Here's a post-Xmas pile of books, in case you're interested. I'm always intrigued by what other people are reading, and love to take a sly or obvious look at what they choose to put on their bookshelves, in real life or on the internet.
I've been known to get a magnifying glass out so I can peruse the bookshelves in a magazine photograph.
And I love it when people put an image of their latest pile of bedside reading on their blogs or wherever the pix go these days.
This pile had some classics in it. The one I want to single out just now is The Book of Secrets by the magnificent Fiona Kidman. This evergreen that has never been out of print since first publication in 1987 has recently been reissued in a new edition and has become a bestseller all over again. I had never read it before (not being naturally drawn to historical fiction, although I am overcoming that prejudice by discovering that the genre doesn't entirely consist of sentimental nonsense and bodice-ripping). I was in for a great pleasure, a good read, and a learning experience about a clearly well-researched topic: the settlement of Waipu by a religious community. Another superb work of literary/historical fiction by Fiona Kidman that I can recommend is The Captive Wife.
The Christmas pile. I know. Lucky huh? And what is it now, March? April?! Well actually I got through quite a bit of recreational reading over the glorious summer break. We didn't know it was a drought back then, so it was just an enjoyably uncomplicated long stretch of wonderful weather able to be savoured without guilt at the plight of the farmers and the wildlife and the water catchments.
One of the pile of treasured volumes that came into my life around Christmas time wasThe Margaret Mahy Treasury (Puffin, 2012)a lovely large hard cover illustrated edition of eleven of Margaret's most well-known and well-loved stories. With a CD of her reading some of them! Who could resist? Not me. Every now and then I read a story aloud to the bloke. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
"Schrödinger's cat, the enduring icon of quantum mechanics, has been defied. By making constant but weak measurements of a quantum system, physicists have managed to probe a delicate quantum state without destroying it – the equivalent of taking a peek at Schrodinger's metaphorical cat without killing it."
Some more photos of a louche chap who very quickly took over the running of the show - commandeering the favourite chair, encroaching upon the favourite pillow at night, and dominating the available table or desk space. Do we mind? Nah-ah. It's a privilege, little fellow.
The Tabbyssinian is a law unto himself. Old Tabby was not allowed on tables and she knew to keep off them (if we were watching). New Tabby is a force of nature, heavier than the upper limit of a piece of allowable cabin baggage (7 kilos), and strong enough to batter open French doors and cupboard doors, and to hook a paw into sliding doors and shunt them open sideways. While he is awake, he never stops his enquiries, his inspections, his offers of help. Keep him off the table? Don't even think about it. In fact, place a nice woolly blanket there for when he's in the 'off' position.
According to the famous mathematical thought experiment, Schroedinger's cat is neither dead nor alive. So it's a cool concept if you don't like being locked into binaries. Not so good if you don't like being locked into a lethal booby-trapped box. And from the cat's point of view, there is no ambiguity at all.