Offences against the library

Unshelved, 9 February 2009.


Big Books

(Original title was “I like big books and I cannot lie…”, but my nerve failed me!)

Catching up on a post I forgot to share, here are some lovely articles and posts about the “World’s Biggest Bookstore” (WBB) in Toronto, which isn’t actually what it says it is, but is still pretty big. The former bowling alley (no, I’m serious) in Toronto has more of my money than I have, and is also a direct cause of excess baggage fees on flights back to Ireland. I hope they’re happy 😉

On a more sombre note, the Guardian books blog has a post, Three for the price of three, with some very interesting comments in response to the thoughtful post.

My Number One Fan


In other news, Harvard Square’s reputation for bookstores is well deserved. Today I bought:

  • Consumed – Benjamin Barber (“How markets corrupt children, infantilize adults, and swallow citizens whole”)
  • The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties- Coombe (ethnograpic approach to authorship and copyright – author Rosemary Coombe is at York University in Toronto)
  • The Success of Open Source – Weber (history/analysis of open source software)
  • The Anarchist in the Library – Sida Vaidhyanathan (a favourite of mine, so now I can stop borrowing it from the library)
  • Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee – Nat Hentoff (classic Hentoff rant on free speech from an absolutist perspective)
  • Harvard Rules – Richard Bradley (account of Lawrence Summers’ tenure as head of Harvard, although written before his departure!)

All bar the last being thesis-related (some more so than others), and the whole bill being a little more than €20 (across two shops and one stall).

Books books books

This added up to about seven kilos, nearly pushing me into excess baggage territory again…

Half-price review copies of Canadiana/Canadian politics published within the last couple of weeks (an absolute steal!):

  • Roy MacGregor, Canadians
  • Andrew Cohen, The Unfinished Canadian


  • Jamey Heath, Dead Centre (NDP insider on Canadian politics – not published here)
  • Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse (just getting around to picking up the paperback edition. I have a (wait for it) signed copy of his first book, from when he spoke in TCD).


  • Lawrence Lessig, Code v 2.0 (replacing PDF)
  • Graham Fraser, Sorry, I Don’t Speak French (out last year in Canada, now in PB and Fraser has since become Official Languages Commissioner!)
  • Wayne Skene, Fade To Black: A Requiem for the CBC (out of print, early 90s, ex-library copy).
  • Carpenter & McLuhan, Explorations in Communication (early 50s, extremely out of print, so delighted to find).

Harold Innis:

  • Empire and Communications (new paperback edition, meaning that this book is finally back in print)
  • Marginal Man (Watson’s lengthy biography, just out in paperback from U of T press)

Brief histories:

Spotted these in a bargain bin for great value: A Brief History Of The Future (nothing to do with John Naughton’s book!) and A Brief History of Globalization.