A book about time

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jkbarnes
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A book about time

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For Father’s Day, my wife got me two books centered around time. The first was a novel about a man who ages incredibly slowly and his search for his daughter over the centuries. It wasn’t great literature by any stretch, but it was a fun read, especially for a history teacher.

The second book is About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks by David Rooney. The premise is to lay out a broad history of civilization through the history and examination of 12 different devices for measuring time. Each device is examined on its own and then also used to illustrate far broader ideas related to the development of civilization that it represents.

The premise sounds great, but unfortunately it’s not. The author clearly understands timekeepers, timekeeping, and the history of clocks, but is, I think, out of his element discussing all that within the scope of world history. This reads more like a history written by a journalist, not a trained historian. There are a lot of broad assertions that aren’t really backed up or elaborated on.

It’s a disappointment because there are some real gems to be found in here. I wish he’d provide more specifics and insights to the devices discussed rather than broadly trying to link them global themes. It’s like I’m being teased! He also rambles a lot with a shifting focus in the chapters. It reminds me of the Monty Python skit about the Spanish Inquisition! :lol:

I’ve put down and picked up the book multiple times. I want to finish the book, but I struggle to maintain interest for extended reading. The chapter I’m currently on, called Empires, is the most interesting one so far, and the one where he has best captured the intent of the book. He’s discussing the building of astronomical observatories throughout the great empires of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries for the primary purpose of establishing accurate local time, and the system by which that accurate time was communicated to sea captains so that they could calibrate their shipboard chronometers. This chapter makes me want to get a world timer as a connection to this historical need to accurately know time around the world. How timely that @MiniMpi has just listed his C65 World Timer in the sales corner! :lol:

Anyway, I don’t know that I can unequivocally recommend the book. If it sounds intriguing to you, check it out.

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Re: A book about time

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I've read About Time... Got into some sections ... Skipped paragraphs in others...

What is the title of the fiction you mentioned ?
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jkbarnes
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Re: A book about time

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Greatpotfarm wrote: Sun Jul 30, 2023 4:27 pm I've read About Time... Got into some sections ... Skipped paragraphs in others...

What is the title of the fiction you mentioned ?
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. It was a quick and easy read, fun but not great.
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