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Corruption and misconduct in the NZ Police - 17th Jan 2018

Corruption and misconduct in the NZ Police Tom Lewis
Coverups & Copouts
Many people have been into the shop hoping to buy a copy of the above book. Many have been disappointed as the books sell almost as soon as they arrive. We have just got another copy so if you were one of those thwarted in the past, get in here quickly!

Tom Lewis is a former police detective sergeant. In his book he tells what he considers to be the shocking truth about the New Zealand Police, obviously including cover-ups and cop-outs. He details allegations of corruption, misconduct, conspiracy, pay-offs, perjury and worse. Get your copy before it flies off the shelf.

David Foster Wallace - 16th Jan 2018

Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace

This book has received really great reviews ever since it appeared about 10 years ago. It is billed as extraordinary, astonishing, addictive, exuberant, ambitious, accomplished, humorous, brilliant, and witty by various reviewers from all around the world. It is meant to have a "rumbustious comic energy and a generosity of spirit". I didn't get far enough to find out whether it lives up to the hype.

I seldom fail to finish a book. This one got me long before I reaped the apparent rewards. it was labouring under the title "Infinite Jest at My Expense" when I admitted defeat and stopped. Come in, get a copy, whizz through it (all 1079 pages) and then pop back and explain to me how thick I am and how unable to appreciate good literature. I promise I will listen carefully and if your argument is good enough, I may try again.

Canals - 15th Jan 2018

World Canals: Inland Navigation Past and Present
by Charles Hadfield

I was putting the above book away on a shelf in the shop when I got sidetracked by the picture on the front. It made me think about my holiday last year. We booked a week on a narrowboat (the name gives you a clue that it's just a bit narrower than a barge) in the UK. It was a wonderful experience, hard to describe but very addictive. The boat moves at a snail's pace on full throttle, to the point where dog walkers, toddlers on tricycles, and even those on zimmer frames overtake you on the tow path without hurrying and disappear into the distance as you putter along. You enter another world with a very different pace of life and I really highly recommend it.

However, back to the subject at hand, the above book is about the use of rivers and canals for transport and pleasure. It tells the history of inland waterways and their carrying of freight and passengers over centuries. It will be a fascinating read either before or after your own barge or narrowboat holiday!

 

Science and philosophy - 11th Jan 2018

Big questions about the universe
What are black holes?
How did the universe begin?
Are there alternative universes?
What are stars made from?
How old is the universe?
Can the laws of physics change?
What is dark matter?

I haven't got a clue how to answer any of the above questions and there are many more in Stuart Clark's book The Big Questions which I also cannot answer. If you are like me, you may want to grab a copy of Clark's book and get reading. The author is a professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge so he probably knows what he's talking about. I suspect it is all a bit beyond me so I will wait for one of you to pop in and enlighten me in words of one syllable.

A Bit of Non-fiction - 10th Jan 2018

If you fancy a good read and you'd like a change from fiction then the author Jon Krakauer is highly recommended.

You have probably seen the Sean Penn film (or at least heard of it) Into the Wild. That is based on Krakauer's book of the same name, which tells the biographical story of Christopher McCandless in Alaska. It's a fascinating read. Then there is Into Thin Air, which is about the catastrophic 1996 Mount Everest expedition, at which Krakauer was present - another good read. However, if tales of extreme physical ordeal are not your sort of thing, you could try Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith instead. It is about Latter Day Saints / Mormons and murder - probably a much better read than my brief summary would indicate. I haven't read it but it looks interesting so I'd be interested in any opinions you'd like to pass on.

A Bookshop Conversation - 9th Jan 2018

Two short conversations in a bookshop and a coffee shop.
- Do you have a copy of Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes?
- Yes. There's a paperback here or a hardcover for $15.50.
- I'll take the paperback.
- Is that all? 
- Yes, thanks. 
- That will be $10.00 today.

- A flat white, please.
- Anything else? No? That'll be $4.50 just now.

Both times I stood silently bemused for a minute wondering how much it would have cost if I'd come in tomorrow or yesterday (instead of today) or whether the coffee would have been cheaper had I arrived a little earlier or later (than just now). Go around and listen. You may be surprised to hear how widespread this very odd use of 'today' is.

Better late than never - 8th Jan 2018

Happy New Year to all our customers and friends from all of us here in the lovely Dunedin bookshop.

We're only a week late! It's been a busy time for us and remembering to wish everyone the best for an enjoyable 2018 has lamentably taken a back seat. We were open Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day so maybe you can see why we didn't get round to the New Year's greetings until now. That's our excuse anyway.

A Literary Book of Days - 27th Dec 2017

A Literary Book of Days The perfect book with which to start any new year. You can use it as a diary but it also has literary entries for every day of the year so you could just refer to it daily for some snippets of information of a literary bent. It would make an unusual and thoughtful present for New Year's Day.
January 11th: 1963 Sylvia Plath committed suicide.
April 25th: 1826 Byron left England for exile in Europe / 1873 Walter de la Mare born.
August 10th: 1912 Virginia Stephen married Leonard Woolf.

There are also quotes on many days (sorry to get back to that theme again):
September 16th: 1926 Max Brand talking about writing Westerns "There has to be a woman but not much of one; a good horse is much more important."
August 22nd: 1893 Dorothy Parker born two or three months premature. She later said "It was the last time I was early for anything."
 

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