Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"What you read today ...

In an earlier post, I mentioned that having the luxury of time to read books is one of life's pleasures. Much as I long for my own iLiad by iRex, the e-Book reader now available through Dymocks in Australia at a whopping retail price of AU$899, I am still of the view that much pleasure can be derived from the tactile experience of turning pages while nose deep reading a book.

Recently, in one of my regular lunchbreak visits to a couple of second-hand / antiquarian bookshops, I stumbled upon a 1953 hardcover copy of Marston Bates' Where Winter Never Comes. Joy! I finally got my own copy.

But why do we keep books? Gary Lines suggests that books are a silent summary of one's personality, intellect, interests and most likely a reflection of influences. Gary Lines contends that books are a person's cheaper curriculum vitae as they don't have to be new.

Anyhow, Where Winter Never Comes (1953) is one of the seminal books that supported the notion that the beginnings of civilization were achieved in the tropical regions. Bates opposed the extreme positions of the environmental determinists regarding the tropical climate as quite hopeless for civilization. Bates argues that most of the human evolution took place in the tropics.

Having made a somewhat thorough literature review on Environmental Determinism as part of my PhD research, I came across numerous works on the subject and have voraciously read books by late 19th century and early 20th century modern geographers. The university library was just an amazing repository of these interesting literature.

I am now on a quest to track down and secure copies of my own of the following:
Civilization and Climate (1915) by E. Huntington
Environment and Race: A Study of the Evolution, Migration, Settlement and Status of the Races of Man (1927) by G.T. Taylor
Climate and the Energy of Nations (1944) by S.F. Markham
Climate Makes the Man (1944) by C.A. Mills

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