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New arrival in our shop - 17th Jul 2017

New arrival in our shop This is what has just arrived in our shop today. A present for one of our staff from her lovely mum but viewing is generously to be shared with customers and staff who loiter around the counter. Come in and have a look at it.

It's called "Bibliophile with Cats"  It was originally a jigsaw and has been tastefully framed to make it a joy to display. It is by Edward St John Gorey, an American artist, who was born in 1925 and died in 2000.

Do come and have a look!

Embarrassment - 15th Jul 2017

Embarrassment Walking in on Mum and Dad: Adventures in Embarrassment
by Brian King

Humiliation, shame, mortification, ignominy, chagrin or whatever you want to call it can be caused by a painfully wide array of circumstances. It lurks around every corner to catch you unawares. You can find embarrasment everywhere: in failure, in success, in stupidity, in carelessness, in mistakes, in slips of the tongue, in forgetfulness, in distraction and in snoring, farting, over-hasty emails, nudity, injury, accidents and so much more.

It can be extremely funny if you're not the committer of the faux pas but otherwise it can make you want to die. This book looks at embarrassment from both a scientific and psychological point of view and at the same time it recounts a hilarious line-up of Brian King's own and other people's mortifying misadventures.

This one isn't in the book, but to finish on a local note of embarrassment, who else remembers the butcher's shop on a corner in Princes Street, Dunedin with the bright flashing sign "You can't beat Tom's meat"?

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.

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