This may be my last entry…
Last year I was reintroduced to Pears’ Cyclopaedia and I fell in love with reference books all over again.
I know it’s easy to dismiss the value of a home reference in the age of the internet but they aren’t really the same thing. The internet is a sprawling megatropolis of spurious information and misinformation. Each topic vies for your attention and some fall by the wayside. We search for things we used to know not what we have never known – what was that song from way back? Who wrote that book I read all that time ago. How do you search for information you didn’t know you didn’t know? It’s a paradox.
Pears is different. Pears concisely lays out hue amount or information in a readable format. There isn’t much to distract you – you don’t turn a page and get distracted by facebook or twitter – so there is a bit of a dormant compulsion to find out those things that you will never be able to live without again.
In short, I love it. I couple it at Christmas time (Pears comes out in early August and is UKcentric) with The World Almanac and Fact Book and they become my powerhouses of knowledge for the year. The question is, what to do with them as they begin to stack up!
Pears’ is not an almanac as such and tends to keep the main body of its content the same for each publication. It covers topics like history and government which, historically speaking, never change. The Romans for example will never find a new place in history so their entry remains static until such a time as we learn something new and on a scale to make a difference. While there are new entries for other topics (New PMs from new elections etc) the main reason to hang on to each copy is the Special Topics sections littered throughout the different and indeed differing sections. Ultimately though, you only need one copy at any one time to cover all your essential knowledge bases. I like to keep though. I like to see the way things evolve and change over time so I am going to have a hard time decided whether last year’s copy should stay or go.
I suppose ultimately it will come down to space (I still have the complete (short and brilliant) run of Schott’s Almanac taking up valuable book space) and they will have to go off to be collected by someone else. For now though, we can be a two Pears’ household and maybe see what the limit will turnout to be.
Thanks for reading, now tell me more about Gothic architecture.