If Only the Wheels Could Read

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.

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2 Comments

Filed under Many Books Little Time

2 responses to “If Only the Wheels Could Read

  1. There should be a really cool metaphor to be drawn here but I just can’t come up with it. Damn.

  2. M.F. Case

    Roads made out of books! It occurs to me that Jack Kerouac would probably have something to say about this.

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