5 minute menu
I know. You haven’t got time to read a book. But with an investment of just 5 minutes of your time you can have a life changing, or at least mind changing experience.
or think of it as a tapas
Read the menu and take your pick. The librarians will bring it out for you.
or would you prefer something to share?
Pick up the cloudspotter’s handbook and read up on what’s outside. You could then drop it in to your next conversation.
Read ‘Chatto book of dissent’ for the voice of John Ball peasant’s revolt on the simple truth of equality.
Look at the page that maps the all different local words for ‘left handed’ in ‘The complete atlas of the British isles’
Pull out the ‘atlas of ancient history’ and see the direction of the emergence of modern humans (p. 12) and the first cities (24).
What was that last insect you saw? Identify it in, ‘what is that?’ a comprehensive guide to UK nature. Then read about it in the ‘secret life of insects’ and ‘life in the undergrowth’.
Read about some food to forage near you.
Check out ‘the alternative England and Wales’ for what was popular with freaks in your area. I don’t know when exactly from the seventies it was from as front two pages ripped out and its a bit scribbled on but still totally worth a look for a blast from the past.
Quickly plan your death. We’ll lend you a bit of paper if you like. The new Natural Death handbook.
Take longer and plan your small holding with ‘the complete illustrated self sufficiency’ guide.
Pull about the illustrated human body and read about a part of you. Then read the closest relevant part in ‘the science of you’ for an interesting romp through the wow of your body.
What are you holding in your hand? Read up about the element in the periodic table book.
check out the turd gallery in ‘animal tracks and signs’ 169
want to understand the mechanism of smell 147, your meninges 116 or any bit of our fabulous complexity then check out ‘human body’ the illustrated guide.
‘the way things work’ lays out beautiful and clear drawings for nearly everything you will ever have used, from drills to jet engines. A real favourite.
30 second theories helps explain everything that you might have heard of but not understood in a one page format. Hooray!
Read up on why dogs aren’t looking to be put in their place ‘In defence of dogs’
Read about the history of your favourite drug and its prohibition in ‘out of it’.
Read history through eye witness accounts in the faber book of reportage and ‘blood of spain’
Have a quick trip through a different culture. Pick out a myth at random from ‘mythology an illustrated encyclopedia’, read it, then read about that country in a history book. Not content to be an armchair traveller, plan your trip there as well.
Read some of the folklore associated with near where you live in ‘folklore myths and legends of Britain’.
While in the travel section stop by Julian Cope’s master work on megalithic Britain ‘the modern antiquarian’. Check out the stones in your area but also read one or two of the essays at the beginning. I particularly recommend ‘the book of ur’ p.47 for a glimpse into how our ancient past filters down the years and the words.
make tin can lanterns and see what ideas people had for recycling in 1975 ‘recycle your rubbish’ or go the whole hog and dip into ‘the complete book of self sufficiency’ “for those who seek an improved quality of life” (and learn how to make bread, hay and butter etc.).
SAS survival guide handbook. Punch a shark. Build a shelter. With these handy tips nothing nature can throw you will faze you any more.
Improve your arguing- pick up the guide to critical thinking and effective argument.
How about checking out where art history and gender politics collide. See an example of subjective opinion masquerading as objective interpretation in a piece of Minoan Art. Look at ‘Sister wendy’s story of painting’ p.14 “the torreador fresco” v p.45 section 2 ‘Art a world history’ then judge for yourself. Sister Wendy is an unexpectedly good read (my fault for making presumptions about a nun), maybe browse some of the rest of the book.
‘estates: an intimate history’ definitely worth reading the whole of this excellent book which weaves personal history with that of the history of the whole estate building project and its motivations. But if pressed for time you can get a flavour from around p.82 on class, 127 about broadwater riot, 137 right to buy 212 on why NHS and state ed worked better than social housing.
Got a diesel motor? How about contemplating a veg oil conversion ‘from the fryer to the fuel tank’
Not feeling the words right now? But still want to be injected with some wonder of the universe?
- Voyager photos of stars and galaxies
- Weather- every page a stunner
- On a bummer? ‘cute baby animals’ will surely sort you out
- humans- royal geographical Society illustrated- showcasing homo sapiens