Random Book Project: Episode 1

I’m launching something I call the Random Book Project. Its purpose is to give additional “life” to some of the books that I have collected over the years and are gathering dust on my shelves. These books are disappearing in the digital age. They are left in a decreasing number of public and university libraries, before they are ultimately “de-accessioned.” Some hardbacks end up as color coordinated staging in steak houses and boutique hotels.

The Random Book Project attempts to give these books at least a minimal digital presence for works that Project Gutenberg and Google Books will likely skip. Will internet media last any longer than physical media? I don’t know but it seems worth the modest effort.

Totally random first choice:

Alan Wykes, Air Atlantic: A History of Civil and Military Transatlantic Flying (New York: David White, n.d.) $5.95 There is no pub date in the book but OCLC indicates that it was published first in England in 1967 and then in the US in 1968.

How did I get it:

I probably bought in a used book store. The inside leaf indicates that it was “Discarded by Memphis Public Library.”

Why:

My long-standing interest in aviation history. It is hard for me to not pick up an aviation title in a used bookstore.

What:

It is filled with tales of early aviation “derring do”.

The Author:

Alan Wykes (1914-1993) was a prolific English author of dozens of books on varied topics, mostly popular history topics and biography. This is an example in which the author may be a more colorful character than one of his specific works. According to his obituary, Wykes was a very active member of the Savage Club, a “Bohemian Gentleman’s Club” in central London, founded in 1857, and apparently little changed since then. (www.savageclub.com) It is the completely anachronistic coda to this episode of the equally anachronistic Random Book Project!