QOTD: Books and bitumen

Lorcan 1 min read

A very nice reference from the blog of husband and wife writing team Nicci French:

I’ve just finished On Roads: A Hidden History by Joe Moran. It’s one of those books you keep stopping in order to tell someone the interesting fact you’ve just learned. That the Chiswick flyover was opened by Jayne Mansfield. That the Newbury Bypass was opened at 1.30 in the morning to avoid protesters. Subtle, even-handed, beautifully written. As an author I was particularly chastened by the following passage:

‘Every year, more than 120,000 new books are published in Britain, creating millions of volumes that will never be opened, let alone read. Many of these unread books are shredded into tiny fibre pellets called bitumen modifier, which can be used to make roads, holding the blacktop in place and doubling up as a sound absorber. A mile of motorway consumes about 50,000 books. The M6 Toll Road used up two-and-a-half million old Mills and Boon novels, romantic dreams crushed daily by juggernauts.’

Better than burning them. Better – in many cases – than reading them. [On the road. Nicci French Blog]

More from
Smile: let's see your teeth

Smile: let's see your teeth

I was excited to discover the graphic novel Smile by Raina Telgemeier. The subject matter has strong personal resonances for me.
Lorcan 3 min read

Lorcan Dempsey dot net

Deep dives and quick takes: libraries, society, culture and technology

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.