Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Hudson’s blog.

I know a good digression when I read (or hear) one. In the book Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, which I’m reading during my commute now, there’s a discussion of the evolution of the VOC, the monopoly trading company that established the East Indies as a Dutch colony, with the following aside:

“The idea of officially sanctioned trading cooperatives was far from new…. The Hudson’s Bay Company, set up… solely to trade, remains today: The Bay, its flagship department stores, can be found in all of Canada’s cities (an in not a few more isolated Arctic settlements), and its owner, a cheerfully eccentric peer called Ken Thompson, lives modestly and happily in a suburb of Toronto.”

The Hudson’s Bay Company is still around? The Company of Adventurers still exists? Admittedly -- I did a little checking up on this -- the Company got out of the fur business a long time ago, except presumably as a retailer, but still. Not something you’d expect to learn in a book about Krakatoa. I hadn’t given the Hudson’s Bay Company much thought lately, but if I had, I would have considered it a thing of the past. Finding out some little nugget like that isn’t a major thrill, but an everyday delight, the kind that adds up.

Krakatoa was not the BookCrossing.com book I picked up (see yesterday’s blog); I got it at the library on Saturday. The BookCrossing book was From Russia With Love, which was a quick read, and the first Ian Fleming book I’ve ever finished.


Post a Comment

<< Home