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Struggling to Read “Lawrence in Arabia”

War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Unbelievably Boring Start to the Story of How American Business Destroyed the World

Scott Anderson, Lawrence in ArabiaI’m currently listening to Scott Anderson’s “Lawrence in Arabia” through my Libby library audiobook app and it is remarkably unengaging.

I’m struggling. Would it be better to read rather than listen to it? I’m not sure if that would matter much—there is so much history and political maneuvering, so many individuals beyond the principle figures that are constantly being introduced and threaded into the convoluted history of European and American interference in the Middle East on the brink of war that I’m constantly listening to portions again but coming away not at all more sure of what is happening.

T.E. Lawrence At a quarter of the way through it still feels like an introduction. Although, as I write this, Anderson is now touching on the beginnings of the Armenian Genocide, the German spy who’s brother and nephew would both go on to be the first and seventh presidents of Israel, and the scathingly passive aggressive letters Lawrence sent his incredibly abusive mother regarding the death of his youngest brother, who was her favorite child.

So, one hopes I spoke too soon and the threads of crumbling empires at war, religious communities searching for political identities and oil-hungry corporations manipulating them all begin to tighten together into a more engaging narrative.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what else I’ve been reading….

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Asterisk at Society6

Based on a vintage plastic bag design from the Buffalo & Erie County Library in Buffalo, New York, this design is available in two versions; with the light border that was featured on the original plastic bag that resembles a Polaroid photo, and one without.

Originally I was only going to make a replica of the original design with the border, but after removing it, I actually like the version without it better. You can click the images below to check out both versions, Asterisk and Asterisk Instant, and leave some comments about which you like better.

Library Card 5478 / The New Atlantis

img_3085This library card comes from a copy of Francis Bacon’s “Essays and the New Atlantis”, and shows it’s circulation throughout the 1980s.

Bacon is considered the father of empiricism and the scientific method for his position that knowledge can only be based on inductive reasoning and careful observation, with the use of a skeptical and methodical approach.

In addition to his contributions to science, Bacon also donated greatly to libraries, even developing a system of cataloging books by dividing them into three categories and further breaking those down into subjects and subheadings.

In his novel, “The New Atlantis”, Bacon created a utopia which was to represent what he considered the greatest aspects of human civilization; a community based on scientific enlightenment, generosity; in which the collected scientific knowledge was shared equally with all for ultimate betterment of society. At the center of this society was a state-sponsored scientific institution that served as the blueprint for what he considered the ideal college or what we think of today as a scientific research university.

It should be pointed out that due to Bacon’s death in 1626, this novel about the perfect society was left unfinished and its promise unfulfilled. Would the newcomers to this ideal society thrive in their new environment? Or did they represent the corruption of the European state, and would seek to take advantage of the scientific discoveries of Bensalem, to use them for their own gain rather then the greater, societal good, and cause conflict on the island?

Visit our shop on Society6 to see this library card and more on a variety of great products!

 

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