environmental shibboleths, Stacey International books should be a first stop.
James’ and Worstall’s books are both characterised by a sardonic humour that provides welcome respite from the real world farce that represents current environmental policies, including especially those on global warming, in most western countries. To see the degradation of our governance systems by Green activist politics in grand historical perspective, there is no better read than Ernst Gombrich’s amazingly succinct yet informative A Little History of the World, the future equivalent of which will surely have to contain a paragraph, perhaps even a short chapter, on “Global warming and other environmental madnesses at the turn of the 20th century”.Next year, e-books anyone?