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Merry Christmas - 6th Dec 2017

Merry Christmas Spotted in the Otago Daily Times this morning was Warwick Jordan, owner of Hard to Find Bookshop (page 4 just in case you missed it). He was pictured in front of the "holiday" tree in the Octagon. Sadly, his offer to pay for the "Happy Holidays" sign to be replaced with a "Happy Christmas" banner did not meet with success. 

So just to cheer him up and make sure the message gets out there (without offending anyone or being exclusive): Joyeux Noelle; Hyvää joulua; Frohe Weihnachten; Vesela Koleda; Glaedelig Jul; Kala Christouyenna; Boldog Karacsonyl; Selamat Natal; Buon Natale; Meri Kuri; Feliz Navidad. We could go on!

Christmas Trees - 5th Dec 2017

Christmas Trees The Christmas season is nearly upon us. It probably already is upon us for some. All those here in Dunedin have no doubt been following the lively discussion about the Christmas tree in the Otago Daily Times. I should more accurately say argument really. It has been very much in the news both in Paul Gorman's What's With That and in letters to the Editor.

For those not reading the ODT, the problem is the message around the tree which reads "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". The owner of Hard to Find Books agrees it should mention Christmas. It is, after all, a Christmas Tree and not a holiday tree. He rightly says that Diwali and Matariki (and others) are referred to by their correct names. There is no suggestion they cause offence or that they should be changed. Likewise Christmas.

He believes it so strongly that he has offered to pay to have the sign changed. Watch this space (and the tree in the Octagon) to see if he is successful or not.

It's Agatha Christie again - 1st Dec 2017

It's Agatha Christie again Following on from yesterday's book, we now also have a copy of Agatha Christie's The Mystery of the Blue Train and once again it is a comic version. If  you prefer to call it a graphic novel version that is fine.

This one is by Marc Piskic and was also published by Harper Collins in 2007. It is also in beautiful condition but the joy is that it is MUCH cheaper than yesterday's book.

You have to come in and see it. As I said yesterday, comics/graphic novels are not my thing at all but there is something appealing about it, especially if you are an Agatha Christie fan.

Death on the Nile - 30th Nov 2017

Death on the Nile We have a copy of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile as you've never seen it before.

This edition is a comic version (or a graphic novel version, if that's what you prefer to call it). It is adapted by Francois Riviere and illustrated by Solidor. It was published by Harper Collins in 2007 and is in beautiful condition.

This is a case of "has to be seen to be believed". I am not a fan of comics or graphic novels at all and yet even I can appreciate Solidor's illustrations, which definitely capture the mystery and magic of Egypt in the 1930s. Come and have a look at it.

Hello Christopher Robin - 29th Nov 2017

We are probably all aware that a new film about the life of AA Milne has just been released. It's called Goodbye Christopher Robin and is a biography of the man who created Winnie-the-Pooh, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Piglet and Roo.
After you've seen the film or before you go and see it, why not get copies of AA Milne's books, all beautifully illustrated by EH Shepard.
When We Were Very Young
Now We Are Six
Winnie the Pooh
The House at Pooh Corner
Return to the Hundred Acre Wood (and more)
You can't go wrong with these classic children's books. Whether they are for your own collection, for your children, or as a present, no-one could fail to be thrilled with some of the gorgeous editions available. Come on in and have a look at what is available. We have something for everyone's budget.

University of Hard Knocks - 24th Nov 2017

University of Hard Knocks The University of Hard Knocks: The School that Completes our Education
by Ralph Parlette

"The greatest school is the University of Hard Knocks. Its books are bumps. Every bump is a lesson. If we learn the lesson with one bump, we do not get that bump again. We don't need it. We have travelled past it. We move to the next bump..... Some of us learn to go forward with a few bumps, but most of us ... do not learn the lesson....and the bump must come back and bump us again.... most of us have to be pulverised."

Teaching a wilful child or being happy in your work, it's all dealt with in this book. It may have been written over a hundred years ago but the two colleges of the University of Hard Knocks are just as relevant now as they were then: The College of Needless Knocks and The College of Needful Knocks.

"It is so hard to tell young people anything. They know better." Any book with that in it must be worth reading.

Jane Austen - 22nd Nov 2017

Jane Austen Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen
by Arielle Eckstut

Hidden by Jane Austen's younger sister, the material which makes up this book throws an entirely new light on all of Austen's work, making explicit the latent and repressed sexuality that underlies much of her fiction. The discovery also forces new assessments of Austen herself. Along with the sex scenes were found letters to her editor and her sister arguing and anguishing over the extensive cuts shewas asked to make for her novels to be seen as decent and acceptable to the public.

Published for the first time, these missing pages are sure to astonish and delight all Austen devotees.

Gobbledygook - 21st Nov 2017

Test your level of correct English usage by providing words for the expressions in quotes.

In the Otago Daily Times this morning, Paul Gorman's column What's With That? was "addressing" the vexed "issue" of changes in language, specifically the use of gobbledygook and codswallop (his words). I think of it as the specific misuse or deliberate overuse of words in an attempt to sound intelligent. He had several examples in his column such as "learnings", "going forward" and "at the end of the day", all of which make one want to scream. 

I'm adding a couple more which are painfully overused these days: "event" and "experience". Have you noticed that heart attacks and strokes have all but disappeared and been replaced by the ubiquitous and thoroughly infuriating "medical event". Likewise, we no longer have rain or hailstorms, we suffer "weather events".

Continuing my curmudgeonly tirade, nobody goes out for dinner any more - they now have a "dining experience" and one no longer drives a car but has a "driving experience". The same is true for "the shopping experience". And don't get me started on "at this point in time" and many hundreds more. Aaaaaarrrrrggghh.

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