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The joy of Italy - 27th Feb 2018

The joy of Italy Many people daydream about a new life in Italy: it's something to do with the food, the wine, the people and the way of life. There have been numerous books written by people who have actually upped sticks and started a new life. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes and several others of that ilk spring to mind.

Italian Joy by Carla Coulson is one of these books. She's an Australian who gave up a Sydney flat, a designer wardrobe and a successful business to move to Italy, where she fell in love with the Italian approach to everything. The book shines with her love of Italian food, cooking, wine, customs, family, markets, men, women, and even their driving!

If you don't want to move to Italy yourself by the time you get halfway through, I'll be surprised. Coulson is a photographer (she trained in Italy while learning the language) and the book is generously illustrated throughout.

Hungry students - 26th Feb 2018

Hungry students You've made it through the first week or two in your new flat and sussed out your flatmates' cooking ability. That means it's probably time you got a copy of this book for your flat.

The Vegetarian Student Cookbook: Great Grub for the Hungry and the Broke
Published by Rylands, Peters & Hall

The title says it all really. This is a must for hungry students who are short on time and money but don't want to eat crap all the time.

Pop into the shop and get a copy and liven up your flat's evening meals. These are easy, interesting and quick recipes. You can't do better than this and it only costs $10.00.

Leonard Cohen - 23rd Feb 2018

Everyone loves Leonard Cohen's music (I think) but not everyone is as familiar with his writing. The famous Canadian was a poet and a novelist as well as being a successful singer and songwriter. If you haven't read any of his work, perhaps now is the time to grab a copy of one of his books. You could then sit down to a session of reading accompanied by some of his superb music.

The stony path coiled around me
and bound me to the night.
A boat hunted the edge of the sea
under a hissing light.

Something soft involved a net
and bled around a spear.
The blunt death, the cumulus jet -
I spoke to you, I thought you near.

Or was the night so black
that something died alone?
A man with a glistening back
beat the food against a stone.

Literary criticism - 22nd Feb 2018

Literary criticism James K Baxter as Critic: A Selection from his Literary Criticism
by Frank McKay

We all know James K Baxter as one of New Zealand's foremost poets but we are not all so familiar with his work in the field of literary criticism.

In this volume, you can read a great selection of his reviews of various writers and poets. You will find reviews of the work of New Zealanders Allen Curnow (At Dead Low Water), Alistair Campbell (Mine Eyes Dazzle), Eileen Duggan (More Poems), Denis Glover (Arawata Bill) and Sylvia Ashton-Warner (Incense to Idols) to name but a few.

And it's not just New Zealanders' work that is reviewed.

Handmade Houses - 21st Feb 2018

Richard Olsen's
Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design
with photography by Lucy Goodhart & Kodiak Greenwood

This is a veritable feast for the eyes. You definitely don't need to be an architect, builder or designer to enjoy looking through this book. However, if you are a professional, you will get just as much pleasure out of reading through it.

The houses in the book are from all over the world and feature cost-cutting, improvisation and eco-awareness ideas in beautiful designs. These are works of art. As well as that, they will provide inspiration, beauty, practical solutions and environment-friendly home design.

Don't live without a copy.

Photographs of New Zealand - 19th Feb 2018

Photographs of New Zealand Forty-five Degrees South: Panoramic Images of Southern New Zealand
The photography of Roger Wandless

In his book, Roger Wandless presents some really stunning photographs of the lower South Island of New Zealand (hence the title). He spent years travelling in pursuit of these perfect images. 

You will find New Zealand's natural beauty is done proud in this collection. You will also see our special quality of light superbly highlighted in these photographs which show both the iconic and the obscure. A feast for the eyes.

Worms - 16th Feb 2018

Worms Everyone knows about Charles Darwin and his biological theory of evolution and the survival of the fittest but not everyone knows that Darwin devoted the last years of his life to the study of the earthworm. Why would he do that? Because the humble earthworm has a profound role in the ecosystem. It tills the soil, destroys microscopic organisms which cause plant disease, breaks down toxins and turns waste into rich compost. 

Charles Darwin was not alone in his fascination with the creature. Amy Stewart has written a book called The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms

Reading it is not only an enlightening educational experience but it is also enjoyable and knowing something more about the creatures on which the rise  - and possibly the future -  of civilisation may depend is definitely worthwhile

Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language - 14th Feb 2018

Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language "Every day we are confronted with debased, depleted sludge: in the media, in companies, in the public service, from government, at work...... This new public language ....... is a dead language: devoid of lyric or comic possibility and incapable of emotion, complexity or nuance"

If that strikes a chord with you, then you will want to read this book:
Don Watson's Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language

His book is part diatribe, part reflection on public language and part an attack on those who use these weasel words and thus kill joy, imagination, wit and clarity.

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