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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sea Quotations and Elevated Reading

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reckons bookstores are the "temple of the soul," according to a story by John Elder in The Age.

And, sure enough, the eminent politician was surprised by a reporter from The Sunday Age while ferreting around in Readings bookshop in a Melbourne suburb, Carlton, where Mr Rudd bought a copy of Nuns Having Fun, although he tried to pass off his purchase as a "bit of Christmas shopping." Having delivered that prevarication, he headed for the new releases table at the front of the store, and became elaborately immersed in Edward Duyker's A Dictionary of Sea Quotations in an effort to avoid this unseemly interruption by the press.

The public foiled him, however, by demanding that he pose for photos with them, occasionally with babies in tow. The babies, he liked, but the inspection of his choice of reading matter was evidently unsettling. By the time he got to the cashier, Mr Rudd was also carrying Tom Holland's Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom and Simon Schama's The American Future: A History.
But how refreshing -- and what a wonderfully prime ministerial example for buying books for Christmas presents. Hopefully, Mr. Rudd is setting an international trend.

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