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Yesterdays in Maoriland - 28th Jun 2017

Yesterdays in Maoriland by Andreas Reischek

Andreas Reischek, an Austrian taxidermist, came to New Zealand in 1877 and stayed for twelve years. He travelled extensively throughout the country from the far North to Fiordland and the sub-Antarctic islands, studying the flora and fauna and particularly the unique birdlife. 

During the course of his expeditions, he collected 14,000 specimens of birds, fish, reptiles and plants. He presented the entire collection to Austria on his return home.

Before he died in 1902, he recorded his discoveries, adventures and impressions of New Zealand and the Maori people in this book Yesterdays in Maoriland. Reischek wrote in a simple and unaffected style and this book will be a joy to anyone interested in natural history or in the early colonial times or in tales of travel with a faithful dog.

A must-have book - 26th Jun 2017

"You can get off alcohol, drugs, women ,food and cars, but once you're hooked on orchids, you're finished. You never get off orchids....never." Joe Kunish, orchid grower.

Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust and Lunacy
by Eric Hansen

Here's the opening paragraph to get you in the mood:
There is something distrinctive about the sight and sound of a human body falling from the rain forest canopy. The breathless scream, the wildly gyrating arms and legs pumping thin air, the rush of leaves, snapping branches, and the sickening thud, followed by uneasy silence. Listening to that silence, I reflected on how plant collecting can be an unpleasant sort of activity.

Poor People Poor Us by John E Broad - 23rd Jun 2017

Poor People Poor Us by John E Broad If you are a National Radio fan, you may have heard a fascinating slot on Katherine Ryan's programme yesterday (22nd June). Harry Broad, a journalist, was talking to her about his recent visit to Italy and why he made the trip.

His father, John Evelyn Broad, wrote a book in 1946 called Poor People-Poor Us (Poveri Gen' Poveri Noi) which tells the story of three escaped Kiwi fugitives in the burning sands of Libya and the snow-clad Apennines of Italy. It is a saga more thrilling than most fiction. It is also a heartwarming story of how the New Zealanders were hidden from the Germans in manure heaps and freezing caves by Italian peasants, who went out of their way at enormous risk to shelter freed prisoners of war.

It is highly recommended that you listen to the RNZ programme and read the book if you can lay your hands on a copy.

Max Gimblett - 22nd Jun 2017

An American New Zealander? A Kiwi New Yorker? An ex-Presbyterian? A Buddhist? A painter? A ceramicist? A printmaker? A calligrapher? A monk?

Yes to all of the above. Max Gimblett's works of art are a blend  of the contemporary Western world and the spirituality of the Eastern.

His work has been exhibited in New Zealand, the USA, Australia, Japan, Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and elsewhere and is held in major collections all over the world. As well as galleries, there are also many private collectors of his work. 

If you're not familiar with his work, come in and have a look at our collection of Max Gimblett books.

BIrds of New Zealand - 21st Jun 2017

Quinn Berentson's
Moa: The Life and Times of New Zealand's Legendary Bird
won the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize in 2013 for very good reason.

This lovely book tells the story of the life and death of the legendary moa, which for a very long time was a bit of a mystery. The moa had developed in isolation for millions of years but when humans finally discovered New Zealand, the bird was wiped out in the blink of an eye. By the time Europeans arrived, it had long been extinct.

The discovery of moa bones in the 1840s was considered the zoological find of the century but for over 150 years afterwards the giant birds continued to be a bit of a mystery. Natural historians now understand much more about the life and times of this huge bird and how New Zealand's own 'monster' evolved.

The book is beautifully put together and packed with illustrations of all kinds - photographs, drawings, sketches, paintings and diagrams. The sad story of this extraordinary creature is a fascinating history of one of nature's marvels.

Comic and Fantasy Art - 19th Jun 2017

In the Garden of Unearthly Delights: The Paintings of Josh Kirby
by Nigel Suckling & Foreword by Brian Aldiss

This is a comprehensive selection of paintings from one of the best known fantasy artists. The pictures represent fantastic worlds peopled with the beautiful and the hideous, the romantic and the cruel, the appealing and the repulsive. 

Josh Kirby's paintings are vibrantly alive and full of colour. They depict everything from swords and sorcery to dragons and demons, maidens and monsters, aliens and androids. His work is found in books, magazines, film posters and in the occasional fine art exhibition.

Brian Aldiss says this: "It's the cover for #83 (of Authentic) which remains one of my all-time favourites. It features not coleoptera but a Cleopatra. A raven-haired beauty in a scanty gown makes her way through a hallucinatory maze, followed by a tiger. Around her are walls of flowers and fish. Our bathukolpian beauty looks suitably amazed by this. It's an intriguing, fantasic, delicate picture, and guaranteed to bring in the customers." 

A Forger's Tale - 16th Jun 2017

A Forger's Tale Shaun Greenhalgh was sentenced to four years and eight months' imprisonment in 2007, having been convicted of forgery. He had been working in his parents' garden shed for years producing artistic forgeries which were good enough to fool some of the world's great museums and galleries.

At the time of the trial, the breadth of his forging operation shocked the art world. However, what no-one realised was how much more of his story was yet to be told. He had been successfully passing off everything from Leonardo drawings to Lowry paintings and Hepworth sculptures to Anglo-Saxon jewellery,   He wrote this book while he was in prison.

A Forger's Tale: The Memoir of One of Britain's Most Successful and Infamous Art Forgers
by Shaun Greenhalgh

By all accounts, it is a witty, charming, honest memoir which will fascinate the reader and throughout which the author's genuine love of art shines.


What kind of book? - 15th Jun 2017

What kind of book? You must have had the odd occasion when you have picked up a book and wondered why on earth anyone thought it was worth writing. You must have looked at titles or subject matter and marvelled at the writer who thought anyone would read it. Well, here is another one for you:

Puppetry of the Penis: The Ancient Australian Art of Genital Origami
by Simon Morley & David Friend

It has to be seen to be believed!


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