Sunday Morning Book Thread 10-25-2020
Good morning to all you ‘rons, ‘ettes, lurkers, and lurkettes, wine moms, frat bros, crétins sans pantalon (who are technically breaking the rules), ghoulis, zombies, banshees, mummies, and the rest of you out there doing the ‘monster mash’. Welcome once again to the stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, a weekly compendium of reviews, observations, snark, witty repartee, hilarious bon mots, and a continuing conversation on books, reading, spending way too much money on books, writing books, and publishing books by escaped oafs and oafettes who follow words with their fingers and whose lips move as they read. Unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it’s these pants, worn by this guy I hired as a babysitter after I saw his advertisement on Craigslist. Says he loves kids. Seems OK.
The State Library Victoria is the main library of the Australian state of Victoria. Located in Melbourne, it was established in 1854 as the Melbourne Public Library, making it Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world. It is also Australia’s busiest library and, as of 2018, the fourth most-visited library in the world.
The library’s vast collection includes over two million books and 350,000 photographs, manuscripts, maps and newspapers, with a special focus on material from Victoria, including the diaries of the city’s founders, John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, the folios of Captain James Cook, and the armour of Ned Kelly.
So it’s kind of like a museum, then.
This Ned Kelly fellow sounds interesting. Not only was he played by Mick Jagger in an eponymous 1970 movie, but a number of books have been written about him and his gang, including Ned Kelly by [name redacted]:
Love him or loathe him, Ned Kelly has been at the heart of Australian culture and identity since he and his gang were tracked down in bushland by the Victorian police and came out fighting, dressed in bulletproof iron armour made from farmers’ ploughs.
Historians still disagree over virtually every aspect of the eldest Kelly boy’s brushes with the law. Did he or did he not shoot Constable Fitzpatrick at their family home? Was he a lawless thug or a noble Robin Hood, a remorseless killer or a crusader against oppression and discrimination? Was he even a political revolutionary, an Australian republican channelling the spirit of Eureka?
…From Kelly’s early days in Beveridge, Victoria, in the mid-1800s, to the Felons’ Apprehension Act, which made it possible for anyone to shoot the Kelly gang, to Ned’s appearance in his now-famous armour, prompting the shocked and bewildered police to exclaim ‘He is the devil!’ and ‘He is the bunyip!’, FitzSimons brings the history of Ned Kelly and his gang exuberantly to life, weighing in on all of the myths, legends and controversies generated by this compelling and divisive Irish-Australian rebel.
This book is almost 900(!) pages long, so for the $12.99 asking price, you’re getting a lot of reading.
Let me [LoM] just add in this. The picture above is the Library as it now is with no one around and the pic below is from the time before Insanity descended.