David Rooney, author of About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks recommends some brilliant books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out David's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
I first read Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built in the late 1990s and it fundamentally shifted the way I see not just the built environment, but every aspect of the modern world – the ways people co-exist, over long timescales, with the technologies they and their predecessors constructed. It’s a brilliant and subtle study that I recommend often.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I’m currently reading Joyce Appleby’s The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism. So far I am finding it a richly textured and compelling account of global structures that many take for granted, but which have histories. Understanding those histories better seems crucial if we are to understand the long-term development of society.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
A series of books I read and re-read constantly as a kid was Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels. I’ve still got them all here on my shelves so perhaps I’ll give them another spin, actually.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
All three, in their ways. I can flip around the pages of printed books easily and quickly; mark up notes in the margin; and they stay on my shelves forever. The Kindle is great when I’m out and about, or reading in low light (I mean the pub) where I can increase the type size. I’m only just starting to get into audiobooks, which are becoming a great accompaniment to the daily walks of lockdown and beyond.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
I genuinely love all bookshops and all booksellers. Picking just one is invidious. But I shall, hoping the others will forgive me. I’ve been shopping at South Kensington Books (and its predecessors) for about 25 years. Always warm, friendly, welcoming and well-stocked. If you’re in London and visiting the museums, you should definitely call in.
Many thanks to David for recommending some brilliant books! Please don't forget to check out David's book About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks .
Image Copyrights: Penguin Books Ltd (About Time), Penguin Putnam Inc (How Buildings Learn), (The Relentless Revolution) WW Norton & Co, Pan Macmillan, Pan Books (The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy).