by Simon Garfield
New Arrivals Island, 2nd floor
Tick … Tock … How many times a day do you check the time? Once, twice, constantly? Yep, you’re obsessed! And that’s the point award-winning author Simon Garfield is making here. Somehow humans survived for millennia with nothing but the heavens and the seasons to mark the passage of time. But starting a few hundred years ago, we went a little nuts. And ever since we’ve been trying to manage, maximize, manipulate and otherwise make ourselves crazy over the clock.
In delightfully quirky style, the author takes readers around the world and across time to share tales of eccentrics, geniuses and pop culture phenomena that point up our preoccupation with Father Time. There’s the Englishman who returned from India but insisted on living on Calcutta time for the rest of his life, taking afternoon tea at midnight and the like. Do you know why TED talks are exactly 18 minutes? Garfield explains why. From the “proper” timing of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile to Toyota’s just-in-time inventory (JIT) and Baselworld (World Watch and Jewellery Show), Garfield entertains as he elucidates the grip which time holds on modern humans.