Heard on the BBC World Service late last night: They’re making the motorways out of books now.
Pulped books can be made into bitumen modifier, used in road surfaces for a variety of purposes including sound absorption. It takes about 45,000 paperbacks per mile. The recently constructed M6 toll road in the Midlands used up two and a half million pulped Mills & Boon romance novels (Americans, that’s similar to Harlequins), though any genre is clearly as suitable for road-building material as any other.
Joe Moran, a professor of cultural history, has published this and other fascinating road-related information in On Roads: A Hidden History. He made the subject sound fascinating in the radio interview. I’d love to read his book, but life is too short; I can’t imagine that I’ll ever get to it, not now that my to-be-read stack is large enough that it blocks my lazy lawyer bookcase, which now no longer rotates. I actually have to stand up from my desk and move around to get to the books, a parlous state of affairs.
And so I conclude that my new blog will require a “Many Books, Little Time” section, and marvel at the fact that the first books mentioned in this forum are Mills and Boons, when I’ve never read a single one. The blog doesn’t officially open until August 1, but I wanted there to be more than a single entry when people come to call so I’m posting early; I’m sure something more worthy will present itself for comment before then.
I’m off now to a meeting of one of my writing groups, wondering whether my wheels will be rolling over something that I’d like to read, if only I had the time.