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Pacific Island Art - 26th Apr 2018

Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Eric Kjellgren

This extensively illustrated book provides a glimpse of the art from New Guinea, Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and island Southeast Asia held in the collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The people of Oceania have developed a huge array of distinct artistic traditions. 

Feast your eyes on masks, tattoos, paintings, weaving, carvings, cooking implements, religious symbols, tools, weapons, statues, clothing and headresses. The variety is endless and pervades almost every aspect of daily life in the Pacific..

Oceanic art has had an influence on artists such as Gaugin and Picasso.

Fishing - 24th Apr 2018

It is not a fish until it is on the bank.

All good fishermen stay young until they die, for fishing is the only dream of youth that doth not grow stale with age.

You can always tell a fisherman,but you can't tell him much.

There is no use in your walking five miles to fish when you can depend on being just as unsuccessful near home.

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

I never lost a little fish - yes, I am free to say It always was the biggest fish I caught that got away.

Wit and Wisdom of Fishing: Funny Lines and Fishy Advice
Louis Bignami, Robert Jones, William Rooney, Joel Vance (Contributors)

Niue - 23rd Apr 2018

Niue Before heading off for a holiday on the island of Niue, a bit of background reading wouldn't go amiss; particularly since many people have only barely heard of Niue.

Niue 1774-1974: 200 Years of Contact and Change
by Margaret Pointer

It is a tiny island in the south Pacific. Unlike many oft photographed Pacific islands, it is not surrounded by white sandy beaches or coral reefs but by towering cliffs battered constantly by the ocean. 

Despite its relative isolation and distance from the main shipping routes, the island has a long and rich history of contact with the outside world. Captain Cook visited the island briefly in 1774 and he was followed by a parade of whalers, sealers, traders and missionaries. 

However, if you are off to Niue for a week's holiday (flights once a week from New Zealand to Niue so unless you're sailing, you'll have to go for a week), you may prefer a book on the flora and fauna of the island, or a Niuean-English dictionary, or a book on the geology. Just pop in and see what we've got to offer.


Amazing Survival Story - 20th Apr 2018

Amazing Survival Story The Boat
by Walter Gibson

This book tells the story of one of the most astonishing instances of human endurance and what must be one of the most terrifying episodes in maritime history.

Just after the fall of Singapore in 1942, a Dutch ship the Rooseboom sailed from Padang with 500 evacuees, mostly British civilians and soldiers. She was torpedoed in the dead of night on the way to Ceylon and sank within a few minutes.

Only one lifeboat floated and 135 people crowded into it with only enough room to stand upright. They were adrift with almost no food or water for 28 days until it washed up on the shores of an island off Sumatra. Only four were still alive. One of them is the author of this book and he recounts his miraculous survival and the journey of horror, heroism, tragedy, murder, and treachery.

The Improbability Principle - 18th Apr 2018

The Improbability Principle If things are incredibly unlikely, why do they keep on happening?  Why don't the laws of chance prevent the unexpected happening so often? Are simply unbelievable events in fact just happy (or unhappy) coincidences. 

To get answers to the above, you need to read David Hand's The Improbability Principle. It will appeal to people who love stories about startling coincidences and stunningly rare events but also to those who want to know what links gambling, the weather, creative writing and the origin of life, among other things.

Here's hoping those of us who read it will learn how to win the lottery, how to get the weather forecast correct occasionally, how to predict the future and how not to lose money on the stock market. Actually, I'd settle for the second of those.

Lost in translation - 17th Apr 2018

Lost in translation Anyone who has taught English as a foreign or second language knows that there are many entertaining moments and memories which come from the errors that students make. The same is obviously true for any other language: think of the classic error of learners of French who are surprised by how many men are celibate. Menus and hotel signs are also a great source of merriment. "Please hang yourself on door" is a well known instruction to guests who do not wish to be disturbed and "Eat kids free" is not uncommon. Any teacher can keep you amused with lists of their students' mistakes and if you have ever chuckled over examples of this kind, you may also enjoy today's book.

Is That a Fish in Your Ear? The Amazing Adventure of Translation
by David Bellos

This is a must read for anyone who is interested in words and language. It attempts to answer the question of how we really make ourselves understood to other people and show that translation is at the heart of everything we do.

Machiavelli - 16th Apr 2018

Machiavelli For Beginners is a series of books which takes relatively complex ideas and simplifies them so that they are accessible to beginners (hence the titles). The books are presented in a comic strip or graphic novel format, with the cartoon drawings complementing the text. The series covers all sorts of topics and people. Here are a few: Philosophy for Beginners, Postmodernism for Beginners, Dante for Beginners, Plato for Beginners, Islam for Beginners, Democracy for Beginners. There is a very long list of titles to choose from.

Why not start with the one on Machiavelli:
Machiavelli for Beginners
by Patick Curry and Oscar Zarate (Illus)

Get yourself this easy introduction to the life and ideas of Machiavelli and put yourself in the best possible position to read his famous book The Prince. Although it was published 400 years ago, it remains a relevant analysis of politics, government and power.


Gustav Klimt - 13th Apr 2018

I don't know how anyone could fail to like the work of Gustav Klimt (Austrian artist)- but I daresay there are some. However, there are also some lucky ones who as yet are unfamiliar with his paintings and still have that treat in store. A good start would be Gilles Neret's Gustav Klimt 1862-1918 - and luckily we have a copy of that in the shop.

Or you could take an imaginative approach to art appreciation and browse only books on artists whose surnames begin with k: try Kiefer, Klee, Kamenev, Kandinsky or Kokoschka.

And while you're here, you could peruse other artists in our large art section. You might well like a book or two on Egon Schiele, a protege of Gustav Klimt's, even though his surname does not begin with k. 

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