Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lifeline Book Fair

Great haul at the LifeLine Book Fair this spring, it was a good idea to go early on Saturday this time.

Science Fiction and Fantasy:
  • J. Butcher, Storm Front - Book One of the Dresden Files
  • E.R. Eddison, The Worm Ouroboros
  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine
  • J. Wyndham, Trouble with Lichen
  • J. Wyndham, The Kraken Wakes

  • G. Salgado (ed.), Three Jacobean Tragedies

Popular science:
  • E. Chaline, History's Worst Inventions and the People Who Made Them
  • S. Hawking & R. Penrose, The Nature of Space and Time
  • J. Woodford, The Wollemi Pine

For work:
  • I. Clarke & H. Lee, Name that Flower
  • M. Salemi & A.-M. Vandamme, The Phylogenetic Handbook

And for our daughter:
  • T. Dickson, The Universe ... and Beyond 

(And she got a couple more books when she went with her mother in the afternoon.)

As a systematist, I can't help but ponder the difficulties the LifeLine volunteers must have processing and, crucially, classifying the gazillion books they have at every fair. I noticed the autobiography of Richard Dawkins was sorted under General Science, but could just as well have gone into Biographies.

Atheist literature is under Interfaith, next to some theological lubrications. I could not locate a section called Philosophy, wonder where those books would be. There is a massive section for religious books, but also separate sections for Mythology and New Age; where do you draw the line between those? Perhaps if a religion still has believers today, it is under Religion, but if it doesn't it is Mythology? And what about pseudoscience? Creationist books seem to be variously under Science or Religion, but where would I find, say, a book promoting zero point energy? (If I wanted one, that is.)

The difference between Zoology/Botany and Natural History is also a bit unclear to me, but at least those were next to each other. And then there are separate sections for books in languages other than English, and for children's versus adult books, and sometimes for hardcover versus paperback or for different paperback sizes, and in rare cases even for publishers (Penguin).

They will have their system, but it can't be easy to sort that out.

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