Monday, 1 June 2009

Time to read some books!


What a strange feeling it is! With the Open University course now all wrapped up, I'm left with a slightly empty feeling! No assignment to aim for? No deadline to meet? Weird!?!

Having got over that realisation now, I find I am able to go ahead and read a book without having to necessarily write a 500 word appraisal of it, (mind you, the type of books I read, I tend to do that in my head anyway!) So at least now I am able to get stuck into my two 'birthday books'. My mum and dad gave me some money for my birthday, so I purchased 2 geology books would you believe?

Firstly, I got a book called "The Earth After Us", by Jan Zalasiewicz. In this book, the author imagines what a population of alien visitors to Earth would make of our planet when they arrive 100 million years from now, long after the human being has gone the same way as the Dodo. What have we humans left behind in the fossil record? What will these aliens make of the 'human stratum' and how will they judge us? I've just started this one and it's a fascinating read as I've often wondered myself, what evidence of our lives will be left millons of years from now? What will the remains of say, a landfill site look like millions of years from now? Bottles, both glass and plastic, mountains of diposable nappies, all compressed and changed into another form presumably, but what? I'll read on and see what unfolds!

Incidentally, by pure coincidence, Jan Zalasiewicz just happens to be a lecturer in Geology at Leicester University and I met him and had a brief chat while at an open day at the Uni last July! When I spotted the book in Waterstones a while ago, I recognised the name from somewhere, but couldn't place it. A quick look at the sleeve notes and the penny dropped!

The second book is one I've been itching to buy ever since I heard about it's imminent publication. Following my family's trip to Arizona last year, I've been fascinated not only by the Canyon, but the whole of the Colorado Plateau area. While there, I bought a book by Wayne Ranney (I may have mentioned it before within this blog? Maybe a million times?) called 'Carving Grand Canyon', which is a superb book, detailing the theories and mysteries surrounding the possible formation of Grand Canyon. Well, the multitude of staggering geological wonders to be found in the American southwest are inextricably linked to the ever changing Colorado Plateau and this is the subject of Wayne Ranney's latest book "Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau".

Written in collaboration with his onetime Northern Arizona University lecturer Ron Blakey, this publication is a truly stunning book! I only picked it up from the postal depot this morning, but a brief flick through it's pages reveal Ron's palaeogeographical maps in all their glory. Let's not beat around the bush - Ron's ground breaking maps are a work of utter genius (see the slideshow of his world maps at the lower right column of this blog!) and their publication is long overdue! Together with loads of explanatory diagrams and Wayne's text, it looks an absolute gem of a book! I'll let you know more and maybe do my own little reviews of these books at a later date.

Cheers for now!

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