Monday, March 26, 2007

Taking the Big Dirt Nap, and Penguins

When you find yourself looking at your books on death and dying, and:

decide that it's time to divide them into three categories (general, forensics [anthropological and psychological], and those relating to prisons and the death penalty);

realize that forensics should be divided further between physical forensics and psychological forensics -- e.g. rates of decomposition vs. profiling unsubs -- and should you shelf them that way?

realize that "general" includes everything from societal attitudes towards dying to end-of-life care to early 19th century resurrectionists;

and further realize that you should include Lynch's book Bodies at Motion and at Rest: Essays;

and that you knew who Lynch is;

and that you didn't have enough room on one shelf for all the death books;

and that the graphic/comic The Big Book of Death was one selected to be shelved flat on top of the others, together with The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers;

It gives one pause. I paused for five full minutes staring blankly at the bookshelf.

I've decided that there's no way I can deal with all my non-fiction in one day.

I've decided that curling up with The Worst Journey in the World or Scott's Last Expedition -- The Journals and a pint of Ben & Jerry's sounds mighty good right now.

I've decided I should post that quote from Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the one that ends his book:

And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore. If you are a brave man you will do nothing: If you are fearful, you may do much, for none but cowards have need to prove their bravery. Some will tell you that you are mad, and nearly all will say, "What is the use?" For we are a nation of shopkeepers, and no shopkeeper will look at research which does not promise him a financial return within a year. And so you will sledge nearly alone, but those with whom you sledge will not be shopkeepers: That is worth a great deal. If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg.

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