Don't you just love it when you find a book that is absolutely perfect for your interests, reading style, and available reading time? It looks beautiful, it's right there in front of you, and you know that it's going to be a fantastic story. It's even better when that book lives up to your high expectations, and when, even three or four years later, you still can't help but recommend that book to anyone you talk to.
For me, Simon Winchester's The Surgeon of Crowthorne, opens a new window was one of those books. I found it in a second-hand bookshop one winter, bought it, wrapped it up ... and gave it to my parents to give to me on Christmas morning. At the time I bought it I was studying, so knew I wouldn't have a chance to read it, and I looked forward to that gift for the next four months. Thankfully, when I finally unwrapped it, it more than lived up to my expectations. Dealing with the beginnings of the Oxford English Dictionary, it was well-written and thoroughly researched, and when I had finished it several days later I was more than ready to jump straight back in and read it all over again! Since then I've also read The Meaning of Everything, opens a new window and his children's non-fiction books and enjoyed them just as much.
As you can probably tell, I'll be lining up to hear Simon when he comes to Christchurch as part of WORD Christchurch Shifting Points of View, opens a new window (18 August - 14 September, 2019). At An Evening with Simon Winchester, opens a new window (Saturday August 31, 6.30pm at The Piano) he will pair up with Kim Hill to talk about some of the things he's done in his life, opens a new window, and about some of the things that impact on the world around us. This man has been to some fascinating places, and I can't wait to hear him tell us all about them.
Simon will also be talking at Owning History and A Cabinet of Curiosities: Tiny lectures on the weird and wonderful, so grab your ticket for one or more of these, and join me in finding out more about how what happened in the past has shaped the world of today, and will continue to shape our future. In the meantime, check out some of Simon's books, opens a new window we have available to get you into the right frame of mind.
WORD Christchurch Shifting Points of View
WORD Christchurch presents Shifting Points of View — a spectacular line-up of New Zealand and international speakers to warm you up and get you thinking. Shifting Points of View runs from Sunday 18 August to Saturday 14 September 2019. Visit our page on WORD Christchurch Shifting Points of View for more information, previews, reviews, and WORD reading.
Events featuring Simon Winchester
A Cabinet of Curiosities: Tiny Lectures on the Weird and Wonderful Friday 30 August 7.30pm at Rutherford's Den Lecture Theatre
Step right up and discover something strange! We have gathered together a delectable collection of short and intimate lectures on curious subjects, from experts and amateur enthusiasts, delivered in the characterful surrounds of Ernest Rutherford’s own lecture theatre. What will you see? What will you get? You’ll have to come along and find out. With bestselling British author and adventurer Simon Winchester, writer and WORD Programme Director Rachael King, novelist and recovering scientist Tracy Farr, art and history enthusiast Lana Coles, and science writer Simon Pollard.
Owning history: Vincent O'Malley, Simon Winchester, and Sacha McMeeking Saturday 31 August 1pm at The Piano
How can we see where we’re going, if we don’t know where we’ve been? In his recent Michael King Memorial Lecture, historian Vincent O’Malley stressed the importance of teaching the bloody story of the New Zealand Wars in our schools, to understand today’s society, and recently gave historical context to the Ihumātao dispute in The Spinoff. Simon Winchester has spent his career bringing to life stories from the past, and Sacha McMeeking’s research interests lie in Māori futures, which are inextricably linked to history. Chaired by Peter Field.
An Evening with Simon Winchester Saturday 31 August 6.30pm at The Piano
Simon Winchester, the distinguished and bestselling author of Pacific, The Map That Changed the World and The Surgeon of Crowthorne among many others, knows how to tell a good story. His latest book, Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World is a magnificent history of the pioneering engineers who developed precision machinery to allow us to see as far as the moon and as close as the Higgs boson. He joins Kim Hill in wide-ranging conversation about his adventurous life and the big ideas that have made an impact on the world as we know it.
More Simon Winchester
Find more books by Simon Winchester in our collection.