My favourite books #1

The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher

Huge and expansive. This book lives on the bottom shelf of my coffee table, together with The London Encyclopaedia and the latest copy of Golf Punk. Graphic design, quirky zen short stories told over a pint, illicit doodles on work’s notepaper, peculiar facts, optical posers. Don’t start at the beginning. Open any page randomly and this book will live with you forever. Clever, trivial, funny, profound and surprising. The thinking man’s scrap book. I love it.

I’ve had my copy about three years and only stumbled on this last night. Classic.

For fish the world is water; for one old lady it was a tortoise. At a public lecture a well-known scientist (some say William James, others Bertrand Russell) described how the earth orbits the sun, which orbits around the stars, and so forth. At the end of the lecture, up jumped a little old lady: ‘Absolute rubbish,’ she said, ‘the world is a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.’ The lecturer, with a superior smile asked, ‘and so what is the tortoise standing on?’ ‘You’re clever, young man, very clever,’ said the old lady, ‘but it’s tortoises all the way down.’

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