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The Backyard Bestiary - 14th Jul 2017

The Backyard Bestiary You don't need to battle into the jungle or clamber up the sides of great mountains or head off into the wilderness to find strange and beguiling little beasts, birds, and insects. Your garden is crammed with such creatures so just wander outside and get to know your closest neighbours. All you need for inspiration is a copy of this lovely book:

The Backyard Bestiary
by Ton de Joode & Anthoine Stolk and illustrated by Kees de Kiefte

This is a really appealing look at the world of nature which is all around us, in our backyards and in the nearby countryside. You will learn to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the habits and abilities of many of the common residents that we often know very little about. There is a great deal of interest and charm to be found in a closer look at the spiders, worms, slaters, ladybirds, wasps, snails, butterflies, bees and birds just outside the back door.

The beautiful paintings add to the pleasure of reading this book and as you dip into it, you'll be wanting winter over so you can get outside and marvel at the natural world on your doorstep.

Te Tohunga - 13th Jul 2017

Te Tohunga: The Ancient Legends and Traditions of the Maoris
Orally Collected and Pictured by Wilhelm Dittmer

This lovely volume is a 1970 facsimile reprint of the 1907 edition, which was published by George Routledge & Sons. It is a large quarto volume with 'puffed' green cloth boards. There is gilt lettering and a gilt woodcarving motif to the spine. It is beautifully illustrated and includes 28 full-page black&white illustrations. There is a matching slipcase.

You can find the legends of Hupene, Matapo, Tane, Maui, Hinemoa and many others along with the creation of Hawaiki, the creation of the stars and the creation of nature.

"Far up in the misty mountains dwell the Patu-paiarehe, the fairies of Maori Land. They are seldom seen; and, indeed, most mortals who have no gift of imagination and no mana-tapu cannot expect to behold the good people; and many who know no better deny their existence."

Dunedin today - 12th Jul 2017

Looking out from our bookshop window today, this is what we can see.

Clearly, you need to slide down Dowling Street and into the shop to choose a book to take home with you so you can curl up on the sofa in front of the fire or the log burner and read to your heart's content. Whatever you're looking for we are sure to have something for a cold, wet, snowy, sleety Dunedin winter's day.

Calling all sailors - 7th Jul 2017

Calling all sailors The Physics of Sailing Explained
by Bryon D Anderson

Why do sailors use a 'full' sail like a spinnaker for downwind sailing but not for upwind?
Why are some keels narrow and deep while others are long and shallow?
Why do some keels have wings?
Is it important to have a polished hull?
Why do you trim your sails in tighter for upwind sailing?
What determines the shape of sails and hulls?
Why can some boats sail faster upwind than downwind?

If you answered all those questions easily using fairly straightforward principles of physics, this book might not be for you. However, if you're a sailing enthusiast who wonders about these sorts of things, and other common questions, then this book may well be what you need. To enjoy the book, you just need an interest in sailing and a basic understanding of high school maths and physics. It helps you figure out what is 'going on' as the boat passes through the water. The science behind sailing is explained in a way anyone can understand.

These basic principles underlie all developments in sailing boat design so get reading now and you can show off your knowledge at the next America's Cup!!!!


Hans Christian Andersen - 6th Jul 2017

We all know the tales of Hans Christian Andersen from our childhood. There are so many stories that effortlessly spring to mind: The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, and Thumbelina to name but a few. And just think of all the operas, films, plays, books and ballets inspired by his work.

This gorgeous little volume is by Kathleen Fitzgerald and is beautifully and appealingly illustrated by Gilbert James. The text is in French (obviously) so Recueil de Contes d'Andersen would make a lovely present for anyone who likes Andersen's fairy tales, but especially for children learning French.

Brush up your own French by working out which fairy tales these are:
Une Soiree chez Ferme-l'oeil
La Grosse Aiguille
La Princesse sur un Pois
La Paquerette
La Petite Poucette

Where would we be without salt? - 5th Jul 2017

You couldn't cure ham without it; some people wouldn't be able to get married without it; you couldn't make sauerkraut without it; boiled veges might look a little dull without it; red wine might stain white carpets without it; flowers might wilt in their vases a little faster without it; slugs & snails might overrun your garden without it; and I wouldn't eat chips without it. What is it?

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Homer called it a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. (And you can see above for our opinion of it). Salt has shaped civilization and in this book Mark Kurlansky blends political, commerical, scientific, religious and culinary records to produce this magnificent history of an indispensable ingredient.

Strangers & Brothers - 3rd Jul 2017

If you want a really, really good read, you can't do much better than CP Snow's Strangers and Brothers series of eleven novels.

It may be a different country, a bygone era and an unfamiliar social class with distinct social mores but that doesn't really matter. Despite all that, it is really just about human nature (in my humble opinion). Whether you read it as a soap opera, a study of power and influence, or an inside look at the worlds of academia, the legal profession and the civil service, you will very quickly be addicted, and then you have the joy of another ten really beautifully written novels still to go!

I recommend reading them in the narrative order (rather than date published order) so you will start with Time of Hope and move on through George Passant,The Conscience of the Rich, The Light and the Dark, The Masters, The New Men, Homecomings, The Affair, Corridors of Power, The Sleep of Reason and finally Last Things. Really highly recommended.

Romancing the Ordinary - 30th Jun 2017

Romancing the Ordinary Feeling weary? In need of a little comfort? Require some pampering? Looking for sheer escapism? Want a treat?

Sara Ban Breathnach's Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of SImple Splendour is just what you need. It takes you through a year of pampering, 365 days of comfort, twelve months of escapism or four seasons of pleasure.

Learn how to indulge yourself with scented baths or lose yourself in a superb novel, stuff rich lusciously iced chocolate cake down your throat or sink into a welcoming armchair beside a roaring log fire, fall into freshly washed and ironed pure cotton sheets or sob to your heart's content with a romantic tear-jerker of a film.  This book will help you to fall in love with your life. Give it a go. 

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