Introductions

ForumCommodity Histories & Micro-Histories

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Introductions

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1fannyprice
Nov. 8, 2007, 1:33pm

I see there are just two of us here, but let's start an introductions thread.

lindsetnichols, I see from your library that you've got a lot of commodity histories. What got you interested in this field? I confess I've read very little on this topic but I am interested in reading more. I couldn't get into Salt, despite really liking Mark Kurlansky's A Basque History of the World, which touches on salt and cod commodity trades. Do you have a particular recommendation out of your library of these books?

2_Zoe_
Nov. 8, 2007, 2:46pm

We were just talking about this kind of book recently in another group! I haven't actually read any of these books yet, but I plan to. I'm going to keep an eye on this group to get suggestions for readable books in strange Dewey categories, and maybe some of the books on our lists will be of interest to you.

3twomoredays
Nov. 8, 2007, 4:21pm

How exciting to find out that some one else is interested in these types of books. I, too, must confess to being somewhat limited in my reading so far, but I really do like the idea.

Stiff is the only book I can recall off the top of my head and I must admit, it wasn't actually my favorite. it was good, but there's something about Roach's writing style that irritates me just the slightest. Anyway, I'll be interested to see what others come up with.

4LynnB
Nov. 9, 2007, 7:08pm

I really liked Cod and The Basque History of the World is on my TBR shelf. I don't know if this counts, but I also like books that tell about how things were created, like The Professor and the Madman or The Meaning of Everything about the Oxford English Dictionary, or God's Secretaries about the writing of the King James version of the Bible.

5lindseynichols
Nov. 10, 2007, 5:50pm

hurray, everyone! i created the group hoping to meet others looking for a good way to get recommendations for the "history of a narrow subject" books.

and i was just thinking today about the difference between micro-histories and commodity histories. anyone chime in, if you like: i'd say a micro-history is any exposition on a very narrow topic, while commodity history has to do only with natural resources or, uh, commodities.

i was thinking of reading The Perfect Red at some point - apparently that is a book about carmine and/or cochineal red dye...? i'm also interested in a book on the history of calenders. {smiles}

and i did love reading Mary Roach's Stiff - hilarity, though i can also see how some might find it too glib.

i haven't read the Basque History of the World yet, but it's on my TBR shelf, too. LynnB, thanks for sharing your suggestions - i'm really excited abou the The Meaning of Everything.

i started reading lots of nonfiction after i earned my last master's degree - i still wanted to be information, and i realized that i could find myself *extremely interesting* information to read. and that's where i've been since.

6fannyprice
Nov. 10, 2007, 5:55pm

Anyone here read Craze: Gin and Debauchery in the Age of Reason? I don't know if its a straight commodity history or more broad than that, but it seems like it might fit this groups' interests and is on my TBR list for next year.

7lindseynichols
Nov. 10, 2007, 7:46pm

fannyprice, you're making a TBR list a whole year in advance?!

{boggled and impressed. and boggled.}

8fannyprice
Nov. 10, 2007, 8:18pm

Not exactly. I just have a huge list of books I want to read, so out of those I have selected ten that I really want to read in the next year. I don't do well with specific TBR lists because then reading starts to feel like a chore, so this is more like a reminder - "Hey, remember you wanted to read that!"

9fannyprice
Dez. 29, 2007, 7:19pm

Got Craze: Gin and Debauchery in the Age of Reason as a gift for my boyfriend, along with a nice bottle of small-batch gin (seemed only appropriate). So I'm looking forward to stealing it from him and reading it!

10GoofyOcean110
Jan. 8, 2008, 5:36pm

LynnB, I've become a bit of a Simon Winchester fan, having read a number of his books, including The professor and the madman. Does the meaning of everything have a lot of different material? Is it worthwhile to read both?

11LynnB
Jan. 9, 2008, 10:02am

The Meaning of Everything has some different material, but in my opinion, all the most interesting information was included in The Professor and the Madman.

12varielle
Jan. 15, 2009, 2:20pm

I never really knew I had an interest in commodity histories until I flew to Hawaii and read Salt: A World History the entire way. Everybody thought I was nuts because I kept going on about all the things I didn't know about salt.

13varielle
Okt. 15, 2010, 2:30pm

bfertig, I think we need a pic of some sort of commodities trading activity to spice up things. Maybe the Chicago board of trade, or a glimpse of a futures page or traders screaming their lungs out. It's a tough one to visualize I know.

14LynnB
Okt. 15, 2010, 2:39pm

varielle, that's what I did with pigeons after reading Superdove by Courtney Humphries. Did you know that pigeons can "date" for up to two weeks before mating? Many people don't wait that long!

15varielle
Okt. 15, 2010, 2:42pm

Superdove is on my TBR list.