Noun.: **a stroke of a bird’s wings in flying**. A metaphore for life as a sequence of moments. Some of which I like to share.
Sometimes you come across a hashtags that makes you think. And maybe even write a blog post. Like #7Books that will help you to get to know me. First there was some hesitation, because would I even get to seven books? And maybe the books I pick are too shallow or maybe a bit over the top?
I have not been reading much in recent years. Time was spent on family live, birding/walking, social media and yes, work. And to be honest, picking a book I read a thousand year ago to ‘describe me’ seems a bit forced. Anyway, I give it a shot…
I start with two books that are my all-time favorites I recently reread: 1. The origin of species – Charles Darwin 2. A short history of nearly everything – Bill Bryson
Writing this reminds me of an exercise we did in school. Watching an old drawing with several people (unfortunately forgot the scene) we were asked with which person we identified the most. I picked the person observing the other people in the scene. To observe and wanting to understand how thinks work. So basically I am a science guy. And add: not into religion.
The groundbreaking book of Charles Darwin is awesome in several ways. The epic journey with the Beagle which lead to this book (and others), the reasoning and deduction of the scientist which lead to the theory and the endeavor to publish it while he knew there would be religious flack. I am proud to own a 6th edition from 1897.
The book by Bill Bryson is complete different. Bill is not a scientist but an observer with many questions he dares to ask. In this book he covers many topics of life, nature, science, universe, and everything. Written clearly and with a lot of humor. Bill is a brilliant writer, and I read most of his books and I have a small collection. I could easily fill the list with his books, but that is probably not the idea behind #7Books. That being said…
Books 3 and 4 3. The Monk in the Garden: The lost and found genius of Gregor Mendel – Robin Marantz Henig 4. The Body – Bill Bryson
Gregor Mendell was an Austrian scientist and monk who lived in the 1800s. He experimented on garden pea hybrids and is known as the father of modern genetics. The book itself is partly fictionalized because many records about his live are lost. I read this book a long time ago (even before reading Darwin).
The Body is Bill Bryson latest and probably last book (because of retirement) in which he guides the reader through the human body. With facts and anecdotes the books leads to a deeper understanding of human body.
There are thousands of things that can kill us—slightly more than eight thousand, according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems compiled by the World Health Organization—and we escape every one of them but one. For most of us, that’s not a bad deal. – Bill Bryson
Books 5, 6 and 7 – fiction department In the fiction department I have read books in different genres, from Stephen King to Harry Mulisch, and from Nicci French tot Jonas Jonasson. I do not keep all the books I read. Some books I enjoyed so much the end up on the bookshelf. To be honest it feels very arbitrary to pick three books, because most of them I read a long time ago. But looking at the bookshelf these three caught my attention the most: 5. The Kite Runner – Haled Hosseini 6. The shadow of the wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón 7. Censoring an Iranian Love Story – Shahriar Mandanipour
Not sure what these books tell about me…
- Flora Batava
I have always had a fascination for those old hand-colored prints of birds and plants. So, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I did not know about the *Flora Batava*.
The *Flora Batava* was an idea of publisher Jan Christiaan Sepp (1739-1811). At the end of the 18th century he wanted to make an overview of the Dutch flora: all plants, mushrooms, mosses, algae and flowers that you could find in the Netherlands.
Many other European countries (such as England) had already put “their” national flora on paper. But there wasn’t something like that in the Netherlands. Publisher Jan Christiaan Sepp had already published successful books about Dutch birds and Dutch insects.
The project lasted 134 years. The *Flora Batava* was not released in one go: one could subscribe to episodes (which could later made into a book). In 1800 episode 1 appeared, in 1934 the last. A total of 461 episodes appeared, spread over 28 parts. It is not surprising that there are few complete books.
Plant connoisseurs such as Jan Kops (1765-1849) and Frederik Willem van Eeden (1829-1901) took care of the texts. Artists went to work and made hand-colored drawings. Together they made 2,240 images of more than 2,640 plants.
It was time for me to get to know *Flora Batava* during the exhibition in the museum ‘House of the book’. According to museum: the oldest books museum in the world. The museum is located in the former home of Baron van Westreenen van Tiellandt (1783-1848) and focuses on the written and printed book in the present and past. The external form and the development of the design of books are central.
The exhibition is spread over several rooms of the house. Starting with examples of foreign books on flora. Followed by the Dutch books that Sepp already had made about birds and insects.
And then the *Flora Batava*. Nice displays of the original artworks, next to the hand colored engravings and lithos in the book. Also nice to see how some owners sometimes added dried plants to the book as being a herbarium.
For science’s sake the book gives information in the changing flora world in the Netherlands, and in the opinions of people about plants. Also the books shows the development int printing techniques.