The Broken Shore

I am too daunted to attempt a proper review of The Broken Shore by Peter Temple, which I have just read. I have read many reviews of this book over the past months on various blogs, I’ve bought it, but have not read it — until the announcement that it has won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for this year made me do so out of shame.

Every blog post I’ve read about the award has lauded the book. Now that I’ve finished it, I can only add my admiration to everyone else’s. It is a wonderful book, with many layers. The crime fiction element only really kicks in for the last quarter, and at this stage you just have to sit down and read it all because it is intense. The main, earlier part of the book is slow-burn character study, beautiful placeism and mysterious back story, all creating an atmospheric world that is a pleasure to sink into each time you open the pages. There is drama, sadness and insight. The everyday casual brutalities of racism and ruination of the beautiful, grand environment of this most wonderful continent are compellingly conveyed. It is a book that will repay a second read, that’s for sure.

Print on demand edges forwards

The Espresso machine, currently on loan to the New York public library system where users can print free copies of about 200,000 public-domain books and a few others, costs about £25,000 to buy (and measures 8 by 5 feet), but its makers are in talks with several bookstores and libraries about leasing it — and making it faster and smaller (4 by 5), about the size of a photocopier. According to a recent Bookseller, Matthew Crockatt, a London independent bookseller, would love one. "We are a small shop and having a self-service print-on-demand machine on site would mean we could potentially have every book in print…It’s now just down to the publishers to come on board." Bill Samuel, vice-chairman of Foyle’s bookshop, said "The hardware seems to be there. The software needs to be sorted. But there is a definite market…."

The future is on its way: slowly maybe, but it will arrive.

Desirable scientific addresses

Matt  Brown at Nature Network’s Editor’s blog has listed the top ten most desirable addresses for London scientists. These are all genuine addresses listed in London’s A to Z. Amazingly, I lived at the number 1 address on his list for eight years.

1. Agar Grove, NW1
2. Flask Walk, NW3
3. Bunsen Street, E3
4. Doctors Close, SE26
5. Ion Square, E2
6. Tweezers Alley, WC2
7. Scales Road, N17
8. Magnet Road, HA9
9. Electric Avenue, SW9
10. Conference Road, SE2

Do you have any scientific addresses in your own local area?