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Books that raise eyebrows in intelligence-gathering communities

Sometimes when you're listing a book for sale online, you'll take a good long look at what's in front of you, and your mind will wander. Seriously, who the hell wants to read this?

Placing Stephen Turner's Terrorist Explosive Sourcebook up for sale was one of those moments.

I also imagine it's the sort of book - from the title alone - that would attract undue interest from counter-terrorism folk, even though it seeks to inform those same people.

Anyway, let's see if I get an inquiry from a shadowy figure occupying the darker corners of the worldwide web. It might just spice up my...

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Stuff people put in books

bookmarks collectable ephemera

There are websites (well, one prominent one) devoted to the weird and wonderful assortment of things people leave in books before donating, selling and/or dying.

People being people, they want to know the cold hard facts about cold hard cash - have you ever found money in a book? How much??

Forty dollars, it so happens - two of the old $20 notes wedged between the dust jacket and boards of a Bryce Courtenay. For those struggling to keep up, the notes looked like this. They're still legal currency, so I spent them. On what I cannot...

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The Red Sailor by Patrick O'Hara

I haven't read the book, but I've enjoyed reading about the book. This sort of thinking applies to Patrick O'Hara's The Red Sailor, a rare book I hadn't heard about it until a week or two ago.

O'Hara was ex-Royal Navy, a rough diamond in a ship full of rough diamonds. He was a "Borstal Boy", in an out of juvenile detention as an adolescent. Like many in this predicament, he joined the armed forces, serving in the Royal Navy of the forties and fifties. True to form, he spent some of that time behind bars in RNDQ (Detention Quarters).


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Cruising the High Seas avec Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes' Ocean Liner La Marseillaise

Collecting Colonialism Cruise Cruising France French Indochina Liner Ocean Ocean liner Ocean Liner Cruiser Cruising Reading Vietnam

I sometimes come across books that are more ephemera than book. A recent acquisition fits this bill perfectly, looking for all intents and purposes like a book but, once inside, the text diarises a liner's itinerary for a 1950 cruise.

Where to start? Well, the port of Saigon, departure date November 26, 1950. From here, La Marseillaise sailed to Singapore to Colombo to Djibouti to Suez to Marseille and then dropped anchor for the final time at Monte-Cristo about 17 days later.

An interesting history of the ocean liner is here.

The book was presented to...

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Reading for pleasure on company time

Anthology Collecting Ray Pettibon Reading

Listing books online can be a dangerous job. Not dangerous in a "I'm heading off to an underground mine where I work with explosives" kind of way; more in a "where did the time go today?" kind of way.

Just yesterday, I went down one of those book-listing rabbit warrens you read about all the time.*

I was leafing through a book looking for identifying marks, a publishing date, a publisher; the sorts of mundane tasks that are crucial parts of my job.

The book was the rather intriguing A Reader by Raymond...

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