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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."

A rest from quotations - 22nd Dec 2017

All of us here at Hard to Find Books want to wish all of you

A Very Merry Christmas!

And yet more quotes - 21st Dec 2017

And yet more quotes "I may be drunk, madam, but I will be sober in the morning and you will still be ugly."

In case you didn't know, that one comes from one of the best providers of quotes ever, Winston Churchill himself; the next from another quotable great, Mark Twain:

"Get your facts first and then you can distort them as you please."

And here are a few more greats: try and guess who said them and then check your Dictionary of Quotations to see if you were right.
"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
"If you have nothing good to say about anyone, come and sit by me."

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort"

And more quotations - 20th Dec 2017

And more quotations Just in case you haven't been in to buy that book of quotations yet, I thought I'd give you a couple more from one of my own favourite people to quote. 

Dorothy Parker
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
She can speak 18 languages but can't say no in any of them."
"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

(She might not actually be responsible for this last one but I couldn't resist including it). You can all comment and tell me who it actually was. But you can no doubt see why she is one of my favourites. Get that book of quotes in time for Christmas

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