Friday, February 25, 2011

The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace.

The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace.  Paperback book published by Periplus Editions no date.

A number of years ago I read The Spice Island Voyage: In Search of Wallace by Tim Severin.  The book is about the authors voyage around the Spice Islands recreating Alfred Russel Wallace’s voyages around the same islands.  To be honest Tim’s book didn’t exactly set my world on fire… what it did do was introduce me to Wallace. (Thanks Tim).  So after reading The Spice Island Voyage I managed to borrow a lovely early edition of the Malay Archipelago by Wallace and found the book to be a very enjoyable read.  I’m sure there are many people out there who would disagree, but I loved it and it stands out as one of my personal favourite reading experiences.  After reading this book, I then explored a little further and read a biography of Wallace written by Peter Raby and this gave me a better understanding of who and what this man was.  I was also impressed soon thereafter to see that the Melbourne Museum has some specimens that were collected by Wallace… which I guess is not that difficult as that is what he spent a lot of his time doing… that is, killing and stuffing a lot of animals.

Early editions like the one I read, are worth a hefty amount and despite my eagerness and eagle eye, I have not managed to find one of these gems.  This particular copy published in recent years appears to be in nearly new condition and to be honest, I don’t think it’s been read.  Each book I sell has some sort of story.  This book has a very short and unread story or possibly a long and complicated story as to why it wasn’t read.  Regardless, I now have a copy which I hope I can sell to someone who will read it… and strange as this may seem, the idea that someone else is going to read this wonderful book makes me very happy… that is if it sells.

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