Gathering at a rate of knots recently on my paperback acquisitions heap are an increasing number of non-fiction books – both paranormal & new age tracts from the golden era of such things in the ‘70s, and also books that, for want of a better word, we might term ‘non-fiction pulp’ - texts on history, sociology, geography and god knows what else given a heavy & salacious mass market slant. ‘Exploication’ maybe? ‘Edusploitation’? Well you know the kind of thing I mean, anyway.
And whilst the former rarely make for good reading beyond their surface value as satisfyingly mysterioso aesthetic objects, I confess that I’ve actually found myself really enjoying a lot of books in the latter category. Basically a sleazier and more fun precursor to the popular history and science books of recent decades, for some reason I get a real kick out of ploughing through these dated, factually dubious monographs on subjects ranging from Indian Thuggee cults, witch trials and 18th century debauchery to Antarctic exploration, lost cities and the sexual etiquette of the exotic Far East… everything that an imaginative young lad wants to find out about when he first walks into a school history class basically, before the monotony of seed drills and economic reform and proper history that actually happened gets in the way and crushes his spirit.
So, yeah – basically I’m going to spend the next week or so posting covers & brief observations on some of those books. Hope that’s alright with everyone.