I've always found that the day after Christmas is a good day for losing myself in a good book. The book that has captured my attention this year is George Orwell's 1984.
And the very sad news of the huge earthquake in Indonesia which set off a tsunami killing hundreds in a number of countries reminds me of another very well-written book I read this year: Krakatoa, by Simon Winchester. Krakatoa was one of the deadliest volcanos in human history and the majority of deaths were caused by a huge tsunami which resulted from the eruption that destroyed the island:
The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa -- the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster -- was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people.
Earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis are natural phenomena that frighten us as they are beyond human control. There is something profoundly unsettling to experience a large earthquake and to realize the formally solid earth is capable of turning into a quivering mass. Nevertheless in their own way, they seem less malevolent than the acts of humans when killing or maiming each other.
So, are you reading anything good right now?
Update: Today, it is apparent that the earthquake in Indonesia is one of the great quakes of the past century and the deaths from the tsunamis it triggered have created one of the deadliest natural disasters of the century. A Red Cross article with information about making a donation to help can be found here.